Article

The X4 Phenotype of HIV Type 1 Evolves from R5 in Two Children of Mothers, Carrying X4, and Is Not Linked to Transmission

Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses (Impact Factor: 2.33). 06/2005; 21(5):371-8. DOI: 10.1089/aid.2005.21.371
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Previously, we found that emergence of the X4 viral phenotype in HIV-1-infected children was related to the presence of X4 in their mothers (C.H. Casper et al., J Infect Dis 2002; 186:914-921). Here, we investigated the origin of the X4 phenotype in the child, analyzing two mother-child pairs (Ma-Ca, Mb-Cb) where the mothers carried X4 and their children developed X4 after an initial presence of R5. We used nested polymerase chain reaction of the env V3 region to generate 203 HIV-1 clones for sequencing (Ma, n = 44; Ca, n = 73; Mb, n = 61; Cb, n = 25) from DNA of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) lysates, altogether 167 clones, or from cDNA of plasma RNA, 36 clones. PBMC and plasma isolate sequences from each time point enabled us to assign the probable phenotype to clone sequences in a phylogenetic tree. The transmission and evolution were reconstructed using the maximum likelihood method. In mother-child pair Ma-Ca, one maternal R5 isolate clustered with the child's R5 sequences, at the earliest time when R5 was isolated in the child, confirming this as a likely source of the transmitted R5 phenotype. At age 3, an X4 population was present in the child that had evolved from the child's own R5-associated population, clearly distinct from the maternal X4 sequences. The second mother-child pair (Mb-Cb) displayed a similar pattern. Amino acid substitution patterns corroborated the conclusions from the phylogenetic tree. Thus, in both children, the X4 virus developed from their own R5 population, and was not caused by transmission of X4.

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    • "In the absence of such work, it was widely believed that the gatekeeping mechanisms of vertical transmission are as tight as those of horizontal transmission. When the phylogenic analysis of the mother-to child transmitted variants has been performed it was found that X4 variants always evolves from the transmitted R5 HIV-1 [164]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To enter target cells HIV-1 uses CD4 and a coreceptor. In vivo the coreceptor function is provided either by CCR5 (for R5) or CXCR4 (for X4 HIV-1). Although both R5 and X4 HIV-1 variants are present in body fluids (semen, blood, cervicovaginal and rectal secretions), R5 HIV-1 appears to transmit infection and dominates early stages of HIV disease. Moreover, recent sequence analysis of virus in acute infection shows that, in the majority of cases of transmission, infection is initiated by a single virus. Therefore, the existence of a "gatekeeper" that selects R5 over X4 HIV-1 and that operates among R5 HIV-1 variants has been suggested. In the present review we consider various routes of HIV-transmission and discuss potential gatekeeping mechanisms associated with each of these routes. Although many mechanisms have been identified none of them explains the almost perfect selection of R5 over X4 in HIV-1 transmission. We suggest that instead of one strong gatekeeper there are multiple functional gatekeepers and that their superimposition is sufficient to protect against X4 HIV-1 infection and potentially select among R5 HIV-1 variants. In conclusion, we propose that the principle of multiple barriers is more general and not restricted to protection against X4 HIV-1 but rather can be applied to other phenomena when one factor has a selective advantage over the other(s). In the case of gatekeepers for HIV-1 transmission, the task is to identify them and to decipher their molecular mechanisms. Knowledge of the gatekeepers' localization and function may enable us to enhance existing barriers against R5 transmission and to erect the new ones against all HIV-1 variants.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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    • "Another interesting observation comes from the study by Casper et al. [1], which shows that in HIV-1 infected children the emergence of the X4 phenotype during disease progression occurs when the mother carried an X4 virus. The same group was able to demonstrate that in these two children the X4 virus developed from their own R5 population, and not from a transmitted maternal X4 variant [24]. It is tempting to speculate that the transmitted virus has an intrinsic propensity to evolve to CXCR4 usage or that the similar genetic background of the mother and the child may favor such evolution. "
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    ABSTRACT: Viral CCR5 usage is not a predictive marker of mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1. CXCR4-using viral variants are little represented in pregnant women, have an increased although not significant risk of transmission and can be eventually also detected in the neonates. Genetic polymorphisms are more frequently of relevance in the child than in the mother. However, specific tissues as the placenta or the intestine, which are involved in the prevalent routes of infection in MTCT, may play an important role of selective barriers. The virus phenotype of the infected children, like that of adults, can evolve from R5 to CXCR4-using phenotype or remain R5 despite clinical progression to overt immune deficiency. The refined classification of R5 viruses into R5narrow and R5broad resolves the enigma of the R5 phenotype being associated with the state of immune deficiency. Studies are needed to address more in specific the relevance of these factors in HIV-1 MTCT and pediatric infection of non-B subtypes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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    • "The reasons for coreceptor evolution during the course of infection and the origin and evolution of X4 strains are not fully understood, although several hypotheses have been proposed [6]. Appearance of X4 viruses might reflect emergence of quasispecies sequestered in tissues at the time of infection [7] or evolution de novo from R5 viruses [8]–[10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: During HIV-1 infection coreceptor switch from CCR5- (R5)- to CXCR4 (X4)-using viruses is associated with disease progression. X4 strains of HIV-1 are highly cytopathic to immature thymocytes. Virtually no studies have evaluated the HIV-1 quasispecies present in vivo within thymic and lymphoid tissues or the evolutionary relationship between R5 and X4 viruses in tissues and peripheral blood. High-resolution phylodynamic analysis was applied to virus envelope quasispecies in longitudinal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues collected post mortem from therapy naïve children with AIDS. There were three major findings. First, continued evolution of R5 viruses in PBMCs, spleen and lymph nodes involved multiple bottlenecks, independent of coreceptor switch, resulting in fitter quasispecies driven by positive selection. Second, evolution of X4 strains appeared to be a sequential process requiring the initial fixation of positively selected mutations in V1-V2 and C2 domains of R5 variants before the emergence of high charge V3 X4 variants. Third, R5 viruses persisted after the emergence of CXCR4-using strains, which were found predominantly but not exclusively in the thymus. Our data indicate that the evolution of X4 strains is a multi-step, temporally structured process and that the thymus may play an important role in the evolution/amplification of coreceptor variants. Development of new therapeutic protocols targeting virus in the thymus could be important to control HIV-1 infection prior to advanced disease.
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