Selected amino acid changes in HIV-1 subtype-C gp41 are associated with specific gp120V3 signatures in the regulation of co-receptor usage

Salvatore Dimonte, Muhammed Babakir-Mina, Fabio Mercurio, Domenico Di Pinto, Francesca Ceccherini-Silberstein, Valentina Svicher, Carlo Federico Perno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of studies have characterized the tropism of HIV-1 subtype-B isolates, but little is known about the determinants of tropism in other subtypes. So, the goal of the present study was to genetically characterize the envelope of viral proteins in terms of co-receptor usage by analyzing 356 full-length env sequences derived from HIV-1 subtype-C infected individuals. The co-receptor usage of V3 sequences was inferred by using the Geno2Pheno and PSSM algorithms, and also analyzed to the " 11/25 rule" All reported env sequences were also analyzed with regard to N-linked glycosylation sites, net charge and hydrophilicity, as well as the binomial correlation phi coefficient to assess covariation among gp120V3 and gp41 signatures and the average linkage hierarchical agglomerative clustering were also performed.Among env sequences present in Los Alamos Database, 255 and 101 sequences predicted as CCR5 and CXCR4 were selected, respectively. The classical V3 signatures at positions 11 and 25, and other specific V3 and gp41 amino acid changes were found statistically associated with different co-receptor usage. Furthermore, several statistically significant associations between V3 and gp41 signatures were also observed. The dendrogram topology showed a cluster associated with CCR5-usage composed by five gp41 mutated positions, A22V, R133M, E136G, N140L, and N166Q that clustered with T2VV3 and G24TV3 (bootstrap=1). Conversely, a heterogeneous cluster with CXCR4-usage, involving S11GRV3, 13-14insIG/LGV3, P16RQV3, Q18KRV3, F20ILVV3, D25KRQV3, Q32KRV3 along with A30Tgp41, S107Ngp41, D148Egp41, A189Sgp41 was identified (bootstrap=0.86).Our results show that as observed for HIV-1 subtype-B, also in subtype-C specific and different gp41 and gp120V3 amino acid changes are associated individually or together with CXCR4 and/or CCR5 usage. These findings strengthen previous observations that determinants of tropism may also reside in the gp41 protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Cluster
  • Genotype
  • Gp120 V3 loop
  • Gp41
  • HIV-1
  • Mutations
  • Subtype-C
  • Tropism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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