[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) nef undergoes adaptive evolution in the central nervous system (CNS), reflecting altered requirements for HIV-1 replication in macrophages/microglia and brain-specific immune selection pressures. The role of Nef in HIV-1 neurotropism and pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) is unclear. In this study, we characterized 82 nef alleles cloned from brain, cerebral spinal fluid, spinal cord, and blood/lymphoid tissue-derived HIV-1 isolates from seven subjects with HAD. CNS isolate-derived nef alleles were genetically compartmentalized and had reduced sequence diversity compared to those from lymphoid tissue isolates. Defective nef alleles predominated in a brain-derived isolate from one of the seven subjects (MACS2-br). The ability of Nef to down-modulate CD4 and MHC class 1 (MHC-1) was generally conserved among nef alleles from both CNS and lymphoid tissues. However, the potency of CD4 and MHC-1 down-modulation was variable, which was associated with sequence alterations known to influence these Nef functions. These results suggest that CD4 and MHC-1 down-modulations are highly conserved functions among nef alleles from CNS- and lymphoid tissue-derived HIV-1 isolates that may contribute to viral replication and escape from immune surveillance in the CNS.
Journal of NeuroVirology 02/2011; 17(1):82-91. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD4-binding site (CD4bs) alterations in gp120 contribute to different pathophysiological phenotypes of CCR5-using (R5) HIV-1 strains, but the potential structural basis is unknown. Here, we characterized functionally diverse R5 envelope (Env) clones (n=16) to elucidate potential structural alterations within the gp120 CD4bs that influence Env function. Initially, we showed that the magnitude of gp120-CD4-binding correlates with increased fusogenicity and reduced CD4 dependence. Analysis of three-dimensional gp120 structural models revealed two CD4bs variants, D279 and N362, that were associated with reduced CD4 dependence. Further structural analysis showed that a wider aperture of the predicted CD4bs cavity, as constrained by the inner-most atoms at the gp120 V1V2 stem and the V5 loop, was associated with amino acid alterations within V5 and correlated with increased gp120-CD4 binding and increased fusogenicity. Our results provide evidence that the gp120 V5 loop may alter CD4bs conformation and contribute to increased gp120-CD4 interactions and Env fusogenicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) demonstrates a high degree of viral diversity which has an impact on viral fitness. Genetic compartmentalization of HIV-1 proteins between central nervous system (CNS) and lymphoid tissues is well established and reflects altered requirements for HIV-1 replication in macrophages/microglia, brain-specific immune selection pressures and possibly the timing of virus invasion of the CNS. Tat-encoding mRNA has been detected in the CNS of HIV-1 infected individuals and its neurotoxic effects in the CNS are well documented. However, while CNS-derived tat sequences have demonstrated significant diversity, the effect of this molecular diversity on transcriptional regulation and its impact on the pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) remains unclear. In this study, we cloned and characterised 44 unique tat alleles from brain, cerebral spinal fluid, spinal cord and blood/lymphoid tissue-derived HIV-1 isolates from five subjects with HAD. While phylogenetic analyses revealed tissue-specific compartmentalization of Tat variants for two patients, broad compartmentalization across the panel of tissue-derived viruses was not observed. Despite the lack of consistent tissue-specific compartmentalization, sequence variations within patients segregated CNS and non-CNS tat alleles. These amino acid alterations predominated within the transactivation domain of Tat and could account for alterations in the ability of particular Tat proteins to transactivate the LTR. Although a subset of patients demonstrated reduced transactivation capacity among CNS-derived Tat proteins compared to those from matched lymphoid tissues, overall Tat proteins from the CNS to lymphoid compartments maintained similar levels of transactivation function. Together, these data suggest that despite the observed heterogeneity in tat alleles isolated from matched lymphoid to CNS compartments, Tat function is maintained, highlighting the importance of Tat function in HIV-1 neuropathogenesis.
