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1.  Comparative biochemical analysis of HIV-1 subtype B and C integrase enzymes 
Retrovirology  2009;6:103.
Integrase inhibitors are currently being incorporated into highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Due to high HIV variability, integrase inhibitor efficacy must be evaluated against a range of integrase enzymes from different subtypes.
This study compares the enzymatic activities of HIV-1 integrase from subtypes B and C as well as susceptibility to various integrase inhibitors in vitro. The catalytic activities of both enzymes were analyzed in regard to each of 3' processing and strand transfer activities both in the presence and absence of the integrase inhibitors raltegravir (RAL), elvitegravir (EVG), and MK-2048.
Our results show that integrase function is similar with enzymes of either subtype and that the various integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) that were employed possessed similar inhibitory activity against both enzymes.
This suggests that the use of integrase inhibitors against HIV-1 subtype C will result in comparable outcomes to those obtained against subtype B infections.
PMCID: PMC2779801  PMID: 19906306
2.  Analysis of pol Integrase Sequences in Diverse HIV Type 1 Strains Using a Prototype Genotyping Assay 
A prototype assay was used to genotype integrase (IN) from 120 HIV-1- infected IN inhibitor-naive adults from Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda. Subtype designations based on analysis of pol IN sequences were A (14), B (15), C (12), D (11), F (12), G (7), H (1), CRF01_AE (9), CRF02_AG (34), CRF22_01A1 (4), and CRF37_cpx (1). Ten (8.3%) of 120 samples had mutations associated with reduced susceptibility to the IN inhibitors, raltegravir and elvitegravir. Two samples had E92Q (both subtype B) and eight had E157Q (2A, 1C, 1D, 1F, 3 CRF02_AG). Some samples had other mutations selected by these drugs including T97A, and some had amino acid polymorphisms at positions associated with raltegravir and elvitegravir resistance. Mutations associated with other investigational HIV IN inhibitors were also identified. This suggests that HIV strains may vary in their natural susceptibility to HIV IN inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2853838  PMID: 19327053
3.  HIV-2 Integrase Variation in Integrase Inhibitor-Naïve Adults in Senegal, West Africa 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22204.
Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-2 infection is hampered by intrinsic resistance to many of the drugs used to treat HIV-1. Limited studies suggest that the integrase inhibitors (INIs) raltegravir and elvitegravir have potent activity against HIV-2 in culture and in infected patients. There is a paucity of data on genotypic variation in HIV-2 integrase that might confer intrinsic or transmitted INI resistance.
We PCR amplified and analyzed 122 HIV-2 integrase consensus sequences from 39 HIV-2–infected, INI-naive adults in Senegal, West Africa. We assessed genetic variation and canonical mutations known to confer INI-resistance in HIV-1.
No amino acid-altering mutations were detected at sites known to be pivotal for INI resistance in HIV-1 (integrase positions 143, 148 and 155). Polymorphisms at several other HIV-1 INI resistance-associated sites were detected at positions 72, 95, 125, 154, 165, 201, 203, and 263 of the HIV-2 integrase protein.
Emerging genotypic and phenotypic data suggest that HIV-2 is susceptible to the new class of HIV integrase inhibitors. We hypothesize that intrinsic HIV-2 integrase variation at “secondary” HIV-1 INI-resistance sites may affect the genetic barrier to HIV-2 INI resistance. Further studies will be needed to assess INI efficacy as part of combination antiretroviral therapy in HIV-2–infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3134476  PMID: 21765953
4.  Genetic Diversity and Naturally Polymorphisms in HIV Type 1 Integrase Isolates from Maputo, Mozambique: Implications for Integrase Inhibitors 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1788-1792.
HIV proviral DNA integration into the host chromosome is carried out by integrase becoming an important target antiretroviral therapy. Raltegravir was the first integrase inhibitor approved for use in HIV therapy and elvitegravir is in the late phase of clinical development; both show good results in monotherapy studies and may be used worldwide for rescue therapy. In this work we analyzed 57 integrase sequences obtained from samples from drug-naive and first line regime-failing patients from Maputo, Mozambique, to evaluate the presence of natural polymorphisms and resistance mutations associated with raltegravir and elvitegravir. No major mutations conferring resistance to integrase inhibitors were found and polymorphic accessory mutations were solely observed in low frequency among subtype C sequences—L74M (3.4%), T97A (1.8%), and E157Q (1.8%)—suggesting that this new antiretroviral drug class will be effective in Mozambique providing a good perspective to the introduction of this class of drugs in that country.
