HIV transmission. Selection bias at the heterosexual HIV-1 transmission bottleneck

Jonathan M Carlson, Malinda Schaefer, Daniela C Monaco, Rebecca Batorsky, Daniel T Claiborne, Jessica Prince, Martin J Deymier, Zachary S Ende, Nichole R Klatt, Charles E DeZiel, Tien-Ho Lin, Jian Peng, Aaron M Seese, Roger Shapiro, John Frater, Thumbi Ndung'u, Jianming Tang, Paul Goepfert, Jill Gilmour, Matt A PriceWilliam Kilembe, David Heckerman, Philip J R Goulder, Todd M Allen, Susan Allen, Eric Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 typically results in one genetic variant establishing systemic infection. We compared, for 137 linked transmission pairs, the amino acid sequences encoded by non-envelope genes of viruses in both partners and demonstrate a selection bias for transmission of residues that are predicted to confer increased in vivo fitness on viruses in the newly infected, immunologically naïve recipient. Although tempered by transmission risk factors, such as donor viral load, genital inflammation, and recipient gender, this selection bias provides an overall transmission advantage for viral quasispecies that are dominated by viruses with high in vivo fitness. Thus, preventative or therapeutic approaches that even marginally reduce viral fitness may lower the overall transmission rates and offer long-term benefits even upon successful transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1254031
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Issue number6193
StatePublished - Jul 11 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Consensus Sequence
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections/transmission
  • HIV-1/genetics
  • Heterosexuality
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus Proteins/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Point Mutation
  • Risk Factors
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Viral Load

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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