The virus population transmitted by a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infected individual undergoes restriction and subsequent diversification in the new host. However, in contrast to men, who have limited virus diversity at seroconversion, there is measurable diversity in viral envelope gene sequences in women infected with clade A HIV-1. In this study, virus sequence diversity in three unrelated, clade A infected women preceding and shortly after seroconversion was evaluated. It was demonstrated that there is measurable evolution of envelope gene sequences over this time interval. Furthermore, in each of the three individuals, amino acid substitutions arose at five or six positions in sequences derived at or shortly after seroconversion relative to sequences obtained from the seronegative sample. Presented here is a model of clade A gp120 to determine the location of substitutions that appeared as the virus population became established in three clade A HIV-1 infected women.
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