Genetic analysis and natural polymorphisms in HIV-1 gp41 isolates from Maputo City, Mozambique

Nália Ismael, Dulce Bila, Diana Mariani, Adolfo Vubil, Nedio Mabunda, Celina Abreu, Ilesh Jani, Amilcar Tanuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Enfuvirtide was the first fusion inhibitor approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 for HIV-1 infection in treatment-experienced patient. It is the first approved antiviral agent to attack the HIV life cycle in its early stages. For HIV fusion to occur, the HR1 and HR2 domains in the gp41 region need to interact. Enfuvirtide is a synthetic peptide that corresponds to 36 amino acids of the HR2, which competitively binds to HR1 inhibiting the interaction with the HR2 domain thus preventing fusogenic conformation and inhibiting viral entry into host cells. Resistance to enfuvirtide is conferred by mutations occurring in the HR1 region involving residues 36-45. Mozambique, a sub-Saharan country, with an HIV prevalence of 11.5%, provides first line and second line antiretroviral therapy (ART)-based treatment. In poor resource settings such as Mozambique the lack of adequate infrastructures, the high costs of viral load tests, and the availability of salvage treatment have hindered the intended objective of monitoring HIV treatment, suggesting an important concern regarding the development of drug resistance. The general aim of this study was to evaluate naturally occurring polymorphisms and resistance-associated mutations in the gp41 region of HIV-1 isolates from Mozambique. The study included 78 patients naive to ARV treatment and 28 patients failing first line regimen recruited from Centro de Saúde Alto-Maé situated in Maputo. The gp41 gene from 103 patients was sequenced and resistance-associated mutations for enfuvirtide were screened. Subtype analysis revealed that 96% of the sequences were classified as subtype C, 2% as subtype G, 1% as subtype A1, and the other 1% as a mosaic form composed of A1/C. No enfuvirtide resistance-associated mutations in HR1 of gp41 were detected. The major polymorphisms in the HR1 were N42S, L54M, A67T, and V72I. This study suggests that this new class of antiviral drug may be effective as a salvage therapy in patients failing first line regimens in Mozambique. However, further phenotypic studies are required to determine the clinical relevance of the polymorphisms detected in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-609
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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