Background: HIV-1 CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC recombinant strains are responsible for
more than 80% of new infections in China since the beginning of the 2000s. These two strains may
have distinct genetic mutations, which resulted in distinct patterns of pathogenesis related to the viral
Objective: The amino acid pattern and genetic diversity of Vpr were analyzed and characterized in
HIV-1 CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC HIV-1 strains.
Methods: The Vpr gene was amplified from extracted viral RNA and DNA sequencing was performed
using an ABI3730 analyzer. The positional amino acid composition, genetic variation and
distance of Vpr sequence were analyzed by Bio-Edit 7.2 and Mega 6.01 software packages.
Results: A total of 162 CRF01_AE and 80 CRF07_BC derived Vpr sequences were obtained by
DNA sequencing. CRF01_AE patients showed higher viral load and lower CD4 counts than
CRF07_BC patients (P<0.05). Higher genetic distance and more polymorphic amino acids were
found in CRF01_AE Vpr than CRF07_BC Vpr (P<0.05). The common conservative amino acid region
was identified as 29EAVRHFP35 in both CRF07_BC and CRF01_AE. Of note, the R77Q mutation
was found in both the most recently Chinese derived CRF07_BC and CRF01_AE Vpr.
Conclusion: CRF01_AE derived Vpr has higher genetic variation and pathogenesis in comparison
to the CRF07_BC strain.