PMCID: PMC3505052  PMID: 22497664
5.  Dolutegravir (S/GSK1349572) Exhibits Significantly Slower Dissociation than Raltegravir and Elvitegravir from Wild-Type and Integrase Inhibitor-Resistant HIV-1 Integrase-DNA Complexes▿† 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4552-4559.
The integrase inhibitor (INI) dolutegravir (DTG; S/GSK1349572) has significant activity against HIV-1 isolates with raltegravir (RAL)- and elvitegravir (ELV)-associated resistance mutations. As an initial step in characterizing the different resistance profiles of DTG, RAL, and ELV, we determined the dissociation rates of these INIs with integrase (IN)-DNA complexes containing a broad panel of IN proteins, including IN substitutions corresponding to signature RAL and ELV resistance mutations. DTG dissociates slowly from a wild-type IN-DNA complex at 37°C with an off-rate of 2.7 × 10−6 s−1 and a dissociative half-life (t1/2) of 71 h, significantly longer than the half-lives for RAL (8.8 h) and ELV (2.7 h). Prolonged binding (t1/2, at least 5 h) was observed for DTG with IN-DNA complexes containing E92, Y143, Q148, and N155 substitutions. The addition of a second substitution to either Q148 or N155 typically resulted in an increase in the off-rate compared to that with the single substitution. For all of the IN substitutions tested, the off-rate of DTG from IN-DNA complexes was significantly slower (from 5 to 40 times slower) than the off-rate of RAL or ELV. These data are consistent with the potential for DTG to have a higher genetic barrier to resistance, provide evidence that the INI off-rate may be an important component of the mechanism of INI resistance, and suggest that the slow dissociation of DTG may contribute to its distinctive resistance profile.
PMCID: PMC3187001  PMID: 21807982
6.  Genetic Analysis of HIV-1 Integrase Sequences from Treatment Naive Individuals in Northeastern South Africa 
Raltegravir, an integrase inhibitor, is not a component of the current South African antiretroviral treatment guidelines, but it could be introduced in the near future as cases of virological failures from current treatment regimens begin to occur. The aim of this study was to analyze the complete HIV integrase gene obtained from individuals at two treatment sites in northeastern South Africa for the presence of Raltegravir associated drug resistant mutations and viral subtypes based on the integrase gene. Examination for mutations against other integrase inhibitors, such as Elvitegravir and Dolutegravir, was also done. Viruses from 127 treatment naive individuals were analyzed. Genetic drug resistance mutations were determined using the Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Interpretation program and the International AIDS society-USA guidelines. Viral subtyping was done by phylogenetic analysis, and recombinants were determined using the REGA, jpHMM and RIP tools. No major resistance mutations were detected. However, 7% of the sequences had minor mutations and polymorphisms. The majority (99%) of the viruses were HIV-1 C. Recombination analysis showed that the polymerase gene of one virus was likely composed of HIV-1 subtype A1 and C sequences. The present study indicates that Raltegravir, Elvitegravir and Dolutegravir resistant mutations may be absent in the study communities and further indicates the presence of recombinant viruses in northeastern South Africa.
PMCID: PMC3634438  PMID: 23455469
HIV-1 integrase; raltegravir genetic resistance; polymorphisms; viral recombinants; northeastern South Africa
7.  Cross-Resistance Profile Determination of Two Second-Generation HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitors Using a Panel of Recombinant Viruses Derived from Raltegravir-Treated Clinical Isolates ▿  
The integrase inhibitor raltegravir (RAL) is currently used for the treatment of both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced HIV-1-infected patients. Elvitegravir (EVG) is in late phases of clinical development. Since significant cross-resistance between RAL and EVG is observed, there is a need for second-generation integrase inhibitors (INIs) with a higher genetic barrier and limited cross-resistance to RAL/EVG. A panel of HIV-1 integrase recombinants, derived from plasma samples from raltegravir-treated patients (baseline and follow-up samples), were used to study the cross-resistance profile of two second-generation integrase inhibitors, MK-2048 and compound G. Samples with Q148H/R mutations had elevated fold change values with all compounds tested. Although samples with the Y143R/C mutation had reduced susceptibility to RAL, they remained susceptible to MK-2048 and compound G. Samples with the N155H mutation had no reduced susceptibility to compound G. In conclusion, our results allowed ranking of the INIs on the basis of the antiviral activities using recombinant virus stocks from RAL-treated patient viruses. The order according to decreasing susceptibility is compound G, MK-2048, and EVG.
PMCID: PMC3019647  PMID: 20956600
8.  Three Main Mutational Pathways in HIV-2 Lead to High-Level Raltegravir and Elvitegravir Resistance: Implications for Emerging HIV-2 Treatment Regimens 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45372.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) is intrinsically resistant to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and exhibits reduced susceptibility to several of the protease inhibitors used for antiretroviral therapy of HIV-1. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify new classes of antiretroviral agents that are active against HIV-2. Although recent data suggest that the integrase strand transfer inhibitors raltegravir and elvitegravir may be beneficial, mutations that are known to confer resistance to these drugs in HIV-1 have been reported in HIV-2 sequences from patients receiving raltegravir-containing regimens. To examine the phenotypic effects of mutations that emerge during raltegravir treatment, we constructed a panel of HIV-2 integrase variants using site-directed mutagenesis and measured the susceptibilities of the mutant strains to raltegravir and elvitegravir in culture. The effects of single and multiple amino acid changes on HIV-2 replication capacity were also evaluated. Our results demonstrate that secondary replacements in the integrase protein play key roles in the development of integrase inhibitor resistance in HIV-2. Collectively, our data define three major mutational pathways to high-level raltegravir and elvitegravir resistance: i) E92Q+Y143C or T97A+Y143C, ii) G140S+Q148R, and iii) E92Q+N155H. These findings preclude the sequential use of raltegravir and elvitegravir (or vice versa) for HIV-2 treatment and provide important information for clinical monitoring of integrase inhibitor resistance in HIV-2–infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3445448  PMID: 23028968
9.  Identification and Characterization of CRF02_AG, CRF06_cpx, and CRF09_cpx Recombinant Subtypes in Mali, West Africa 
Multiple HIV-1 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) are known to cocirculate in Africa. In West Africa, the high prevalence of CRF02_AG, and cocirculation of subtype A, CRF01_AE, CRF06_cpx, and other complex intersubtype recombinants has been well documented. Mali, situated in the heart of West Africa, is likely to be affected by the spread of recombinant subtypes. However, the dynamics of the spread of HIV-1 recombinant subtypes as well as nonrecombinant HIV-1 group M subtypes in this area have not been systematically assessed. Herein, we undertook genetic analyses on full-length env sequences derived from HIV-1-infected individuals living in the capital city of Mali, Bamako. Of 23 samples we examined, 16 were classified as CRF02_AG and three had a subsubtype A3. Among the remaining HIV-1 strains, CRF06_cpx and CRF09_cpx were each found in two patients. Comparison of phylogenies for six matched pol and full-length env sequences revealed that two strains had discordant subtype/CRF designations between the pol and env regions: one had A3polCRF02_AGenv and the other had CRF02_AGpolA3env. Taken together, our study demonstrated the high prevalence of CRF02_AG and complexity of circulating HIV-1 strains in Mali. It also provided evidence of ongoing virus evolution of CRF02_AG, as illustrated by the emergence of more complex CRF02_AG/A3 intersubtype recombinants in this area.
PMCID: PMC2981380  PMID: 19182920
10.  Differential Sensitivities of Retroviruses to Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors ▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(7):3677-3682.
Integrase inhibitors are emerging anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs, and multiple retroviruses and transposable elements were evaluated here for susceptibilities to raltegravir (RAL) and elvitegravir (EVG). All viruses, including primate and nonprimate lentiviruses, a Betaretrovirus, a Gammaretrovirus, and the Alpharetrovirus Rous sarcoma virus (RSV), were susceptible to inhibition by RAL. EVG potently inhibited all lentiviruses and intermediately inhibited Betaretrovirus and Gammaretrovirus infections yet was basically ineffective against RSV. Substitutions based on HIV type 1 (HIV-1) resistance changes revealed that integrase residue Ser150 contributed significantly to the resistance of RSV. The drugs intermediately inhibited intracisternal A-particle retrotransposition but were inactive against Sleeping Beauty transposition and long interspersed nucleotide element 1 (LINE-1) retrotransposition.
