Samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were collected during 1990-91 from seropositive healthy, male HIV-1 carriers visiting Taipei Venereal Disease Control Center, and a male AIDS patient admitted to a general hospital. The V3 and its flanking nucleotide (nt) sequences in their DNA were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and compared with those of known HIV-1 prototypes. The nt sequences obtained from 21 individuals (e.g., TW92) clustered as Group A, which were highly homologous (95.6-99.5%) to that of HXB2 virus while those from 6 individuals (TW90, TW91, TW97, TW99, TW102 and TW104) were classified as Group B showing low similarities (73.2-84.2%) to those of HXB2 and moderate similarities (80.7-90.0%) to those of SC and Bangkok (BK) viruses. By comparison of their deduced amino acid sequences with those of consensus sequences for subtypes A-F as defined by Myers et al. (1993), both Groups A and B viruses (except TW102) together with those of HXB2, SC and BK viruses could be identified as members or variants of subtype B, and the TW102 virus as a member of subtype E viruses. Individuals with the Group A viruses included 4 homosexual and 17 heterosexual Taiwanese males, 2 of the latter having a history of I.V. drug abuse. Among individuals with Group B viruses, those with TW97, TW99, TW104 and TW91, who was an AIDS patient, were heterosexual Taiwanese males, whereas both TW90 and TW102 viruses were from individuals who were overseas heterosexual Chinese from Thailand, the former with a history of I.V. drug abuse and the latter without.
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