Protease inhibitor-resistant hepatitis C virus mutants with reduced fitness from impaired production of infectious virus.
ABSTRACT Several small molecule inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein (NS) 3/4A protease have advanced successfully to clinical trials. However, the selection of drug-resistant mutants is a significant issue with protease inhibitors (PIs). A variety of amino acid substitutions in the protease domain of NS3 can lead to PI resistance. Many of these significantly impair the replication fitness of HCV RNA replicons. However, it is not known whether these mutations also adversely affect infectious virus assembly and release, processes in which NS3 also participates.
We studied the impact of 25 previously identified PI-resistance mutations on the capacity of genotype 1a H77S RNA to replicate in cell culture and produce infectious virus.
Most PI-resistance mutations resulted in moderate loss of replication competence, although several (V36A/L/M, R109K, and D168E) showed fitness comparable to wild type, whereas others (S138T and A156V) were severely impaired both in RNA replication and infectious virus production. Although reductions in RNA replication capacity correlated with decreased yields of infectious virus for most mutations, a subset of mutants (Q41R, F43S, R155T, A156S, and I170A/T) showed greater impairment in their ability to produce virus than predicted from reductions in RNA replication capacity. Detailed examination of the I170A mutant showed no defect in release of virus from cells and no significant difference in specific infectivity of extracellular virus particles.
Replicon-based assays might underestimate the loss of fitness caused by PI-resistance mutations, because some mutations in the NS3 protease domain specifically impair late steps in the viral life cycle that involve intracellular assembly of infectious virus.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: David Mcgivern, Aug 13, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects over 170 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of liver disease and cancer. The virus has a 9,650-nt, single-stranded, messenger-sense RNA genome that is infectious as an independent entity. The RNA genome has evolved in response to complex selection pressures, including the need to maintain structures that facilitate replication and to avoid clearance by cell-intrinsic immune processes. Here we used high-throughput, single-nucleotide resolution information to generate and functionally test data-driven structural models for three diverse HCV RNA genomes. We identified, de novo, multiple regions of conserved RNA structure, including all previously characterized cis-acting regulatory elements and also multiple novel structures required for optimal viral fitness. Well-defined RNA structures in the central regions of HCV genomes appear to facilitate persistent infection by masking the genome from RNase L and double-stranded RNA-induced innate immune sensors. This work shows how structure-first comparative analysis of entire genomes of a pathogenic RNA virus enables comprehensive and concise identification of regulatory elements and emphasizes the extensive interrelationships among RNA genome structure, viral biology, and innate immune responses.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2015; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1416266112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The liver-specific microRNA, miR-122, stabilizes hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA genomes by recruiting host argonaute 2 (AGO2) to the 5' end and preventing decay mediated by exonuclease Xrn1. However, HCV replication requires miR-122 in Xrn1-depleted cells, indicating additional functions. We show that miR-122 enhances HCV RNA levels by altering the fraction of HCV genomes available for RNA synthesis. Exogenous miR-122 increases viral RNA and protein levels in Xrn1-depleted cells, with enhanced RNA synthesis occurring before heightened protein synthesis. Inhibiting protein translation with puromycin blocks miR-122-mediated increases in RNA synthesis, but independently enhances RNA synthesis by releasing ribosomes from viral genomes. Additionally, miR-122 reduces the fraction of viral genomes engaged in protein translation. Depleting AGO2 or PCBP2, which binds HCV RNA in competition with miR-122 and promotes translation, eliminates miR-122 stimulation of RNA synthesis. Thus, by displacing PCBP2, miR-122 reduces HCV genomes engaged in translation while increasing the fraction available for RNA synthesis. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Cell Host & Microbe 02/2015; 17(2). DOI:10.1016/j.chom.2014.12.014 · 12.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Protease inhibitors (PI) including boceprevir, telaprevir and simeprevir have revolutionised HCV genotype 1 treatment since their introduction. A number of pre-treatment resistance associated amino acid variants (RAVs) and polymorphisms have been associated with reduced response to treatment. We measured the prevalence of RAVs/polymorphisms in a PI treatment-naïve HCV genotype 1 Scottish cohort using Sanger sequencing. Chronically infected, treatment-naïve, HCV genotype 1 patients (n=146) attending NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinics were investigated for RAVs/polymorphisms to the PIs boceprevir, telaprevir and simeprevir. The NS3/4A region was amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction. The 1.4kb amplified product was sequenced using an ABI 3710XL DNA sequencer. Sequence analysis was performed using web-based ReCall (beta 2.10). Amino acid positions 36, 41, 43, 54, 55, 80, 109, 122, 155, 156, 168 and 170 were analysed for RAVs/polymorphisms. Overall, 23.29% (34/146) of patients had an RAV or polymorphism detected. Overall, 13.69% (20/146) of patients had HCV virus that contained the Q8 K polymorphism. Other RAVs detected were: V36 M 0.70% (1/146), V36L 0.70% (1/146), T54S 6.85% (10/146), V55A 3.42% (5/146) and V/I170A 0.68% (1/146). Four patients had dual combinations of mutations (T54S+V36L; T54S+V55A and 2 patients with T54S+Q80K). Q80K was the most prevalent baseline polymorphism detected in the Scottish cohort. Simeprevir treatment is not recommended in patients infected with the Q80K genotype 1a variant. This highlights the need for baseline sequencing prior to administration of this drug in this population. Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Journal of Clinical Virology 02/2015; 358. DOI:10.1016/j.jcv.2015.02.005 · 3.47 Impact Factor