PMCID: PMC3067883  PMID: 21270168
11.  Secondary Integrase Resistance Mutations Found in HIV-1 Minority Quasispecies in Integrase Therapy-Naive Patients Have Little or No Effect on Susceptibility to Integrase Inhibitors▿  
The goal of this study was to explore the presence of integrase strand transfer inhibitor (InSTI) resistance mutations in HIV-1 quasispecies present in InSTI-naïve patients and to evaluate their in vitro effects on phenotypic susceptibility to InSTIs and their replication capacities. The RT-RNase H-IN region was PCR amplified from plasma viral RNA obtained from 49 HIV-1 subtype B-infected patients (21 drug naïve and 28 failing highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART] not containing InSTIs) and recombined with an HXB2-based backbone with RT and IN deleted. Recombinant viruses were tested against raltegravir and elvitegravir and for replication capacity. Three-hundred forty-four recombinant viruses from 49 patients were successfully analyzed both phenotypically and genotypically. The majority of clones were not phenotypically resistant to InSTIs: 0/344 clones showed raltegravir resistance, and only 3 (0.87%) showed low-level elvitegravir resistance. No primary resistance mutations for raltegravir and elvitegravir were found as major or minor species. The majority of secondary mutations were also absent or rarely present. Secondary mutations, such as T97A and G140S, found rarely and only as minority quasispecies, were present in the elvitegravir-resistant clones. A novel mutation, E92G, although rarely found in minority quasispecies, showed elvitegravir resistance. Preexisting genotypic and phenotypic raltegravir resistance was extremely rare in InSTI-naïve patients and confined to only a restricted minority of secondary variants. Overall, these results, together with others based on population and ultradeep sequencing, suggest that at this point IN genotyping in all patients before raltegravir treatment may not be cost-effective and should not be recommended until evidence of transmitted drug resistance to InSTIs or the clinical relevance of IN minor variants/polymorphisms is determined.
PMCID: PMC2935022  PMID: 20479206
12.  Resistance Mutations outside the Integrase Coding Region Have an Effect on Human Immunodeficiency Virus Replicative Fitness but Do Not Affect Its Susceptibility to Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65631.
Most studies describing phenotypic resistance to integrase strand transfer inhibitors have analyzed viruses carrying only patient-derived HIV-1 integrase genes (INT-recombinant viruses). However, to date, many of the patients on INSTI-based treatment regimes, such as raltegravir (RAL), elvitegravir (EVG), and dolutegravir (DTG) are infected with multidrug-resistant HIV-1 strains. Here we analyzed the effect of drug resistance mutations in Gag (p2/NCp7/p1/p6), protease (PR), reverse transcriptase (RT), and integrase (IN) coding regions on susceptibility to INSTIs and viral replicative fitness using a novel HIV-1 phenotyping assay. Initial characterization based on site-directed mutant INSTI-resistant viruses confirmed the effect of a series of INSTI mutations on reduced susceptibility to EVG and RAL and viral replicative fitness (0.6% to 99% relative to the HIV-1NL4-3 control). Two sets of recombinant viruses containing a 3,428-bp gag-p2/NCp7/p1/p6/pol-PR/RT/IN (p2-INT) or a 1,088 bp integrase (INT) patient-derived fragment were constructed from plasma samples obtained from 27 virologic failure patients participating in a 48-week dose-ranging study of elvitegravir, GS-US-183-0105. A strong correlation was observed when susceptibility to EVG and RAL was assayed using p2-INT- vs. INT-recombinant viruses (Pearson coefficient correlation 0.869 and 0.918, P<0.0001 for EVG and RAL, respectively), demonstrating that mutations in the protease and RT have limited effect on susceptibility to these INSTIs. On the other hand, the replicative fitness of viruses harboring drug resistance mutations in PR, RT, and IN was generally impaired compared to viruses carrying only INSTI-resistance mutations. Thus, in the absence of drug pressure, drug resistance mutations in the PR and RT contribute to decrease the replicative fitness of the virus already impaired by mutations in the integrase. The use of recombinant viruses containing most or all HIV-1 regions targeted by antiretroviral drugs might be essential to understand the collective effect of epistatic interactions in multidrug-resistant viruses.
