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1.  Genetic Variability in Markers of HLA-C Expression in Two Diverse South African Populations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67780.
An insertion-deletion (indel) polymorphism within the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of HLA-C has been shown to be involved in the regulation of HLA-C expression. Individuals who carry a deletion at this position exhibit increased HLA-C expression, which associates with lower viral set point in HIV-1 infected individuals. This 263 indel (rs67384697) is reported to be in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) with a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 35 kilobases upstream of HLA-C (-35T/C; rs9264942) in Caucasian individuals, making this SNP a potential marker for both HLA-C expression and HIV-1 disease progression. We therefore examined genetic variation within the HLA-C 3′ UTR of 265 Black and Caucasian South Africans by direct sequencing and identified haplotypes encompassing the 263 indel and another indel at position 230 in both populations. Concomitant evaluation of variability at the −35 SNP revealed this polymorphism to be an inappropriate marker for the 263 indel in these populations. These findings provide important insights into genetic variability within the regulatory regions of HLA-C that have potential implications for our understanding of the regulation of HLA-C expression and its impact on HIV-1 disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3702582  PMID: 23861805
2.  Distinct Genetic Loci Control Plasma HIV-RNA and Cellular HIV-DNA Levels in HIV-1 Infection: The ANRS Genome Wide Association 01 Study 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3907.
Previous studies of the HIV-1 disease have shown that HLA and Chemokine receptor genetic variants influence disease progression and early viral load. We performed a Genome Wide Association study in a cohort of 605 HIV-1-infected seroconverters for detection of novel genetic factors that influence plasma HIV-RNA and cellular HIV-DNA levels. Most of the SNPs strongly associated with HIV-RNA levels were localised in the 6p21 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region and were in the vicinity of class I and III genes. Moreover, protective alleles for four disease-associated SNPs in the MHC locus (rs2395029, rs13199524, rs12198173 and rs3093662) were strikingly over-represented among forty-five Long Term HIV controllers. Furthermore, we show that the HIV-DNA levels (reflecting the HIV reservoir) are associated with the same four SNPs, but also with two additional SNPs on chromosome 17 (rs6503919; intergenic region flanked by the DDX40 and YPEL2 genes) and chromosome 8 (rs2575735; within the Syndecan 2 gene). Our data provide evidence that the MHC controls both HIV replication and HIV reservoir. They also indicate that two additional genomic loci may influence the HIV reservoir.
PMCID: PMC2603319  PMID: 19107206
3.  Reappraisal of the Relationship between the HIV-1-Protective Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism 35 Kilobases Upstream of the HLA-C Gene and Surface HLA-C Expression▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(7):3367-3374.
Previous studies have found an association between a single-nucleotide polymorphism 35 kb upstream of the HLA-C locus (−35 SNP), HLA-C expression, and HIV-1 set point viral loads. We show that the difference in HLA-C expression across −35 SNP genotypes can be attributed primarily to the very low expression of a single allelic product, HLA-Cw7, which is a common HLA type. We suggest that association of the −35 SNP and HIV-1 load manifests as a result of linkage disequilibrium of this polymorphism with both favorable and unfavorable HLA-C and -B alleles.
PMCID: PMC3067890  PMID: 21248048
Human immunology  2011;72(4):312-318.
Populations of African ancestry continue to account for a disproportionate burden of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic in the US. We investigated the effects of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I markers in association with virologic and immunologic control of HIV-1 infection among 338 HIV-1 subtype B-infected African Americans in two cohorts: REACH (Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health) and HERS (HIV Epidemiology Research Study). One-year treatment-free interval measurements of HIV-1 RNA viral loads and CD4+ T-cells were examined both separately and combined to represent three categories of HIV-1 disease control (76 “controllers,” 169 “intermediates,” and 93 “non-controllers”). Certain previously or newly implicated HLA class I alleles (A*32, A*36, A*74, B*14, B*1510, B*3501, B*45, B*53, B*57, Cw*04, Cw*08, Cw*12, and Cw*18) were associated with one or more of the endpoints in univariate analyses. After multivariable adjustments for other genetic and non-genetic risk factors of HIV-1 progression, the subset of alleles more strongly or consistently associated with HIV-1 disease control included A*32, A*74, B*14, B*45, B*53, B*57, and Cw*08. Carriage of infrequent HLA-B but not HLA-A alleles was associated with more favorable disease outcomes. Certain HLA class I associations with control of HIV-1 infection span the boundaries of race and viral subtype; while others appear confined within one or the other of those boundaries.
PMCID: PMC3778654  PMID: 21262311
HLA class I; Allele frequency; HIV-1 control; African American
5.  HLA-B*44 Is Associated with a Lower Viral Set Point and Slow CD4 Decline in a Cohort of Chinese Homosexual Men Acutely Infected with HIV-1 
HLA class I alleles have been shown to have differential impacts on the viral load and the outcome of HIV-1 disease progression. In this study, HLA class I types from residents of China with acute HIV-1 infection, diagnosed between 2006 and 2011, were identified and the association between expression of individual HLA alleles and the level of the set point viral load was analyzed. A lower level of set point viral load was found to be associated with the Bw4 homozygote on HLA-B alleles. B*44 and B*57 alleles have also been found to be associated with lower set point viral load. The set point viral load of B*44-positive individuals homozygous for Bw4 was significantly lower than that of B*44-negative individuals homozygous for Bw4 (P = 0.030). The CD4 count declined to <350 in fewer B*44-positive individuals than B*44-negative individuals (X2 = 7.295, P = 0.026). B*44-positive individuals had a lower magnitude of p24 pool-specific T cell responses than B*44-negative individuals homozygous for Bw4, though this was not statistically significant. The p24 pool-specific T cell responses were also inversely correlated with lower viral load (rs = −0.88, P = 0.033). Six peptides within p24 were recognized to induce the specific-T cell response in B*44-positive individuals, and the peptide breadth of response was same as that in B*44-negative individuals homozygous for Bw4, but the median magnitude of specific-T cell responses to the recognized peptides in B*44-positive individuals was lower than that in B*44-negative individuals homozygous for Bw4 (P = 0.049). These findings imply that weak p24-specific CD8+ T cell responses might play an important role in the control of HIV viremia in B*44 allele-positive individuals. Such studies might contribute to the development of future therapeutic strategies that take into account the genetic background of the patients.
PMCID: PMC3697455  PMID: 23677320
6.  Temporal effect of HLA-B*57 on viral control during primary HIV-1 infection 
Retrovirology  2013;10:139.
HLA-B alleles are associated with viral control in chronic HIV-1 infection, however, their role in primary HIV-1 disease is unclear. This study sought to determine the role of HLA-B alleles in viral control during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection and establishment of the early viral load set point (VLSP).
Individuals identified during primary HIV-1 infection were HLA class I typed and followed longitudinally. Associations between HLA-B alleles and HIV-1 viral replication during acute infection and VLSP were analyzed in untreated subjects. The results showed that neither HLA-B*57 nor HLA-B*27 were significantly associated with viral control during acute HIV-1 infection (Fiebig stage I-IV, n=171). HLA-B*57 was however significantly associated with a subsequent lower VLSP (p<0.001, n=135) with nearly 1 log10 less median viral load. Analysis of a known polymorphism at position 97 of HLA-B showed significant associations with both lower initial viral load (p<0.01) and lower VLSP (p<0.05). However, this association was dependent on different amino acids at this position for each endpoint.
The effect of HLA-B*57 on viral control is more pronounced during the later stages of primary HIV-1 infection, which suggests the underlying mechanism of control occurs at a critical period in the first several months after HIV-1 acquisition. The risk profile of polymorphisms at position 97 of HLA-B are more broadly associated with HIV-1 viral load during primary infection and may serve as a focal point in further studies of HLA-B function.
PMCID: PMC3874665  PMID: 24245727
HLA-B*57; HLA-B; Acute HIV-1 infection; Primary HIV-1 infection; Viral load set point; MHC class I
7.  Human Leukocyte Antigens and HIV Type 1 Viral Load in Early and Chronic Infection: Predominance of Evolving Relationships 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9629.
During untreated, chronic HIV-1 infection, plasma viral load (VL) is a relatively stable quantitative trait that has clinical and epidemiological implications. Immunogenetic research has established various human genetic factors, especially human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, as independent determinants of VL set-point.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To identify and clarify HLA alleles that are associated with either transient or durable immune control of HIV-1 infection, we evaluated the relationships of HLA class I and class II alleles with VL among 563 seroprevalent Zambians (SPs) who were seropositive at enrollment and 221 seroconverters (SCs) who became seropositive during quarterly follow-up visits. After statistical adjustments for non-genetic factors (sex and age), two unfavorable alleles (A*3601 and DRB1*0102) were independently associated with high VL in SPs (p<0.01) but not in SCs. In contrast, favorable HLA variants, mainly A*74, B*13, B*57 (or Cw*18), and one HLA-A and HLA-C combination (A*30+Cw*03), dominated in SCs; their independent associations with low VL were reflected in regression beta estimates that ranged from −0.47±0.23 to −0.92±0.32 log10 in SCs (p<0.05). Except for Cw*18, all favorable variants had diminishing or vanishing association with VL in SPs (p≤0.86).
Overall, each of the three HLA class I genes had at least one allele that might contribute to effective immune control, especially during the early course of HIV-1 infection. These observations can provide a useful framework for ongoing analyses of viral mutations induced by protective immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2835758  PMID: 20224785
8.  Host determinants of HIV-1 control in African Americans 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(8):1141-1149.
We performed a whole-genome association study on HIV-1 viral load setpoint in an African American cohort (n=515), and an intronic SNP in the HLA-B gene showed one of the strongest associations. Using a subset of patients, we show that this SNP reflects the effect of the HLA-B*5703 allele, which shows a genome-wide significant association with HIV-1 VL setpoint (p=5.6×10−10). These analyses therefore confirm a member of the HLA-B*57 group of alleles as the most important common variant influencing viral load variation in African Americans, consistent with what is observed in individuals of European ancestry in which the most important common variant is HLA-B*5701.
PMCID: PMC2838940  PMID: 20205591
HIV; viral load setpoint; host genetics; association study; HLA
9.  HIV-1 Disease-Influencing Effects Associated with ZNRD1, HCP5 and HLA-C Alleles Are Attributable Mainly to Either HLA-A10 or HLA-B*57 Alleles 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3636.
A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) suggested that polymorphisms in or around the genes HCP5, HLA-C and ZNRD1 confer restriction against HIV-1 viral replication or disease progression. Here, we also find that these alleles are associated with different aspects of HIV disease, albeit mainly in European Americans. Additionally, we offer that because the GWAS cohort was a subset of HIV-positive individuals, selected based in part on having a low viral load, the observed associations for viral load are magnified compared with those we detect in a large well-characterized prospective natural history cohort of HIV-1-infected persons. We also find that because of linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns, the dominant viral load- and disease-influencing associations for the ZNRD1 or HLA-C and HCP5 alleles are apparent mainly when these alleles are present in HLA-A10- or HLA-B*57-containing haplotypes, respectively. ZNRD1 alleles lacking HLA-A10 did not confer disease protection whereas ZNRD1-A10 haplotypes did. When examined in isolation, the HCP5-G allele associates with a slow disease course and lower viral loads. However, in multivariate models, after partitioning out the protective effects of B*57, the HCP5-G allele associates with disease-acceleration and enhanced viral replication; these associations for HCP5-G are otherwise obscured because of the very strong LD between this allele and a subset of protective B*57 alleles. Furthermore, HCP5 and HLA-C alleles stratify B*57-containing genotypes into those that associate with either striking disease retardation or progressive disease, providing one explanation for the long-standing conundrum of why some HLA-B*57-carrying individuals are long-term non-progressors, whereas others exhibit progressive disease. Collectively, these data generally underscore the strong dependence of genotype-phenotype relationships upon cohort design, phenotype selection, LD patterns and populations studied. They specifically demonstrate that the influence of ZNRD1 alleles on disease progression rates are attributable to HLA-A10, help clarify the relationship between the HCP5, HLA-C and HLA-B*57 alleles, and reaffirm a critical role of HLA-B*57 alleles in HIV disease. Furthermore, as the protective B*57-containing genotypes convey striking salutary effects independent of their strong impact on viral control, it is conceivable that T cell-based therapeutic vaccine strategies aimed at reducing viral loads may be inadequate for limiting AIDS progression, raising the potential need for complementary strategies that target viral load-independent determinants of pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2574440  PMID: 18982067
10.  A polymorphism in the HCP5 gene associated with HLA-B*5701 does not restrict HIV-1 in vitro 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(1):155-157.
A single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs2395029) in the HCP5 gene associated with HLA-B*5701 is correlated with lower HIV-1 viral set point. The two allelic forms of coding region were ectopically expressed in TZM-bl cells for an effect on HIV-1 replication. No significant HIV-1 restriction was observed in the cells with infectivity assays throughout HIV-1 life cycle, suggesting that the association of HCP5 variant with viral control is likely due to HLA-B*5701-related effect or other functional variants in the haplotype or both.
PMCID: PMC3652654  PMID: 19935381
11.  Fine-mapping classical HLA variation associated with durable host control of HIV-1 infection in African Americans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(19):4334-4347.
A small proportion of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infected individuals, termed HIV-1 controllers, suppress viral replication to very low levels in the absence of therapy. Genetic investigations of this phenotype have strongly implicated variation in the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region as key to HIV-1 control. We collected sequence-based classical class I HLA genotypes at 4-digit resolution in HIV-1-infected African American controllers and progressors (n = 1107), and tested them for association with host control using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data to account for population structure. Several classical alleles at HLA-B were associated with host control, including B*57:03 [odds ratio (OR) = 5.1; P= 3.4 × 10–18] and B*81:01 (OR = 4.8; P= 1.3 × 10−9). Analysis of variable amino acid positions demonstrates that HLA-B position 97 is the most significant association with host control in African Americans (omnibus P = 1.2 × 10−21) and explains the signal of several HLA-B alleles, including B*57:03. Within HLA-B, we also identified independent effects at position 116 (omnibus P= 2.8 × 10−15) in the canonical F pocket, position 63 in the B pocket (P= 1.5 × 10−3) and the non-pocket position 245 (P= 8.8 × 10−10), which is thought to influence CD8-binding kinetics. Adjusting for these HLA-B effects, there is evidence for residual association in the MHC region. These results underscore the key role of HLA-B in affecting HIV-1 replication, likely through the molecular interaction between HLA-B and viral peptides presented by infected cells, and suggest that sites outside the peptide-binding pocket also influence HIV-1 control.
PMCID: PMC3441117  PMID: 22718199
12.  HLA-B*57 versus HLA-B*81 in HIV-1 Infection: Slow and Steady Wins the Race? 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(7):4043-4051.
Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, HLA-B*57 and -B*81, are consistently known as favorable host factors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected Africans and African-Americans. In our analyses of prospective data from 538 recent HIV-1 seroconverters and cross-sectional data from 292 subjects with unknown duration of infection, HLA-B*57 (mostly B*57:03) and -B*81 (exclusively B*81:01) had mostly discordant associations with virologic and immunologic manifestations before antiretroviral therapy. Specifically, relatively low viral load (VL) in HLA-B*57-positive subjects (P ≤ 0.03 in various models) did not translate to early advantage in CD4+ T-cell (CD4) counts (P ≥ 0.37). In contrast, individuals with HLA-B*81 showed little deviation from the normal set point VL (P > 0.18) while maintaining high CD4 count during early and chronic infection (P = 0.01). These observations suggest that discordance between VL and CD4 count can occur in the presence of certain HLA alleles and that effective control of HIV-1 viremia is not always a prerequisite for favorable prognosis (delayed immunodeficiency). Of note, steady CD4 count associated with HLA-B*81 in HIV-1-infected Africans may depend on the country of origin, as observations differed slightly between subgroups enrolled in southern Africa (Zambia) and eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda).
PMCID: PMC3624227  PMID: 23365442
13.  The HLA-B/-C haplotype block contains major determinants for host control of HIV 
Genes and immunity  2009;10(8):673-677.
A genome-wide association study of people with incident human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection selected from nine different cohorts identified allelic polymorphisms, which associated with either viral set point (HCP5 and 5′ HLA-C) or with HIV disease progression (RNF39 and ZNRD1). To determine the influence of these polymorphisms on host control of HIV, we carried out a population-based association study. The analysis revealed complete linkage disequilibrium between HCP5 and HLA-B*5701/HLA-Cw*06, a modest effect of 5′ HLA-C on viral set point in the absence of HLA-B*5701, and no influence of the RNF39 /ZNRD1 extended haplotype on HIV disease progression. No correlation was found between the infection status and any of these genetic variants (P>0.1, Fisher's exact test). These findings suggest a pattern of strong linkage disequilibrium consistent with an HLA-B/-C haplotype block, making identification of a causal variant difficult, and underscore the importance of validating polymorphisms in putative determinants for host control by association analysis of independent populations.
PMCID: PMC2873233  PMID: 19693088
HIV; HLA-B/-C haplotype block; SNP
14.  On the association between rheumatoid arthritis and classical HLA class I and class II alleles predicted from single-nucleotide polymorphism data 
BMC Proceedings  2009;3(Suppl 7):S33.
Using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we sought to predict classical class I and class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, and test for their associations with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium sample of cases and controls, genotyped on the Illumina HumanHap550 BeadChip. We use publicly available databases of SNP data and HLA data to find SNPs or SNP-haplotypes to be used as surrogates for each HLA allele. To reduce the confounding effects of linkage disequilibrium with the HLA-DRB1 locus, we tested for the association conditional on the presence or absence of a shared epitope allele on the same haplotype as the target HLA allele. Using SNP surrogates, we find that components of the DQ8 serotype (DQA1*0301:DQB1*0302) are associated with RA, irrespective of the presence or absence of a shared epitope allele on their respective haplotypes. Knowledge of the haplotype structure in the HLA region is still necessary for better interpretation of the results.
PMCID: PMC2795931  PMID: 20018024
15.  Cumulative Impact of Host and Viral Factors on HIV-1 Viral-Load Control during Early Infection 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(2):708-715.
In HIV-1 infection, the early set-point viral load strongly predicts both viral transmission and disease progression. The factors responsible for the wide spectrum of set-point viral loads are complex and likely reflect an interplay between the transmitted virus and genetically defined factors in both the transmitting source partner and the seroconverter. Indeed, analysis of 195 transmission pairs from Lusaka, Zambia, revealed that the viral loads in transmitting source partners contributed only ∼2% of the variance in early set-point viral loads of seroconverters (P = 0.046 by univariable analysis). In multivariable models, early set-point viral loads in seroconverting partners were a complex function of (i) the viral load in the source partner, (ii) the gender of the seroconverter, (iii) specific HLA class I alleles in the newly infected partner, and (iv) sharing of HLA-I alleles between partners in a transmission pair. Each of these factors significantly and independently contributed to the set-point viral load in the newly infected partner, accounting for up to 37% of the variance observed and suggesting that many factors operate in concert to define the early virological phenotype in HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3554094  PMID: 23115285
16.  Co-Operative Additive Effects between HLA Alleles in Control of HIV-1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47799.
HLA class I genotype is a major determinant of the outcome of HIV infection, and the impact of certain alleles on HIV disease outcome is well studied. Recent studies have demonstrated that certain HLA class I alleles that are in linkage disequilibrium, such as HLA-A*74 and HLA-B*57, appear to function co-operatively to result in greater immune control of HIV than mediated by either single allele alone. We here investigate the extent to which HLA alleles - irrespective of linkage disequilibrium - function co-operatively.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We here refined a computational approach to the analysis of >2000 subjects infected with C-clade HIV first to discern the individual effect of each allele on disease control, and second to identify pairs of alleles that mediate ‘co-operative additive’ effects, either to improve disease suppression or to contribute to immunological failure. We identified six pairs of HLA class I alleles that have a co-operative additive effect in mediating HIV disease control and four hazardous pairs of alleles that, occurring together, are predictive of worse disease outcomes (q<0.05 in each case). We developed a novel ‘sharing score’ to quantify the breadth of CD8+ T cell responses made by pairs of HLA alleles across the HIV proteome, and used this to demonstrate that successful viraemic suppression correlates with breadth of unique CD8+ T cell responses (p = 0.03).
These results identify co-operative effects between HLA Class I alleles in the control of HIV-1 in an extended Southern African cohort, and underline complementarity and breadth of the CD8+ T cell targeting as one potential mechanism for this effect.
PMCID: PMC3477121  PMID: 23094091
17.  Possession of HLA Class II DRB1*1303 Associates with Reduced Viral Loads in Chronic HIV-1 Clade C and B Infection 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(6):803-809.
Background.The HLA class II molecules play a central role in the generation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–specific CD4+ T-helper cells, which are critical for the induction of cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses. However, little is known about the impact of HLA class II alleles on HIV disease progression.
Methods.In this study we investigated the effect of HLA class II alleles on HIV disease outcome and HIV-specific T cell responses in a cohort of 426 antiretroviral therapy–naive, HIV-1 clade C–infected, predominantly female black South Africans.
Results.The HLA class II allele DRB1*1303 was independently associated with lower plasma viral loads in this population (P = .02), an association that was confirmed in a second cohort of 1436 untreated, HIV-1 clade B–infected, male European Americans, suggesting that DRB1*1303-mediated protection is independent of ethnicity, sex, and viral clade. Interestingly, DRB1*1303 carriage was not associated with an increased frequency of interferon (IFN) γ–positive HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses.
