Summary: In this study, coreceptor usage of HIV-1 other than subtype B in relation to HIV-1 transmission from mother to child was investigated. Repeated sampling of 42 HIV-1-seropositive, asymptomatic women in Cameroon during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, at delivery, and 6 months postpartum were performed. Env subtyping was carried out from uncultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by heteroduplex mobility assay and, whenever necessary, by DNA sequencing. Virus isolates were tested for coreceptor usage on human cell lines-U87.CD4 and GHOST(3)-engineered to express stably CD4 and the chemokine receptors CCR1, CCR2b, CCR3, CCR5, or CXCR4, or the orphan receptors BOB/gprl5 or Bonzo/STRL33/TYMSTR. Transmission rate was 11.9%. Viruses were predominantly envelope subtype A and used CCR5 as coreceptor and, surprisingly, 4 of 28 (14.2%) isolates from mothers and 1 of 3 isolates from children used the orphan receptor Bonzo as well. In 2 transmitting mothers from whom sequential HIV-1 isolates were available, viral coreceptor usage evolved from CCR5 monotropic to CCR5/Bonzo dual tropic during pregnancy, and in 1 case transmission of this virus could be documented. Our data suggest that evolution of HIV-1 coreceptor usage to dual (or multi-) tropism may occur during pregnancy.
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