The vpr sequences from six human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)- infected mother-infant pairs following perinatal transmission were analyzed. We found that 153 of the 166 clones analyzed from uncultured peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA samples showed a 92.17% frequency of intact vpr open reading frames. There was a low degree of heterogeneity of vpr genes within mothers, within infants, and between epidemiologically linked mother-infant pairs. The distances between vpr sequences were greater in epidemiologically unlinked individuals than in epidemiologically linked mother-infant pairs. Moreover, the infants' sequences displayed patterns similar to those seen in their mothers. The functional domains essential for Vpr activity, including virion incorporation, nuclear import, and cell cycle arrest and differentiation were highly conserved in most of the sequences. Phylogenetic analyses of 166 mother-infant pairs and 195 other available vpr sequences from HIV databases formed distinct clusters for each mother-infant pair and for other vpr sequences and grouped the six mother-infant pairs' sequences with subtype B sequences. A high degree of conservation of intact and functional vpr supports the notion that vpr plays an important role in HIV-1 infection and replication in mother-infant isolates that are involved in perinatal transmission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science