The transactivator of transcription (Tat) is a key HIV regulatory protein. We aimed to identify the frequency of key polymorphisms in HIV-1C compared with HIV-1B Tat protein, chiefly in the cysteine-, arginine-, and glutamine-rich domains and identify novel point mutations in HIV-1B and C sequences from Southern Brazil. This study was the first to investigate the genetic diversity and point mutations within HIV-1 Tat C in a Brazilian cohort. This was an observational, cross-sectional study, which included sequences of HIV-1B (n = 20) and HIV-1C (n = 21) from Southern Brazil. Additionally, 344 HIV-1C sequences were obtained from the Los Alamos database: 29 from Brazil and 315 from Africa, Asia, and Europe. The frequency of C31S substitution on HIV-1 Tat C in Brazil was 82% vs. 10% in the HIV-1B group (p < 0.0001). The frequency of the R57S substitution among the HIV-1C sequences from Brazil was 74% vs. 20% in HIV-1B (p = 0.004), and that of substitution Q63E in HIV-1C was 80% and 20% in HIV-1B (p < 0.0001). The mutation P60Q was more frequent in HIV-1B than in HIV-1C (55% and 6.12%, respectively, p < 0.0001)). Novel point mutations in the HIV-1C and B Tat functional domains were described. The frequency of C31S and other key point mutations in HIV-1 Tat C in Brazil were similar to those described in Africa, although lower than those in India. The Tat-B and C sequences found in Southern Brazil are consistent with biological differences and have potential implications for HIV-1 subtype pathogenesis.
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de Almeida, S.M., Rotta, I., Vidal, L.R.R. et al. HIV-1C and HIV-1B Tat protein polymorphism in Southern Brazil. J. Neurovirol. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13365-020-00935-z
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