Human immunodeficiency virus 2 (HIV-2) infection is characterized by a slower disease progression and lower transmission rates. The molecular features that could be assigned as directly involved in this in vivo phenotype remain essentially unknown, and the importance of HIV-2 as a model to understand pathogenicity of HIV infection has been frequently underestimated. The early events of the HIV replication cycle involve the interaction between viral envelope glycoproteins and cellular receptors: the CD4 molecule and a chemokine receptor, usually CCR5 or CXCR4. Despite the importance of these two chemokine receptors in human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) entry into cells, we have previously shown that in some HIV-2 asymptomatic individuals, a viral population exists that is unable to use both CCR5 and CXCR4. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether possible regions in the env gene of these viruses might account for this phenotype. From the molecular characterization of these env genes we could not detect any correlation between V3 loop sequence and viral phenotype. In contrast, it reveals the existence of remarkable differences in the V1/V2 and C5 regions of the surface glycoprotein, including the loss of a putative glycosilation site. Moreover, in the transmembrane glycoprotein some unique sequence signatures could be detected in the central ectodomain and second heptad repeat (HR2). Some of the mutations affect well-conserved residues, and may affect the conformation and/or the dynamics of envelope glycoproteins complex, including the SU-TM association and the modulation of viral entry function. J. Med. Virol. 81:1869-1881, 2009. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.