Molecular characterization of a complex, recombinant human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolate (A/G/J/K/?): evidence to support the existence of a novel HIV-1 subtype.
Paraskevis D., Magiorkinis E., Magiorkinis G., Anastassopoulou C., Lazanas M., Chrysos G., Vandamme AM., Hatzakis A.
Recombination is one of several factors that contribute to the great genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In the current study, analysis of the full-length genome of a novel complex mosaic HIV-1 isolate (99GR303) from a Greek sailor who was possibly infected in Sierra Leone, Africa is presented. The 99GR303 isolate was found to comprise genomic regions belonging to subtypes A, G, J and K as well as of regions of a subtype that remains unclassified. For a partial region of env as well as vpr, no apparent similarity to the known HIV-1 subtypes or to any of the circulating recombinant forms was found. In fact, in the partial env gene, including the C2-V3 region, the 99GR303 isolate formed a new clade, suggesting the existence of an additional HIV-1 subtype. Thus, novel recombinants embody partial genomic regions which may have originated either from subtypes that existed in the past and became extinct or from contemporary subtypes that are extremely rare.