PMCID: PMC3679210  PMID: 23776513
13.  Specific Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Integration in Cell Culture: Putative Inhibitors of HIV-1 Integrase 
To study the effect of potential human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase inhibitors during virus replication in cell culture, we used a modified nested Alu-PCR assay to quantify integrated HIV DNA in combination with the quantitative analysis of extrachromosomal HIV DNA. The two diketo acid integrase inhibitors (L-708,906 and L-731,988) blocked the accumulation of integrated HIV-1 DNA in T cells following infection but did not alter levels of newly synthesized extrachromosomal HIV DNA. In contrast, we demonstrated that L17 (a member of the bisaroyl hydrazine family of integrase inhibitors) and AR177 (an oligonucleotide inhibitor) blocked the HIV replication cycle at, or prior to, reverse transcription, although both drugs inhibited integrase activity in cell-free assays. Quercetin dihydrate (a flavone) was shown to not have any antiviral activity in our system despite reported anti-integration properties in cell-free assays. This refined Alu-PCR assay for HIV provirus is a useful tool for screening anti-integration compounds identified in biochemical assays for their ability to inhibit the accumulation of integrated HIV DNA in cell culture, and it may be useful for studying the effects of these inhibitors in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC90685  PMID: 11502522
14.  Polymorphisms of HIV-2 integrase and selection of resistance to raltegravir 
Retrovirology  2010;7:98.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 2 is naturally resistant to some antiretroviral drugs, restricting therapeutic options for patients infected with HIV-2. Regimens including integrase inhibitors (INI) seem to be effective, but little data on HIV-2 integrase (IN) polymorphisms and resistance pathways are available.
Materials and methods
The integrase coding sequence from 45 HIV-2-infected, INI-naïve, patients was sequenced and aligned against the ROD (group A) or EHO (group B) reference strains and polymorphic or conserved positions were analyzed.
To select for raltegravir (RAL)-resistant variants in vitro, the ROD strain was cultured under increasing sub-optimal RAL concentrations for successive rounds. The phenotype of the selected variants was assessed using an MTT assay.
We describe integrase gene polymorphisms in HIV-2 clinical isolates from 45 patients. Sixty-seven percent of the integrase residues were conserved. The HHCC Zinc coordination motif, the catalytic triad DDE motif, and AA involved in IN-DNA binding and correct positioning were highly conserved and unchanged with respect to HIV-1 whereas the connecting residues of the N-terminal domain, the dimer interface and C-terminal LEDGF binding domain were highly conserved but differed from HIV-1. The N155 H INI resistance-associated mutation (RAM) was detected in the virus population from one ARV-treated, INI-naïve patient, and the 72I and 201I polymorphisms were detected in samples from 36 and 38 patients respectively. No other known INI RAM was detected.
Under RAL selective pressure in vitro, a ROD variant carrying the Q91R+I175M mutations was selected. The Q91R and I175M mutations emerged simultaneously and conferred phenotypic resistance (13-fold increase in IC50). The Q91R+I175M combination was absent from all clinical isolates. Three-dimensional modeling indicated that residue 91 lies on the enzyme surface, at the entry of a pocket containing the DDE catalytic triad and that adding a positive charge (Gln to Arg) might compromise IN-RAL affinity.
HIV-2 polymorphisms from 45 INI-naïve patients are described. Conserved regions as well as frequencies of HIV-2 IN polymorphisms were comparable to HIV-1. Two new mutations (Q91R and I175M) that conferred high resistance to RAL were selected in vitro, which might affect therapeutic outcome.
PMCID: PMC3006360  PMID: 21114823
15.  G140S/Q148R and N155H mutations render HIV-2 Integrase resistant to Raltegravir whereas Y143C does not 
Retrovirology  2011;8:68.
