The extent of nucleotide variation within the HIV-1 env hypervariable domains serves as a marker of virus genotypes within infected individuals and as a means to track transmission of the virus between individuals. We analyzed env V1 and V2 sequences in longitudinal samples from two HIV-1- infected mothers, each with three children infected by maternal transmission of the virus. Sequences in samples that were obtained from two infants at 2 d and 4 wk after birth displayed more variation in V1 and V2 than maternal samples obtained at the same times. Multiple HIV-1 genotypes were identified in each mother. In each family, multiple maternal HIV-1 genotypes were transmitted to the infants. Specific amino acid residues in the hypervariable domains were conserved within sequences from each family producing a family- specific amino acid signature pattern in V1 and V2. Viruses that were highly related to maternal viruses in signature pattern persisted for as long as 4 yr in the older children. Results support a model of transmission involving multiple HIV-1 genotypes with development of genetic variation from differential outgrowth and accumulation of genetic changes within each individual.
- human immunodeficiency virus I genetic variation
- maternal transmission
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