Conclusions.These data demonstrate the independent effect of an HLA class II allele, DRB1*1303, on HIV disease progression, in the absence of increased IFN-γ–positive HIV-specific CD4+ T cell frequencies, suggesting that the protective activity of DRB1*1303 may be mediated via an alternative mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3071131  PMID: 21257739
18.  Influence of HLA-C Expression Level on HIV Control 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;340(6128):87-91.
A variant upstream of human leukocyte antigen C (HLA-C) shows the most significant genome-wide effect on HIV control in European Americans and is also associated with the level of HLA-C expression. We characterized the differential cell surface expression levels of all common HLA-C allotypes and tested directly for effects of HLA-C expression on outcomes of HIV infection in 5243 individuals. Increasing HLA-C expression was associated with protection against multiple outcomes independently of individual HLA allelic effects in both African and European Americans, regardless of their distinct HLA-C frequencies and linkage relationships with HLA-B and HLA-A. Higher HLA-C expression was correlated with increased likelihood of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses and frequency of viral escape mutation. In contrast, high HLA-C expression had a deleterious effect in Crohn’s disease, suggesting a broader influence of HLA expression levels in human disease.
PMCID: PMC3784322  PMID: 23559252
19.  HLA-A*7401–Mediated Control of HIV Viremia Is Independent of Its Linkage Disequilibrium with HLA-B*5703 
The potential contribution of HLA-A alleles to viremic control in chronic HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection has been relatively understudied compared with HLA-B. In these studies, we show that HLA-A*7401 is associated with favorable viremic control in extended southern African cohorts of >2100 C-clade–infected subjects. We present evidence that HLA-A*7401 operates an effect that is independent of HLA-B*5703, with which it is in linkage disequilibrium in some populations, to mediate lowered viremia. We describe a novel statistical approach to detecting additive effects between class I alleles in control of HIV-1 disease, highlighting improved viremic control in subjects with HLA-A*7401 combined with HLA-B*57. In common with HLA-B alleles that are associated with effective control of viremia, HLA-A*7401 presents highly targeted epitopes in several proteins, including Gag, Pol, Rev, and Nef, of which the Gag epitopes appear immunodominant. We identify eight novel putative HLA-A*7401–restricted epitopes, of which three have been defined to the optimal epitope. In common with HLA-B alleles linked with slow progression, viremic control through an HLA-A*7401–restricted response appears to be associated with the selection of escape mutants within Gag epitopes that reduce viral replicative capacity. These studies highlight the potentially important contribution of an HLA-A allele to immune control of HIV infection, which may have been concealed by a stronger effect mediated by an HLA-B allele with which it is in linkage disequilibrium. In addition, these studies identify a factor contributing to different HIV disease outcomes in individuals expressing HLA-B*5703.
PMCID: PMC3738002  PMID: 21498667
20.  Regulatory Polymorphisms in the Cyclophilin A Gene, PPIA, Accelerate Progression to AIDS 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(6):e88.
Human cyclophilin A, or CypA, encoded by the gene peptidyl prolyl isomerase A (PPIA), is incorporated into the HIV type 1 (HIV-1) virion and promotes HIV-1 infectivity by facilitating virus uncoating. We examined the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes within the PPIA gene on HIV-1 infection and disease progression in five HIV-1 longitudinal history cohorts. Kaplan-Meier survival statistics and Cox proportional hazards model were used to assess time to AIDS outcomes. Among eight SNPs tested, two promoter SNPs (SNP3 and SNP4) in perfect linkage disequilibrium were associated with more rapid CD4+ T-cell loss (relative hazard = 3.7, p = 0.003) in African Americans. Among European Americans, these alleles were also associated with a significant trend to more rapid progression to AIDS in a multi-point categorical analysis (p = 0.005). Both SNPs showed differential nuclear protein-binding efficiencies in a gel shift assay. In addition, one SNP (SNP5) located in the 5′ UTR previously shown to be associated with higher ex vivo HIV-1 replication was found to be more frequent in HIV-1-positive individuals than in those highly exposed uninfected individuals. These results implicate regulatory PPIA polymorphisms as a component of genetic susceptibility to HIV-1 infection or disease progression, affirming the important role of PPIA in HIV-1 pathogenesis.