HIV-2 is endemic in West Africa and has spread throughout Europe. However, the alternatives for HIV-2-infected patients are more limited than for HIV-1. Raltegravir, an integrase inhibitor, is active against wild-type HIV-2, with a susceptibility to this drug similar to that of HIV-1, and is therefore a promising option for use in the treatment of HIV-2-infected patients. Recent studies have shown that HIV-2 resistance to raltegravir involves one of three resistance mutations, N155H, Q148R/H and Y143C, previously identified as resistance determinants in the HIV-1 integrase coding sequence. The resistance of HIV-1 IN has been confirmed in vitro for mutated enzymes harboring these mutations, but no such confirmation has yet been obtained for HIV-2.
The integrase coding sequence was amplified from plasma samples collected from ten patients infected with HIV-2 viruses, of whom three RAL-naïve and seven on RAL-based treatment at the time of virological failure. The genomes of the resistant strains were cloned and three patterns involving N155H, G140S/Q148R or Y143C mutations were identified. Study of the susceptibility of integrases, either amplified from clinical isolates or obtained by mutagenesis demonstrated that mutations at positions 155 and 148 render the integrase resistant to RAL. The G140S mutation conferred little resistance, but compensated for the catalytic defect due to the Q148R mutation. Conversely, Y143C alone did not confer resistance to RAL unless E92Q is also present. Furthermore, the introduction of the Y143C mutation into the N155H resistant background decreased the resistance level of enzymes containing the N155H mutation.
This study confirms that HIV-2 resistance to RAL is due to the N155H, G140S/Q148R or E92Q/Y143C mutations. The N155H and G140S/Q148R mutations make similar contributions to resistance in both HIV-1 and HIV-2, but Y143C is not sufficient to account for the resistance of HIV-2 genomes harboring this mutation. For Y143C to confer resistance in vitro, it must be accompanied by E92Q, which therefore plays a more important role in the HIV-2 context than in the HIV-1 context. Finally, the Y143C mutation counteracts the resistance conferred by the N155H mutation, probably accounting for the lack of detection of these mutations together in a single genome.
PMCID: PMC3170264  PMID: 21854605
HIV-2; integrase; raltegravir; resistance; mutation
16.  HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitor Resistance and Its Clinical Implications 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(9):1204-1214.
With the approval in 2007 of the first integrase inhibitor (INI), raltegravir, clinicians became better able to suppress virus replication in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) who were harboring many of the most highly drug-resistant viruses. Raltegravir also provided clinicians with additional options for first-line therapy and for the simplification of regimens in patients with stable virological suppression. Two additional INIs in advanced clinical development—elvitegravir and S/GSK1349572—may prove equally versatile. However, the INIs have a relatively low genetic barrier to resistance in that 1 or 2 mutations are capable of causing marked reductions in susceptibility to raltegravir and elvitegravir, the most well-studied INIs. This perspective reviews the genetic mechanisms of INI resistance and their implications for initial INI therapy, the treatment of antiretroviral-experienced patients, and regimen simplification.
PMCID: PMC3069732  PMID: 21459813
17.  The M50I polymorphic substitution in association with the R263K mutation in HIV-1 subtype B integrase increases drug resistance but does not restore viral replicative fitness 
Retrovirology  2014;11:7.
First-generation integrase strand-transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), such as raltegravir (RAL) and elvitegravir (EVG), have been clinically proven to be effective antiretrovirals for the treatment of HIV-positive patients. However, their relatively low genetic barrier for resistance makes them susceptible to the emergence of drug resistance mutations. In contrast, dolutegravir (DTG) is a newer INSTI that appears to have a high genetic barrier to resistance in vivo. However, the emergence of the resistance mutation R263K followed by the polymorphic substitution M50I has been observed in cell culture. The M50I polymorphism is also observed in 10-25% of INSTI-naïve patients and has been reported in combination with R263K in a patient failing treatment with RAL.
Using biochemical cell-free strand-transfer assays and resistance assays in TZM-bl cells, we demonstrate that the M50I polymorphism in combination with R263K increases resistance to DTG in tissue culture and in biochemical assays but does not restore the viral fitness cost associated with the R263K mutation.
Since the combination of the R263K mutation and the M50I polymorphism results in a virus with decreased viral fitness and limited cross-resistance, the R263K resistance pathway may represent an evolutionary dead-end. Although this hypothesis has not yet been proven, it may be more advantageous to treat HIV-positive individuals with DTG in first-line than in second or third-line therapy.