Journal of NeuroVirology 02/2011; 17(1):70-81. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While CCR5 is the principal coreceptor used by macrophage (M)-tropic HIV-1, not all primary CCR5-using (R5) viruses enter macrophages efficiently. Here, we used functionally-diverse R5 envelope (Env) clones to characterize virus-cell interactions important for efficient CCR5-mediated macrophage entry. The magnitude of macrophage entry by Env-pseudotyped reporter viruses correlated with increased immunoreactivity of CD4-induced gp120 epitopes, increased ability to scavenge low levels of cell-surface CCR5, reduced sensitivity to the CCR5 inhibitor maraviroc, and increased dependence on specific residues in the CCR5 ECL2 region. These results are consistent with an altered and more efficient mechanism of CCR5 engagement. Structural studies revealed potential alterations within the gp120 V3 loop, the gp41 interaction sites at the gp120 C- and N-termini, and within the gp120 CD4 binding site which may directly or indirectly lead to more efficient CCR5-usage. Thus, enhanced gp120-CCR5 interactions may contribute to M-tropism of R5 HIV-1 strains through different structural mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence supports early brain infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Definitive temporal studies determining when and within which brain cells viral DNA is present are lacking. This study utilized simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques sacrificed at days 10, 21, 56, and 84 post inoculation. Laser-microdissection isolated pure perivascular macrophage, parenchymal microglia, and astrocyte populations. Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing determined the presence and characteristics of SIV V3 and V1 env DNA from each population. At day 10, SIV DNA was detected in perivascular macrophage and astrocytes but not parenchymal microglia. gp41 expression was restricted to perivascular macrophage. At day 21, SIV DNA was not detected in any cell type. At day 56, SIV DNA was detectable in perivascular macrophage from one of two macaques, with no gp41 expression detected. At day 84 (morphologic and clinical encephalitis), SIV DNA was detected in all cell types, gp41 was only detected in perivascular macrophage and parenchymal microglia. The neurovirulent molecular clone, SIV/17E-Fr, was the only genotype identified in the brain cell populations. Early, productive brain SIV infection was transient and restricted to trafficking perivascular macrophage. During the nonencephalitic stage, there was a period of time when no SIV DNA could be detected in the brain cell populations. SIV was then seen to reenter the brain via infected perivascular macrophage, leading to productive infection of brain parenchymal macrophage/microglia with a terminal phase of encephalitis. These data challenge current notions of a HIV reservoir within latently infected, semipermanent brain cells and has significant implications for the timing and design of therapies to prevent HIV encephalitis (HIVE).
Journal of NeuroVirology 08/2009; 15(4):300-11. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains isolated from the brain use CCR5 for entry into macrophages and microglia. Strains that use both CCR5 and CXCR4 for entry (R5X4 strains) have been identified in the brains of some individuals, but mechanisms underlying the persistence of R5X4 viruses compartmentalized between the brain and other tissue reservoirs are unknown. Here, we characterized changes in the HIV-1 envelope (Env) that enhance the tropism of R5X4 variants for brain or lymphoid tissue. R5X4 Envs derived from the brains of two individuals had enhanced CCR5 usage in fusion assays compared to R5X4 Envs derived from matched spleen or blood, which was associated with reduced dependence on specific residues in the CCR5 N terminus and extracellular loop 1 (ECL1) and ECL3 regions. In contrast, spleen/blood-derived Envs had enhanced CXCR4 usage compared to brain-derived Envs, which was associated with reduced dependence on residues in the CXCR4 N terminus and ECL2 region. Consequently, brain-derived Envs had preferential CCR5 usage for HIV-1 entry into the JC53 cell line, could use either CCR5 or CXCR4 for entry into monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM), and could use CCR5 (albeit inefficiently) for entry into peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), whereas the entry of spleen-derived Envs was CXCR4 dependent in all three cell types. Mutagenesis studies of Env amino acid variants influencing coreceptor usage showed that S306 in the gp120 V3 region of brain-derived Envs reduces dependence on the CCR5 N terminus and enhances CCR5 usage for HIV-1 entry into PBMC and MDM, whereas R306 in spleen-derived Envs reduces dependence on the CXCR4 N terminus and confers the CXCR4 restricted phenotype. These results identify mechanisms underlying R5X4 HIV-1 persistence in different tissue reservoirs. Tissue-specific changes in the gp120 V3 region that increase the efficiency of CCR5 or CXCR4 usage, and thereby influence coreceptor preference, may enhance the tropism of R5X4 strains for CCR5-expressing macrophage lineage cells in the brain and CXCR4-expressing T cells in lymphoid tissues, respectively.
Journal of Virology 04/2009; 83(11):5430-41. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Astrocyte infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is considered rare, so astrocytes are thought to play a secondary role in HIV neuropathogenesis. By combining double immunohistochemistry, laser capture microdissection, and highly sensitive multiplexed polymerase chain reaction to detect HIV DNA in single astrocytes in vivo, we showed that astrocyte infection is extensive in subjects with HIV-associated dementia, occurring in up to 19% of GFAP+ cells. In addition, astrocyte infection frequency correlated with the severity of neuropathological changes and proximity to perivascular macrophages. Our data indicate that astrocytes can be extensively infected with HIV, and suggest an important role for HIV-infected astrocytes in HIV neuropathogenesis.
Annals of Neurology 04/2009; 66(2):253-8. · 11.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral neuropathy is the dose-limiting toxicity of stavudine and didanosine (nucleoside analogs used in HIV treatment) and is attributed to mitochondrial toxicity from these drugs. Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) and co-enzyme Q(10) are proposed as neuropathy treatments, but evidence to support these is limited.
We examined ALC and a water-soluble formulation of co-enzyme Q(10) (H(Q)O) for the prevention of d4T and ddI neurotoxicity using cultured fetal rat DRG as an in vitro model.
DdI (33microM) and d4T (50microM) caused clear toxicity (impaired neurite growth) by day 8 of DRG culture. H(Q)O at concentrations 1-100microM completely prevented the toxicity of 33microM ddI in vitro and ALC at concentrations 1-100 microM substantially (but incompletely) prevented ddI toxicity in this model. In contrast, ALC was ineffective at all concentrations tested for preventing the toxicity of 50microM d4T. H(Q)O showed dose-dependent efficacy for preventing d4T toxicity. H(Q)O (1microM) partially prevented d4T toxicity while 10 and 100microM H(Q)O completely prevented d4T toxicity in this model.
We find H(Q)O is superior to ALC for preventing the neurotoxicity of d4T (the HIV treatment most associated with neuropathy) and ddI in vitro. Further study is needed to clarify any clinical role for co-enzyme Q(10) co-administration with d4T and ddI and to assess whether this compound may have a role in treating established cases of neuropathy.
Current HIV research 02/2009; 8(3):232-9. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of Salmonella to deliver heterologous antigens from DNA vaccines is a well-accepted extension of the success of oral Salmonella vaccines in animal models. Attenuated S. typhimurium and S. typhi strains are safe and efficacious, and their use to deliver DNA vaccines combines the advantages of both vaccine approaches, while complementing the limitations of each technology. An important aspect of the basic biology of the Salmonella/DNA vaccine platform is the relative contributions of prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression in production of the vaccine antigen. Gene expression in DNA vaccines is commonly under the control of the eukaryotic cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. The aim of this study was to identify and disable putative bacterial promoters within the CMV promoter and evaluate the immunogenicity of the resulting DNA vaccine delivered orally by S. typhimurium.
The results reported here clearly demonstrate the presence of bacterial promoters within the CMV promoter. These promoters have homology to the bacterial consensus sequence and functional activity. To disable prokaryotic expression from the CMV promoter a series of genetic manipulations were performed to remove the two major bacterial promoters and add a bacteria transcription terminator downstream of the CMV promoter. S. typhimurium was used to immunise BALB/c mice orally with a DNA vaccine encoding the C-fragment of tetanus toxin (TT) under control of the original or the modified CMV promoter. Although both promoters functioned equally well in eukaryotic cells, as indicated by equivalent immune responses following intramuscular delivery, only the original CMV promoter was able to induce an anti-TT specific response following oral delivery by S. typhimurium.
These findings suggest that prokaryotic expression of the antigen and co-delivery of this protein by Salmonella are at least partially responsible for the successful oral delivery of C-fragment DNA vaccines containing the CMV promoter by S. typhimurium.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(6):e6062. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis has a critical role in normal physiology while its dysregulation has causal links with certain pathologies. A biochemical hallmark of apoptosis, internucleosomal genomic DNA fragmentation, is detectable by ligation-mediated polymerase chain reaction (LM-PCR). Here we converted LM-PCR into a new apoptosis quantifier by dividing trace quantities of 600 bp apoptotic amplicons into those of a single copy house-keeping gene, generating the LM-PCR 'value'. Dynamic range was approximately 17-fold correlating with a approximately 200-fold difference in degree of apoptotic fragmentation. Inter- and intra-gel reliability were both excellent, supporting LM-PCR's utility with large sample sets. Validation experiments comprising cell exposure to staurosporine over time revealed LM-PCR is as sensitive as caspase-3/ELISA and more sensitive than terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling/flourescence-activated cell sorting (TUNEL/FACS) for distinguishing low degrees of apoptosis (the spectrum most relevant in vivo). The LM-PCR profile mirrored that of caspase-3/ELISA but not TUNEL/FACS. We then applied this molecular tool to clinical investigation. Increased apoptosis is implicated in lipoatrophy (subcutaneous fat wasting), a serious, persistent toxicity of some nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) used in anti-HIV highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We demonstrated in 105 peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples that elevated LM-PCR values are seen during therapy with stavudine (d4T), a particularly toxic NRTI (P< 0.0001 versus no HAART, unpaired t-test). Elevated values were also independently associated with clinical evidence of lipoatrophy (P= 0.007, multiple logistic regression modelling) but not with patient age, CD4 T-cell count nor HIV viral load (P> 0.8 for each). Together these data demonstrate that LM-PCR is a robust and reliable quantifier of apoptosis with potential for basic science and clinical investigation.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 12/2008; 13(5):948-58. · 4.