ABSTRACT: HIV-1 subtype B predominates in the Republic of Korea. Phylogenetic analyses of sequences for complete nef genes and env gene fragments encoding the V3 loop have identified a major monophyletic Korean subclade that is distinct from Western subtype B sequences in the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. This was investigated further by sequence analysis of complete env genes recovered from the DNA of peripheral blood mononuclear cells for matched groups of Koreans, four patients per group, previously assigned as being infected with either Korean or Western strains. The phylogenetic classifications were confirmed and analysis of the translation products identified 32 amino acid signature pattern differences, dispersed throughout gp160, which differentiate the two subclades. Twenty-three of these positions map to epitopes recognized by HLA-I-restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) as catalogued in the Los Alamos HIV Immunology Database. The remaining nine map at or close to sites predicted to be targets for immunoproteasomes that are involved in producing peptides that bind to MHC Class I. These results suggest that a founder effect in the Korean population is based on the spread of CTL-escape/host-adapted HIV-1 strains.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 09/2003; 19(8):631-41. · 2.25 Impact Factor