PMCID: PMC3898230  PMID: 24433497
HIV integrase; Subtype B; Antiretrovirals; R263K; Resistance mutation; M50I; Polymorphism; INSTI-naïve
18.  Phenotypic susceptibility of HIV-2 to raltegravir: integrase mutations Q148R and N155H confer raltegravir resistance 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(18):2235-2241.
Raltegravir is the first integrase strand transfer inhibitor approved for treating HIV-1 infection. Although emerging data suggest that raltegravir may also be useful for HIV-2 treatment, studies addressing the in-vitro susceptibility of HIV-2 to raltegravir are scarce, and the genetic pathways leading to raltegravir resistance in HIV-2 have not been adequately characterized. Our objectives were to directly compare the susceptibilities of HIV-1 and HIV-2 to raltegravir and to examine the role of mutations in HIV-2 integrase in emergent raltegravir resistance.
Materials and methods
Single-cycle and spreading infection assays were used to quantify the sensitivities of wild-type HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains to raltegravir. HIV-2 integrase mutants were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis, and the replication capacities and raltegravir susceptibilities of the resultant variants were analyzed in single-cycle assays.
Raltegravir showed comparable activity against wild-type HIV-1 and HIV-2 in both single-cycle and spreading infections, with EC50 values in the low nanomolar range. Amino acid changes Q148R and N155H individually conferred resistance to raltegravir (14-fold and seven-fold, respectively), whereas the Y143C replacement had no statistically significant effect on raltegravir sensitivity. The combination of Q148R with N155H resulted in high-level raltegravir resistance (>1000-fold). In addition, all HIV-2 integrase variants tested showed impairments in replication capacity.
Our data support clinical studies of raltegravir for treating HIV-2 infection and show that the Q148R and N155H changes alone are sufficient for raltegravir resistance in HIV-2. Further efforts are needed to improve access to HIV-2-active antiretrovirals, including raltegravir, in resource-limited areas where HIV-2 is endemic.
PMCID: PMC3652615  PMID: 21971360
HIV-1; HIV-2; integrase; N155H; Q148R; raltegravir; resistance; Y143C
19.  Preliminary Mapping of a Putative Inhibitor-Binding Pocket for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Integrase Inhibitors 
Molecular modeling studies have identified a putative human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) integrase (IN) inhibitor-binding pocket for l-chicoric acid (l-CA) and other inhibitors of IN (C. A. Sotriffer, H. Ni, and A. McCammon, J. Med. Chem. 43:4109-4117, 2000). By using site-directed mutagenesis of several amino acid residues identified by modeling studies, a common inhibitor-binding pocket on IN was confirmed for l-CA and the diketo acid L-731,988. Specifically, the single mutations E92K, Q148A, K156A, K156R, G140S, and G149S, as well as the double mutations C65S-K156N and H67D-G140A were evaluated for their effects on enzymatic activity and inhibitor susceptibility. Each recombinant IN was attenuated for 3′-end processing and strand transfer activities. Most proteins were also attenuated for disintegration; the IN that contained K156R and C65S-K156N, however, displayed disintegration activity similar to that of IN from HIVNL4-3. All mutant IN proteins demonstrated decreased susceptibility to l-CA, while all mutant proteins except E92K and K156R demonstrated resistance to L-731,988. These data validate the computer modeling data and demonstrate that l-CA and L-731,988 share an overlapping inhibitor-binding pocket that involves amino acids Q148, C65, and H67. The resistance studies confirm that L-731,988 fills one-half of the inhibitor-binding pocket and binds to Q148 but excludes E92, while l-CA fills the entire binding groove and thus interacts with E92. These results provide “wet laboratory” evidence that molecular models of the HIV IN inhibitor-binding pocket can be used for drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC1346808  PMID: 16377678
20.  Binding modes of diketo-acid inhibitors of HIV-1 integrase: A comparative molecular dynamics simulation study 
Graphical abstract
► Comparative molecular dynamics simulations on HIV-1 IN bound with L-731,988, L-708,906 and S-1360. ► The acidic end of all the DKA inhibitors studied formed favourable ionic interactions with Lys159. ► The keto–enol parts of these compounds were consistently coordinated to Mg. ► The catalytic residue Glu152 formed a favourable ion–pair interaction with the negatively charged Arg199 on α6 in the most potent DKA inhibitors. ► The complexation with Merck inhibitors and S-1360 significantly constrained the flexible surface loop into an extended or open conformation.