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recombinant Salmonella have been employed as vaccine vectors to deliver DNA and protein vaccines of viral, bacterial and parasitic origin. However, the effectiveness of Salmonella delivery may be hampered by prior immunological exposure to Salmonella. We investigated the effects of prior exposure to the Salmonella typhimurium aroAD strain BRD509 on its ability to deliver the non-toxic C fragment of tetanus toxin (TT). BALB/c mice were orally immunised with BRD509 containing the C fragment expression plasmid pTETtac4, C fragment DNA vaccine pAT153/Cfrag or BRD509 alone and, along with age matched un-vaccinated controls, were immunised again 6 months later with BRD509 (pTETtac4). Prior exposure to Salmonella was found to significantly reduce the ability of the bacteria to colonise the Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes, spread systemically to the liver and spleen and significantly impair antibody responses to Salmonella LPS and TT. Results show that prior exposure to Salmonella significantly compromises its efficacy as a vaccine vector and these negative effects do not diminish with time. In addition, findings suggest Salmonella vaccine vectors cannot be employed to deliver multiple doses of a vaccine antigen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enfuvirtide is the first fusion inhibitor approved for use in HIV treatment and is a useful therapeutic option for highly treatment experienced individuals. Passive reporting has associated increased neuropathy rates with enfuvirtide use in some early studies but not others. The aim of this study was to describe any functional or clinical changes consistent with neuropathy among enfuvirtide users. A prospective cohort study of patients commencing or continuing enfuvirtide at a state HIV referral service, including clinical and sensory threshold monitoring, was conducted. A total of 14 patients were studied. All had advanced HIV disease and 13 (93%) had symptoms and/or signs consistent with neuropathy at baseline. Patients who entered the study on enfuvirtide-based therapy remained neurologically stable throughout follow-up. Eleven patients were assessed preand postenfuvirtide. No evidence was found for any clear effect of enfuvirtide on neuropathic symptoms, neuropathic signs, or sensory thresholds at a cohort level (p > 0.3 for all, Wilcoxon signed rank test). However, three (21%) patients experienced worsening of existing neuropathy symptoms (transient in two cases) and two (14%) patients' symptoms improved with enfuvirtide commencement. Breakthrough HIV viremia was associated with worsening symptoms in two patients at 5 and 18 months of enfuvirtide use. This study found no clear effect on peripheral nerves from enfuvirtide. Although limited by a small sample size, this study involved patients who would have been particularly vulnerable to a neurotoxin, with advanced HIV disease and a high rate of baseline neurological abnormalities. We observed no clear evidence of neurotoxicity from enfuvirtide in this population.
AIDS research and human retroviruses 09/2008; 24(8):1027-30. · 2.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vaccination strategies against Klebsiella pneumoniae have largely focussed on the polysaccharide capsule. However, the large number and high prevalence of individual capsular serotypes limits the widespread applicability of capsule-based vaccines. This study establishes that immunization with purified LPS can protect mice against lethal challenge with K. pneumoniae, and that subcapsular antibodies directed against purified LPS can be used to treat and/or prevent experimental K. pneumoniae infection in mice. This approach offers potential for prophylaxis and/or therapy against drug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleoside analog-associated sensory neuropathy (NRTI-SN) attributed to stavudine, didanosine, or zalcitabine (the dNRTIs) and distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP) attributed to HIV are clinically indistinguishable. As inflammatory cytokines are involved in DSP, we addressed a role for inflammation in NRTI-SN by determining the alleles of immune-related genes carried by patients with and without NRTI-SN. Demographic details associated with risk of various neuropathies were included in the analysis. Alleles of 14 polymorphisms in 10 genes were determined in Australian HIV patients with definite NRTI-SN (symptom onset <6 months after first dNRTI exposure, n = 16), NRTI-SN-resistant patients (no neuropathy despite >6 months on dNRTIs, n = 20), patients with late onset NRTI-SN (neuropathy onset after >6 months of dNRTIs, n = 19), and HIV-negative controls. Carriage of TNFA-1031*2 was highest in NRTI-SN patients, suggesting potentiation of NRTI-SN. Carriage of IL12B (3' UTR)*2 was higher in NRTI-SN-resistant patients than controls or NRTI-SN patients, suggesting a protective role. BAT1 (intron 10)*2 was more common in NRTI-SN than resistant patients, but neither group differed from controls. This marks the conserved HLA-A1, B8, DR3 haplotype. Of the demographic details considered, increasing height was associated with NRTI-SN risk. A model including cytokine genotype and height predicted NRTI-SN status (p < 0.0001, R(2) = 0.54). Late onset NRTI-SN patients clustered genetically with NRTI-SN-resistant patients, so these patients may be genetically "protected." In addition to patient height, cytokine genotype influenced NRTI-SN risk following dNRTI exposure, suggesting inflammation contributes to NRTI-SN.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 02/2008; 24(2):117-23. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sydney Blood Bank Cohort (SBBC) of long-term survivors consists of 8 individuals infected with an attenuated nef-deleted strain of HIV-1 by means of contaminated blood products donated from a common blood donor between 1981 and 1984. We report the outcome of a 26-year prospective study documenting the clinical course of nef-deleted HIV-1 infection in 7 SBBC members.
