Convergent and divergent sequence evolution in the surface envelope glycoprotein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 within a single infected patient.
Holmes EC., Zhang LQ., Simmonds P., Ludlam CA., Brown AJ.
In an investigation of the evolution of the third hypervariable loop of gp120 (V3), the principal neutralization determinant of human immunodeficiency virus type 1, we have analyzed 89 V3 sequences of plasma viral RNA purified from peripheral blood samples donated over 7 years by an infected hemophiliac. Considerable sequence diversity in the V3 region was found at all time points after seroconversion. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that an important diversification had occurred by 3 years postinfection and that, subsequently, most sequences could be allocated to either one of two major lineages that persisted throughout the remainder of the infection. Rapid changes in frequency of the most common sequences and the observation that the same hexapeptide motif (GPGSAV) at the crown of the V3 loop has evolved convergently provide strong evidence that selective processes determine the evolutionary fate of sequence variants in this region.