Summary: Phylogenetic analysis of numerous strains of HIV-1 isolated from diverse geographic origins has revealed three distinct groups of HIV-1: groups M, N, and O. Within group M, subtypes, sub-subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) exist. Recently, two near-full-length genomes of similar complex mosaic viruses containing fragments of subtypes A, G, I, and J were described in patients from Burkina Faso (BFP-90) and Mali (95ML-84). Here, we report on the characterization of two additional full-length genome sequences with similar mosaic structure in epidemiologically unlinked individuals from Senegal (97SE-1078) and Mali (95ML-127). Phylogenetic and recombinant analysis confirmed that the previously described strains, BFP-90 and 95ML-84, were indeed a new CRF of HIV-1, which we can now designate as CRF06-cpx. This new CRF fits the complex (cpx) designation, because four different subtypes (A, G, K, and J) were involved in the mosaic genome structure. The fragment in the pol gene, which was initially characterized as unknown in the BFP-90 strain and subsequently as subtype I in the 95ML-84 strain, is now, with the recent description of the new K subtype, clearly identified as subtype K. CRF06-cpx circulates in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, although the exact prevalence remains to be determined. Importantly, this new variant has also been documented on other continents (Europe [France] and Australia), showing that these viruses are spreading not only locally but globally.
(C) 2002 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins