To establish an epidemiological link between HIV-1 epidemics in U.S. and European homosexual men and intravenous drug users (IVDUs) we analyzed the HIV-1 gp120 V3 sequences in both risk groups. Signature pattern analysis revealed that the V3 sequences of viruses from IVDUs in Northern Europe are distinguishable from those of homosexual men on the basis of one amino acid and two synonymous nucleotide substitutions, which the most conserved was a synonymous nucleotide substitution in the second glycine codon at the tip of the gp120 V3 loop (GGC). This substitution was seen in 17 of 20 (85%) viruses of IVDUs in Northern Europe, in none of 41 homosexual men in either Europe or the United States, and in 5 of 11 (45%) U.S. IVDUs sequences analyzed. Subsequent phylogenetic and multivariate principal coordinate (PCOORD) analyses showed that 16 of 20 (80%) of the Northern European IVDU sequences clustered together with the 5 U.S. IVDU sequences carrying the GGC substitution and away from the sequences of homosexual men from either Europe or the United States. Taken together with the higher level of heterogeneity of U.S. IVDU sequences compared to the Dutch IVDU sequences taken at the same time, these data present suggestive evidence for a U.S. instead of a European origin of the AIDS epidemic among Northern European IVDUs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases