Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of South African HIV-1 subtype C accessory genes
To acquire new knowledge about the genetic diversity and potential impact on vaccine strategies of HIV-1 subtype C in South Africa, we have characterized the vif, vpr, and vpu genes of 15 isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomic fragment encompassing these genes revealed subtype C subclusters, suggesting close relatedness with subtype C strains from other geographic locations and excluded isolation of South African strains. The putative T155 phosphorylation site in the C terminal of Vif was absent in all subtype C sequences. Variation in the predicted amino acid sequences of the three genes further showed strong correlation with other subtype C sequences.