Author Summary
Individual risk of acquiring HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection and developing AIDS is not equal; some people are more prone to HIV/AIDS than others. Susceptibility to HIV-1/AIDS is likely determined by a combination of environmental, viral, and host genetic factors. Genetic variations in host cellular factors involved in HIV-1 cell entry, replication, and host defense have been found to affect susceptibility to HIV-1/AIDS. In this report, we focused on the gene PPIA that encodes cyclophilin A, a human cellular protein that is incorporated into the HIV-1 virion and promotes viral replication. We studied genetic variation in the PPIA gene in persons with different susceptibility levels to HIV-1 infection or different rates of disease progression. We found that individuals who processed two functional variants in the promoter region of PPIA had higher risk of CD4+ T-cell loss or progression to AIDS-defining diseases. We also observed that an additional variant occurred more frequently in HIV-1-infected individuals compared to HIV-1-exposed, but uninfected, individuals. These results suggest that genetic variation in PPIA may influence host susceptibility to HIV-1 infection or disease progression and targeting PPIA might provide therapeutic benefit.
PMCID: PMC1894826  PMID: 17590083
21.  HLA-B63 Presents HLA-B57/B58-Restricted Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Epitopes and Is Associated with Low Human Immunodeficiency Virus Load 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(16):10218-10225.
Several HLA class I alleles have been associated with slow human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression, supporting the important role HLA class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) play in controlling HIV infection. HLA-B63, the serological marker for the closely related HLA-B*1516 and HLA-B*1517 alleles, shares the epitope binding motif of HLA-B57 and HLA-B58, two alleles that have been associated with slow HIV disease progression. We investigated whether HIV-infected individuals who express HLA-B63 generate CTL responses that are comparable in breadth and specificity to those of HLA-B57/58-positive subjects and whether HLA-B63-positive individuals would also present with lower viral set points than the general population. The data show that HLA-B63-positive individuals indeed mounted responses to previously identified HLA-B57-restricted epitopes as well as towards novel, HLA-B63-restricted CTL targets that, in turn, can be presented by HLA-B57 and HLA-B58. HLA-B63-positive subjects generated these responses early in acute HIV infection and were able to control HIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral treatment with a median viral load of 3,280 RNA copies/ml. The data support an important role of the presented epitope in mediating relative control of HIV replication and help to better define immune correlates of controlled HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC1182636  PMID: 16051815
22.  Differential Clade-Specific HLA-B*3501 Association with HIV-1 Disease Outcome Is Linked to Immunogenicity of a Single Gag Epitope 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):12643-12654.
The strongest genetic influence on immune control in HIV-1 infection is the HLA class I genotype. Rapid disease progression in B-clade infection has been linked to HLA-B*35 expression, in particular to the less common HLA-B*3502 and HLA-B*3503 subtypes but also to the most prevalent subtype, HLA-B*3501. In these studies we first demonstrated that whereas HLA-B*3501 is associated with a high viral set point in two further B-clade-infected cohorts, in Japan and Mexico, this association does not hold in two large C-clade-infected African cohorts. We tested the hypothesis that clade-specific differences in HLA associations with disease outcomes may be related to distinct targeting of critical CD8+ T-cell epitopes. We observed that only one epitope was significantly targeted differentially, namely, the Gag-specific epitope NPPIPVGDIY (NY10, Gag positions 253 to 262) (P = 2 × 10−5). In common with two other HLA-B*3501-restricted epitopes, in Gag and Nef, that were not targeted differentially, a response toward NY10 was associated with a significantly lower viral set point. Nonimmunogenicity of NY10 in B-clade-infected subjects derives from the Gag-D260E polymorphism present in ∼90% of B-clade sequences, which critically reduces recognition of the Gag NY10 epitope. These data suggest that in spite of any inherent HLA-linked T-cell receptor repertoire differences that may exist, maximizing the breadth of the Gag-specific CD8+ T-cell response, by the addition of even a single epitope, may be of overriding importance in achieving immune control of HIV infection. This distinction is of direct relevance to development of vaccines designed to optimize the anti-HIV CD8+ T-cell response in all individuals, irrespective of HLA type.
PMCID: PMC3497693  PMID: 22973023
23.  Association of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCR6, TAGAP and TNFAIP3 with Rheumatoid Arthritis in African Americans 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2012;64(5):1355-1358.
We previously reported an analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in three validated European rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility loci, TAGAP, TNFAIP3, and CCR6 in African-Americans with RA. Unexpectedly, the disease-associated alleles were different in African-Americans than in Europeans. In an effort to better define their contribution, we performed additional SNP genotyping in these genes.
Seven SNPs were genotyped in 446 African Americans with RA and 733 African American controls. Differences in minor allele frequency between cases and controls were analyzed after controlling for global proportion of European admixture, and pairwise linkage disequilibrium (LD) was estimated among the SNPs.
