Gag-protease-mediated replication capacity in HIV-1 subtype C chronic infection: associations with HLA type and clinical parameters.
ABSTRACT The mechanisms underlying HIV-1 control by protective HLA class I alleles are not fully understood and could involve selection of escape mutations in functionally important Gag epitopes resulting in fitness costs. This study was undertaken to investigate, at the population level, the impact of HLA-mediated immune pressure in Gag on viral fitness and its influence on HIV-1 pathogenesis. Replication capacities of 406 recombinant viruses encoding plasma-derived Gag-protease from patients chronically infected with HIV-1 subtype C were assayed in an HIV-1-inducible green fluorescent protein reporter cell line. Viral replication capacities varied significantly with respect to the specific HLA-B alleles expressed by the patient, and protective HLA-B alleles, most notably HLA-B81, were associated with lower replication capacities. HLA-associated mutations at low-entropy sites, especially the HLA-B81-associated 186S mutation in the TL9 epitope, were associated with lower replication capacities. Most mutations linked to alterations in replication capacity in the conserved p24 region decreased replication capacity, while most in the highly variable p17 region increased replication capacity. Replication capacity also correlated positively with baseline viral load and negatively with baseline CD4 count but did not correlate with the subsequent rate of CD4 decline. In conclusion, there is evidence that protective HLA alleles, in particular HLA-B81, significantly influence Gag-protease function by driving sequence changes in Gag and that conserved regions of Gag should be included in a vaccine aiming to drive HIV-1 toward a less fit state. However, the long-term clinical benefit of immune-driven fitness costs is uncertain given the lack of correlation with longitudinal markers of disease progression.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Jonathan Carlson, May 30, 2015
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ABSTRACT: In chronic HIV infection, CD8+ T cell responses to Gag are associated with lower viral loads, but longitudinal studies of HLA-restricted CD8+ T cell-driven selection pressure in Gag from the time of acute infection are limited. In this study we examined Gag sequence evolution over the first year of infection in 22 patients identified prior to seroconversion. A total of 310 and 337 full-length Gag sequences from the earliest available samples (median = 14 days after infection [Fiebig stage I/II]) and at one-year post infection respectively were generated. Six of 22 (27%) individuals were infected with multiple variants. There was a trend towards early intra-patient viral sequence diversity correlating with viral load set point (p = 0.07, r = 0.39). At 14 days post infection, 59.7% of Gag CTL epitopes contained non-consensus polymorphisms and over half of these (35.3%) comprised of previously described CTL escape variants. Consensus and variant CTL epitope proportions were equally distributed irrespective of the selecting host HLA allele and most epitopes remained unchanged over 12 months post infection. These data suggest that intrapatient diversity during acute infection is an indicator of disease outcome. In this setting, there is a high rate of transmitted CTL escape variants and limited immune selection in Gag during the first year of infection. These data have relevance for vaccine strategies designed to elicit effective CD8+ T cell immune responses.PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0119886. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119886 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: It is widely believed that epidemics in new hosts diminish in virulence over time, with natural selection favoring pathogens that cause minimal disease. However, a tradeoff frequently exists between high virulence shortening host survival on the one hand but allowing faster transmission on the other. This is the case in HIV infection, where high viral loads increase transmission risk per coital act but reduce host longevity. We here investigate the impact on HIV virulence of HIV adaptation to HLA molecules that protect against disease progression, such as HLA-B*57 and HLA-B*58:01. We analyzed cohorts in Botswana and South Africa, two countries severely affected by the HIV epidemic. In Botswana, where the epidemic started earlier and adult seroprevalence has been higher, HIV adaptation to HLA including HLA-B*57/58:01 is greater compared with South Africa (P = 7 × 10(-82)), the protective effect of HLA-B*57/58:01 is absent (P = 0.0002), and population viral replicative capacity is lower (P = 0.03). These data suggest that viral evolution is occurring relatively rapidly, and that adaptation of HIV to the most protective HLA alleles may contribute to a lowering of viral replication capacity at the population level, and a consequent reduction in HIV virulence over time. The potential role in this process played by increasing antiretroviral therapy (ART) access is also explored. Models developed here suggest distinct benefits of ART, in addition to reducing HIV disease and transmission, in driving declines in HIV virulence over the course of the epidemic, thereby accelerating the effects of HLA-mediated viral adaptation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 111(50). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1413339111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
Article: Evidence for HIV weakening over timeProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2015; 112(17). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1502380112 · 9.81 Impact Factor