[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 (HTLV-2) both cause lifelong persistent infections, but differ in their clinical outcomes. HTLV-1 infection causes a chronic or acute T-lymphocytic malignancy in up to 5% of infected individuals whereas HTLV-2 has not been unequivocally linked to a T-cell malignancy. Virus-driven clonal proliferation of infected cells both in vitro and in vivo has been demonstrated in HTLV-1 infection. However, T-cell clonality in HTLV-2 infection has not been rigorously characterized. In this study we used a high-throughput approach in conjunction with flow cytometric sorting to identify and quantify HTLV-2-infected T-cell clones in 28 individuals with natural infection. We show that while genome-wide integration site preferences in vivo were similar to those found in HTLV-1 infection, expansion of HTLV-2-infected clones did not demonstrate the same significant association with the genomic environment of the integrated provirus. The proviral load in HTLV-2 is almost confined to CD8+ T-cells and is composed of a small number of often highly expanded clones. The HTLV-2 load correlated significantly with the degree of dispersion of the clone frequency distribution, which was highly stable over ∼8 years. These results suggest that there are significant differences in the selection forces that control the clonal expansion of virus-infected cells in HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 infection. In addition, our data demonstrate that strong virus-driven proliferation per se does not predispose to malignant transformation in oncoretroviral infections.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MOTIVATION: The relative abundance of retroviral insertions in a host genome is important in understanding the persistence and pathogenesis of both natural retroviral infections and retroviral gene therapy vectors. It could be estimated from a sample of cells if only the host genomic sites of retroviral insertions could be directly counted. When host genomic DNA is randomly broken via sonication and then amplified, amplicons of varying lengths are produced. The number of unique lengths of amplicons of an insertion site tends to increase according to its abundance, providing a basis for estimating relative abundance. However, as abundance increases amplicons of the same length arise by chance leading to a non-linear relation between the number of unique lengths and relative abundance. The difficulty in calibrating this relation is compounded by sample-specific variations in the relative frequencies of clones of each length. RESULTS: A likelihood function is proposed for the discrete lengths observed in each of a collection of insertion sites and is maximized with a hybrid expectation-maximization algorithm. Patient data illustrate the method and simulations show that relative abundance can be estimated with little bias, but that variation in highly abundant sites can be large. In replicated patient samples, variation exceeds what the model implies-requiring adjustment as in Efron (2004) or using jackknife standard errors. Consequently, it is advantageous to collect replicate samples to strengthen inferences about relative abundance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) persists by driving clonal proliferation of infected T lymphocytes. A high proviral load predisposes to HTLV-1-associated diseases. Yet the reasons for the variation within and between persons in the abundance of HTLV-1-infected clones remain unknown. We devised a high-throughput protocol to map the genomic location and quantify the abundance of > 91,000 unique insertion sites of the provirus from 61 HTLV-1(+) persons and > 2100 sites from in vitro infection. We show that a typical HTLV-1-infected host carries between 500 and 5000 unique insertion sites. We demonstrate that negative selection dominates during chronic infection, favoring establishment of proviruses integrated in transcriptionally silenced DNA: this selection is significantly stronger in asymptomatic carriers. We define a parameter, the oligoclonality index, to quantify clonality. The high proviral load characteristic of HTLV-1-associated inflammatory disease results from a larger number of unique insertion sites than in asymptomatic carriers and not, as previously thought, from a difference in clonality. The abundance of established HTLV-1 clones is determined by genomic features of the host DNA flanking the provirus. HTLV-1 clonal expansion in vivo is favored by orientation of the provirus in the same sense as the nearest host gene.