Characterization of HIV-1 Envelope V3 Region Sequences from Virologically Controlled HIV-Infected Older Patients on Long Term Antiretroviral Therapy

Nicole E. Behrens, Maria Love, Meghana Bandlamuri, Dana Bernhardt, Anne Wertheimer, Stephen A. Klotz, Nafees Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although many HIV-infected patients have attained older age owing to the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in controlling viremia and increasing CD4 T cell counts, HIV continues to persist in several target cells. We have characterized 514 HIV-1 envelope V3 region sequences (94-96 amino acids [aa]) from 25 HIV-infected older patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA on long-term ART with controlled viremia (undetectable viral load) and improved CD4 T cell counts. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the V3 region sequences of each patient formed distinct clusters that were well separated and discriminated from other patients' sequences. The coding potential of the V3 region, including several patient-specific amino acid motifs and functional domains, including the two cysteines sandwiching the V3 loop, the central GPGR motif with variation at one position in some sequences, the base GDIR motif, and the N-glycosylation sites were generally conserved. The patients' V3 region sequences contained amino acid motifs conferring affinity mostly for CCR5 coreceptor, suggesting R5 phenotype. There was a low degree of heterogeneity and lower estimates of genetic diversity in all 25 patients' V3 region sequences. Twelve of 25 patients' V3 region sequences were found to be under positive selection pressure. Analysis of the several cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) epitopes showed variation, whereas some of known neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) epitopes showed conservation in patients' V3 region sequences. In conclusion, a low degree of genetic variability and maintenance of functional domains with R5 phenotypes, and variation in CTL and conservation of nAb epitopes were the hallmarks of V3 region sequences from our 25 virologically controlled HIV-infected older patients on long-term ART.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • HIV-infected older patients
  • V3 region sequences
  • long-term ART

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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