Molecular and phylogenetic analysis of HIV-1 variants circulating in Italy

Luigi Buonaguro, Annacarmen Petrizzo, Maria Tagliamonte, Francesca Vitone, Maria Carla Re, Elisabetta Pilotti, Claudio Casoli, Costanza Sbreglia, Oreste Perrella, Maria Lina Tornesello, Franco M. Buonaguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. The continuous identification of HIV-1 non-B subtypes and recombinant forms in Italy indicates the need of constant molecular epidemiology survey of genetic forms circulating and transmitted in the resident population. Methods. The distribution of HIV-1 subtypes has been evaluated in 25 seropositive individuals residing in Italy, most of whom were infected through a sexual route during the 1995-2005 period. Each sample has been characterized by detailed molecular and phylogenetic analyses. Results. 18 of the 25 samples were positive at HIV-1 PCR amplification. Three samples showed a nucleotide divergence compatible with a non-B subtype classification. The phylogenetic analysis, performed on both HIV-1 env and gag regions, confirms the molecular sub-typing prediction, given that 1 sample falls into the C subtype and 2 into the G subtype. The B subtype isolates show high levels of intra-subtype nucleotide divergence, compatible with a long-lasting epidemic and a progressive HIV-1 molecular diversification. Conclusion. The Italian HIV-1 epidemic is still mostly attributable to the B subtype, regardless the transmission route, which shows an increasing nucleotide heterogeneity. Heterosexual transmission and the interracial blending, however, are slowly introducing novel HIV-1 subtypes. Therefore, a molecular monitoring is needed to follow the constant evolution of the HIV-1 epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer Research


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