Three SNPs were significantly associated with RA: TNFAIP3 rs719149 A allele (OR (95% CI) 1.22 (1.03–1.44) (p =0.02); TAGAP rs1738074 G allele OR 0.75 (0.63–0.89), (p =0.0012); and TAGAP rs4709267 G allele 0.74 (0.60–0.91), (p =0.004). Pairwise LD between the TAGAP SNPs was low (R2=0.034). The haplotype containing minor alleles for both TAGAP SNPs was uncommon (4.5%). After conditional analysis on each TAGAP SNP, its counterpart remained significantly associated with RA (rs1738074 for rs4709267 p=0.00001; rs4709267 for rs1738074 p=0.00005), suggesting independent effects.
SNPs in regulatory regions of TAGAP and an intronic SNP (TNFAIP3) are potential susceptibility loci in African Americans. Pairwise LD, haplotype analysis, and SNP conditioning analysis suggest that these two SNPs in TAGAP are independent susceptibility alleles. Additional fine mapping of this gene and functional genomic studies of these SNPs should provide additional insight into the role of these genes in RA.
PMCID: PMC3299842  PMID: 22127930
24.  Imputing Amino Acid Polymorphisms in Human Leukocyte Antigens 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64683.
DNA sequence variation within human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes mediate susceptibility to a wide range of human diseases. The complex genetic structure of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) makes it difficult, however, to collect genotyping data in large cohorts. Long-range linkage disequilibrium between HLA loci and SNP markers across the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region offers an alternative approach through imputation to interrogate HLA variation in existing GWAS data sets. Here we describe a computational strategy, SNP2HLA, to impute classical alleles and amino acid polymorphisms at class I (HLA-A, -B, -C) and class II (-DPA1, -DPB1, -DQA1, -DQB1, and -DRB1) loci. To characterize performance of SNP2HLA, we constructed two European ancestry reference panels, one based on data collected in HapMap-CEPH pedigrees (90 individuals) and another based on data collected by the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC, 5,225 individuals). We imputed HLA alleles in an independent data set from the British 1958 Birth Cohort (N = 918) with gold standard four-digit HLA types and SNPs genotyped using the Affymetrix GeneChip 500 K and Illumina Immunochip microarrays. We demonstrate that the sample size of the reference panel, rather than SNP density of the genotyping platform, is critical to achieve high imputation accuracy. Using the larger T1DGC reference panel, the average accuracy at four-digit resolution is 94.7% using the low-density Affymetrix GeneChip 500 K, and 96.7% using the high-density Illumina Immunochip. For amino acid polymorphisms within HLA genes, we achieve 98.6% and 99.3% accuracy using the Affymetrix GeneChip 500 K and Illumina Immunochip, respectively. Finally, we demonstrate how imputation and association testing at amino acid resolution can facilitate fine-mapping of primary MHC association signals, giving a specific example from type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3675122  PMID: 23762245
25.  Human Leukocyte Antigen B58 Supertype and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection in Native Africans 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(12):6056-6060.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles can be grouped into supertypes according to their shared peptide binding properties. We examined alleles of the HLA-B58 supertype (B58s) in treatment-naïve human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-seropositive Africans (423 Zambians and 202 Rwandans). HLA-B and HLA-C alleles were resolved to four digits by a combination of molecular methods, and their respective associations with outcomes of HIV-1 infection were analyzed by statistical procedures appropriate for continuous or categorical data. The effects of the individual alleles on natural HIV-1 infection were heterogeneous. In HIV-1 subtype C-infected Zambians, the mean viral load (VL) was lower among B*5703 (P = 0.01) or B*5703-Cw*18 (P < 0.001) haplotype carriers and higher among B*5802 (P = 0.02) or B*5802-Cw*0602 (P = 0.03) carriers. The B*5801-Cw*03 haplotype showed an association with low VL (P = 0.05), whereas B*5801 as a whole did not. Rwandans with HIV-1 subtype A infection showed associations of B*5703 and B*5802 with slow (P = 0.06) and rapid (P = 0.003) disease progression, respectively. In neither population were B*1516-B*1517 alleles associated with more favorable responses. Overall, B58s alleles, individually or as part of an HLA-B-HLA-C haplotype, appeared to have a distinctive impact on HIV-1 infection among native Africans. As presently defined, B58s alleles cannot be considered uniformly protective against HIV/AIDS in every population.
PMCID: PMC1472610  PMID: 16731944

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