Characterization update of HIV-1 M subtypes diversity and proposal for subtypes A and D sub-subtypes reclassification

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Abstract

Background: The large and constantly evolving HIV-1 pandemic has led to an increasingly complex diversity. Because of some taxonomic difficulties among the most diverse HIV-1 subtypes, and taking advantage of the large amount of sequence data generated in the recent years, we investigated novel lineage patterns among the main HIV-1 subtypes. Results: All HIV full-length genomes available in public databases were analysed (n = 2017). Maximum likelihood phylogenies and pairwise genetic distance were obtained. Clustering patterns and mean distributions of genetic distances were compared within and across the current groups, subtypes and sub-subtypes of HIV-1 to detect and analyse any divergent lineages within previously defined HIV lineages. The level of genetic similarity observed between most HIV clades was deeply consistent with the current classification. However, both subtypes A and D showed evidence of further intra-subtype diversification not fully described by the nomenclature system at the time and could be divided into several distinct sub-subtypes. Conclusions: With this work, we propose an updated nomenclature of sub-types A and D better reflecting their current genetic diversity and evolutionary patterns. Allowing a more accurate nomenclature and classification system is a necessary step for easier subtyping of HIV strains and a better detection or follow-up of viral epidemiology shifts.

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Désiré, N., Cerutti, L., Le Hingrat, Q., Perrier, M., Emler, S., Calvez, V., … Visseaux, B. (2018). Characterization update of HIV-1 M subtypes diversity and proposal for subtypes A and D sub-subtypes reclassification. Retrovirology, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12977-018-0461-y

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