Investigations into which human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequence features may be selected for transmission during sexual exposure have been hampered by the small number of characterized transmission pairs in individual studies.
By using all available well-characterized env sequences from transmission pairs via sexual exposure, we were able to identify several important virologic factors that may be important in the development of biomedical preventive interventions.
To boost statistical power to detect differences in glycosylation, length, and electrical charge in the HIV-1 V1-V4 coding region, we reanalyzed all available 2485 env sequences derived from 114 subjects representing 58 transmission pairs from previous studies using mixed-effects linear regression and an approach to approximate the unobserved transmitted virus.
The recipient partner had a shorter V1-V4 region and fewer potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS) than sequences from the source partner. We also detected a trend toward more PNGS and lower isoelectric points in transmitted sequences with source partner and the evolutionary tendency to shorten V1-V4 sequences, reduce the number of PNGS, and lower isoelectric points in the recipient following transmission.