HIV subtypes not only predominate in different geographical regions but also differ in key phenotypic characteristics. To determine if genotypic and/or phenotypic differences in the Envelope (Env) glycoprotein can explain subtype related differences, we cloned 37 full length Envs from Subtype B and AE HIV infected individuals from Singapore. Our data demonstrates that CRF01_AE Envs have lower Potential N Glycosylation Sites and higher risk of ×4 development. Phenotypically, CRF01_AE were less infectious than subtype B Envs in cells expressing low levels of CCR5.
The Envelope (Env) glycoprotein of HIV is an important determinant of viral pathogenesis. Several lines of evidence support the role of HIV-1 Env in inducing bystander apoptosis that may be a contributing factor in CD4+ T cell loss. However, most of the studies testing this phenomenon have been conducted with lab adapted HIV-1 isolates. This raises the question whether primary Envs derived from HIV infected patients are capable of inducing bystander apoptosis and whether specific Env signatures are associated with this phenomenon.