alexa Characterization of Variable Regions of the Gp120 Protein from HIV-1 Subtype C Virus Variants Obtained from Individuals at Different Disease Stages in Sub-Saharan Africa | Abstract
ISSN 2155-6113

Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research
Open Access

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Research Article

Characterization of Variable Regions of the Gp120 Protein from HIV-1 Subtype C Virus Variants Obtained from Individuals at Different Disease Stages in Sub-Saharan Africa

A. Cenci1, L. Tavoschi1, G. D’ Avenio2, P. Narino1, S. Becattini1,6, D. Bernasconi1,7, M. Chiappi1,8, L. La Torre1, H. Sukati3, E. Vardas4, A. Lo Presti5, E Cella5, M. Ciccozzi5, O. Picconi1, P. Monini1, B. Ensoli1 and S. Buttò1*

1Istituto Superiore di Sanità, National AIDS Center, Rome, Italy

2Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Technology and Health, Rome, Italy

3Ministry of Health, National Center Public Health Laboratory, Manzini, Swaziland

4Stellenbosch University, Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch, South Africa

5Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Rome, Italy

6Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, Switzerland

7Abbott diagnostics Italy

8Departamento de Estructura de Macromoléculas, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CNB-CSIC), Madrid, Spain

*Corresponding Author:
Stefano Buttò
National AIDS Center
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
V.le Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39-06-49903249
Fax: +3906-49903002
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: April 16, 2012; Accepted Date: May 16, 2012; Published Date: May 20, 2012

Citation: Cenci A, Tavoschi L, D’ Avenio G, Narino P, Becattini S, et al. (2012) Characterization of Variable Regions of the Gp120 Protein from HIV-1 Subtype C Virus Variants Obtained from Individuals at Different Disease Stages in Sub-Saharan Africa. J AIDS Clinic Res S8:006. doi:10.4172/2155-6113.S8-006

Copyright: © 2012 Cenci A. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: The development of a vaccine against HIV/AIDS capable of preventing virus infection has been hampered by the HIV envelope (Env) heterogeneity that makes it difficult to induce neutralizing antibodies against Env proteins from different HIV clades. Several studies have indicated that gp120 Env protein sequence tends to change considerably during the course of HIV disease which allows the virus to escape the immune responses. In order to define gp120 sequence changes, we have characterized the V1, V2, V4 and V5 variable regions of gp120 variants from 72 HIV-1-clade-C-infected subjects from South Africa and Swaziland, which were naïve to antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and at different disease stages. Sequence characteristics, such as aminoacid sequence length, presence of Putative N-Glycosylation Sites (PNGSs) and electric charge were investigated.

Methods: According to the Avidity Index value and CD4+ T cell count, patients were classified for disease stage in three groups: recent, chronic and late stage, each one comprised of 24 patients. The V1 to V5 Env variable regions were directly PCR amplified from plasma virus RNA and sequenced.

Results: A significant increase in the amino acid sequence length of V1 and V4 domains, and a corresponding increase of the “shifting” PNGSs were observed in the HIV variants obtained from individuals at chronic stage of disease, as compared to the recent infection group. Finally, a significant increase of the net electric positive charge of the V5 loop was found in the HIV variants from the group of subjects with late disease, as compared to the chronic disease group.

Conclusion: We conclude that changes in sequence length, glycosylation pattern and net electrical charge in the variable V1, V4 and V5 regions of gp120 occur in the course of HIV infection, possibly in response to the pressure of the host immune response.

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