Multiple targets for immune recognition and cellular tropism are localized to the V1 and V2 hypervariable regions in the amino portion of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120(env). We have assessed genetic diversity in env V1 and V2 hypervariable domains in vivo within epidemiologically related strains of HIV-1. Our strategy was to analyze longitudinal samples from two seropositive mothers and multiple children infected by perinatal transmission. Although the V1 and V2 domains are closely linked in the HIV-1 genome, nucleotide sequences in V1 and in V2 evolved independently in maternal-infant viruses in vivo. A high proportion of the nucleotide substitutions would introduce amino acid diversity in V1 and V2. A significant excess of nonsynonymous over synonymous substitutions was identified in HIV-1 env V1 and V2 peptides in the mothers and in two older children but was not generally apparent in HIV-1 sequences in infants. An excess of nonsynonymous over synonymous substitutions indicated that there is positive selection for independent genetic variation in the V1 and V2 domains in vivo. It is likely that there are host responses to complex determinants in the V1 or V2 hypervariable domain of HIV-1 gp120.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science