Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 72–83 | Cite as

Molecular Signatures of HIV-1 Envelope Associated with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

  • Teresa H. Evering
Central Nervous System and Cognition (SS Spudich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Central Nervous System and Cognition


Purpose of Review

The HIV-1 envelope gene (env) has been an intense focus of investigation in the search for genetic determinants of viral entry and persistence in the central nervous system (CNS).

Recent Findings

Molecular signatures of CNS-derived HIV-1 env reflect the immune characteristics and cellular constraints of the CNS compartment. Although more readily found in those with advanced HIV-1 and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), molecular signatures distinguishing CNS-derived quasispecies can be identified early in HIV-1 infection, in the presence or absence of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and are dynamic. Amino acid signatures of CNS-compartmentalization and HAND have been identified across populations. While some significant overlap exists, none are universal.


Detailed analyses of CNS-derived HIV-1 env have allowed researchers to identify a number of molecular determinants associated with neuroadaptation. Future investigations using comprehensive cohorts and longitudinal databases have the greatest potential for the identification of robust, validated signatures of HAND in the cART era.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) HIV-1 envelope HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) Central nervous system (CNS) Viral evolution Molecular signatures 



Dr. Evering would like to thank Martin Markowitz, M.D., for his thoughtful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

T.H. Evering declares no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA

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