CD4 T-cell counts and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels were measured by flow cytometry and the COBAS AMPLICOR HIV-1 monitor version 1 or 1.5 (Roche Molecular Diagnostic Systems, Branchburg, NJ), respectively. Changes in these parameters with time were determined by least-squares analysis using STATA (StataCorp, College Station, TX) statistical software.
Four subjects had persistent low-level viremia. Of these, progression to AIDS and/or evidence of CD4 T-cell loss occurred in 3; the fourth viremic individual died of non-HIV-1-related causes in 1995, only 12 years after infection. Three subjects have persistently undetectable plasma HIV-1 RNA levels and remain long-term nonprogressors.
Our study shows that even weakened highly attenuated HIV-1 strains with nef deletions are ultimately pathogenic in humans unless replication is completely and persistently suppressed in vivo. This finding underscores the importance of aiming to achieve nothing less than complete and sustained suppression of HIV-1 replication by antiretroviral drugs and vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sydney Blood Bank Cohort (SBBC) consists of eight blood transfusion recipients infected with nef-attenuated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) acquired from a single donor. Here, we show that viral phenotypes and antibody responses differ considerably between individual cohort members, despite the single source of infection. Replication of isolated virus varied from barely detectable to similar to that of the wild-type virus, and virus isolated from five SBBC members showed coreceptor usage signatures unique to each individual. Higher viral loads and stronger neutralizing antibody responses were associated with better-replicating viral strains, and detectable viral replication was essential for the development of strong and sustained humoral immune responses. Despite the presence of strong neutralizing antibodies in a number of SBBC members, disease progression was not prevented, and each cohort member studied displayed a unique outcome of infection with nef-attenuated HIV-1.
Journal of Virology 10/2007; 81(17):9268-78. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arboviruses of the families Togaviridae and Flaviviridae are widely distributed and are important causative agents of viral encephalitis, a severe and often fatal disease. The only internationally available vaccine against these diseases is expensive and laborious to manufacture and difficult to administer. Therefore, new vaccines are required against these pathogens. This study investigates the use of a DNA-prime, orally delivered protein boost vaccination strategy against viral encephalitis. This vaccination strategy was immunogenic and provided partial protection against viral encephalitis in a murine model, demonstrating the possible applicability of this vaccination strategy for the management of endemic encephalitis.
Journal of NeuroVirology 07/2007; 13(3):284-9. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study compared the potency and immunomodulatory effects of measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine given to infants alone or in combination with varicella (MMR and V). In an additional group, MMR vaccination was delayed 42 days to permit analysis of potential effects on underlying maturation of systemic immune functions. Assessment of immunity to the vaccines indicated consistent antibody production coupled with mixed Th1/Th2 memory, and no significant differences between vaccine groups or to the group who had their MMR vaccination delayed. Parallel analyses of cytokine responses to phytohaemagglutinin and tetanus toxoid did not detect any "bystander" effects of the vaccines on systemic immunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Live attenuated Salmonellae may overcome limitations with conventional methods of DNA immunisation. This study examined the impact of plasmid stability on oral DNA delivery by the attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccine strain BRD509. A DNA vaccine cassette comprising the C fragment of tetanus toxin under control of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter was ligated into plasmid pcDNA3, pUC18, pBBR122, pACYC184, pRSF1010/CAT, pBR322 and pAT153. In vitro and in vivo stability studies revealed that, with the exception of pcDNA3 and pUC18, the plasmids were retained by BRD509. However, pAT153 was the only plasmid to induce a tetanus toxoid-specific antibody response following oral delivery. Plasmid copy number was found to impact on plasmid stability and the induction of antigen-specific humoral responses.