Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of recently sexually transmitted HIV

Project Details


During HIV transmission, selected virus strains are transmitted from the donor to the newly infected recipient. Additionally, during the narrow window of seroconversion, viral variants/quasispecies will emerge that are restricted in genotype and phenotype. However, the bottlenecks that determine which viral quasispecies are transmitted are still poorly understood. In this proposal we will exploit materials collected from HIV transmitting pairs where we have access to longitudinal biological samples collected from both the donor and the recipient individuals. We have developed a number of molecular and cellular assays that will enable us to determine which specific viral quasispecies undergoes transmission and compare them to viruses which are not. We will determine viral diversity using new generation sequencing both for donor and recipient individuals. Additionally we will build a portfolio of virus strains present at transmission, specifically focussing on the viralenvelope protein, and using sensitive molecular tools to define the cell tropism and fitness of the transmitted strains. We will study these viruses in relevant mucosal model systems that best mimic natural transmission routes. The results from this study will aid in the future generation of vaccines and microbicides aimed at preventing HIV transmission.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/14


  • Research Fund - Flanders: €75,000.00


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