PloS one 2017 12 1512(12) e0189705 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0189705
Currently, data on HIV-1 circulating strains among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Argentina is scarce. In South America, the distribution and the prevalence of BF recombinants are dissimilar and exhibit an underappreciated heterogeneity of recombinant structures. Here, we studied for the first time the genetic diversity of HIV-1 BF recombinants and their evolution over time through in-depth phylogenetic analysis and multiple recombination detection methods involving 337 HIV-1 nucleotide sequences (25 near full-length (NFL) and 312 partial pol gene) obtained from Argentinean MSM. The recombination profiles were studied using multiple in silico tools to characterize the genetic mosaicism, and phylogenetic approaches to infer their relationships. The evolutionary history of BF recombinants and subtype B sequences was reconstructed by a Bayesian coalescent-based method. By phylogenetic inference, 81/312 pol sequences clustered within BF clade. Of them, 46 sequences showed a genetic mosaic with CRF12_BF-like patterns, including plausible second-generation recombinants. Other CRFs_BF like (CRF17, 28, 29, 39, 42, 44, 47) and probable URFs_BF were less frequently found. Phylogenetic and recombination analyses on NFL sequences allowed a meticulous definition of new BF mosaics of genomic patterns. The Bayesian analyses pointed out quite consistent onset dates for the CRFs_BF clade based on B and F gene datasets (~1986 and ~1991 respectively). These results indicate that the CRFs_BF variants have been circulating among Argentinean MSM for about 30 years. This study reveals, through growing evidence showing the importance of MSM in the dynamics of the HIV-1 epidemic in Argentina, the coexistence of CRF12_BF-like and high diversity of strains exhibiting several BF mosaic patterns, including non-reported URFs that may reflect active clusters as potential intervention targets to hinder HIV-1 transmission.