Exp Mol Med.  2006 Dec;38(6):643-651.

Epidemiological comparisons of codon usage patterns among HIV-1 isolates from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas

  • 1Bioinformatics Team, Supercomputing Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Daejeon 305-806, Korea. hss2003@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Laboratory of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Institute of Health and Environment, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-799, Korea


To investigate the genomic properties of HIV-1, we collected 3,081 sequences from the HIV Sequence Database. The sequences were categorized according to sampling region, country, year, subtype, gene name, and sequence and were saved in a database constructed for this study. The relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values of matrix, capsid, and gp120 and gp41 genes were calculated using correspondence analysis. The synonymous codon usage patterns based on the geographical regions of African countries showed broad distributions; when all the other regions, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas, were taken into account, the Asian countries tended to be divided into two groups. The sequences were clustered into nine non-CRF subtypes. Among these, subtype C showed the most distinct codon usage pattern. To determine why the codon usage patterns in Asian countries were divided into two groups for four target genes, the sequences of the isolates from the Asian countries were analyzed. As a result, the synonymous codon usage patterns among Asian countries were divided into two groups, the southern Asian countries and the other Asian countries, with subtype 01_AE being the most dominant subtype in southern Asia. In summary, the synonymous codon usage patterns among the individual HIV-1 subtypes reflect genetic variations, and this bioinformatics technique may be useful in conjunction with phylogenetic methods for predicting the evolutionary patterns of pandemic viruses.


computational biology; genes, env; genes, gag; genomics; HIV-1; sequence analysis, RNA

MeSH Terms

HIV-1/*genetics/*isolation & purification
Gene Expression Regulation, Viral/*genetics
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