HIV-1 integrase (IN) has become an attractive target since drug resistance against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) has appeared. Diketo acid (DKA) inhibitors are potent and selective inhibitors of HIV-1 IN: however the action mechanism is not well understood. Here, to study the inhibition mechanism of DKAs we performed 10 ns comparative molecular dynamics simulations on HIV-1 IN bound with three most representative DKA inhibitors: Shionogi inhibitor, S-1360 and two Merck inhibitors L-731,988 and L-708,906. Our simulations show that the acidic part of S-1360 formed salt bridge and cation–π interactions with Lys159. In addition, the catalytic Glu152 in S-1360 was pushed away from the active site to form an ion–pair interaction with Arg199. The Merck inhibitors can maintain either one or both of these ion–pair interaction features. The difference in potencies of the DKA inhibitors is thus attributed to the different binding modes at the catalytic site. Such structural information at atomic level, not only demonstrates the action modes of DKA inhibitors but also provides a novel starting point for structural-based design of HIV-1 IN inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3101338  PMID: 21531158
HIV-1 integrase; Diketo acid inhibitors; Molecular dynamics; Ion–pair interaction; Catalytic loop
21.  Broad Phenotypic Cross-Resistance to Elvitegravir in HIV-Infected Patients Failing on Raltegravir-Containing Regimens 
The failure of raltegravir (RAL) is generally associated with the selection of mutations at integrase position Y143, Q148, or N155. However, a relatively high proportion of failures occurs in the absence of these changes. Here, we report the phenotypic susceptibilities to RAL and elvitegravir (EVG) for a large group of HIV-infected patients failing on RAL-containing regimens. Plasma from HIV-infected individuals failing on RAL-containing regimens underwent genotypic and phenotypic resistance testing (Antivirogram v2.5.01; Virco). A control group of patients failing on other regimens was similarly tested. Sixty-one samples were analyzed, 40 of which belonged to patients failing on RAL-containing regimens. Full RAL susceptibility was found in 20/21 controls, while susceptibility to EVG was diminished in 8 subjects, with a median fold change (FC) of 2.5 (interquartile range [IQR], 2.1 to 3.1). Fourteen samples from patients with RAL failures showed diminished RAL susceptibility, with a median FC of 38.5 (IQR, 10.8 to 103.2). Primary integrase resistance mutations were found in 11 of these samples, displaying a median FC of 68.5 (IQR, 23.5 to 134.3). The remaining 3 samples showed a median FC of 2.5 (IQR, 2 to 2.7). EVG susceptibility was diminished in 19/40 samples from patients with RAL failures (median FC, 7.71 [IQR, 2.48 to 99.93]). Cross-resistance between RAL and EVG was high (R2 = 0.8; P < 0.001), with drug susceptibility being more frequently reduced for EVG than for RAL (44.3% versus 24.6%; P = 0.035). Susceptibility to RAL and EVG is rarely affected in the absence of primary integrase resistance mutations. There is broad cross-resistance between RAL and EVG, which should preclude their sequential use. Resistance to EVG seems to be more frequent and might be more influenced by integrase variability.
PMCID: PMC3370736  PMID: 22450969
22.  HIV-1 integrase resistance among antiretroviral treatment naive and experienced patients from Northwestern Poland 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:368.
HIV integrase inhibitor use is limited by low genetic barrier to resistance and possible cross-resistance among representatives of this class of antiretrovirals. The aim of this study was to analyse integrase sequence variability among antiretroviral treatment naive and experienced patients with no prior integrase inhibitor (InI) exposure and investigate development of the InI drug resistance mutations following the virologic failure of the raltegravir containing regimen.
Sequencing of HIV-1 integrase region from plasma samples of 80 integrase treatment naive patients and serial samples from 12 patients with observed virologic failure on raltegravir containing treatment whenever plasma vireamia exceeded >50 copies/ml was performed. Drug resistance mutations were called with Stanford DB database and grouped into major and minor variants. For subtyping bootstrapped phylogenetic analysis was used; Bayesian Monte Carlo Marcov Chain (MCMC) model was implemented to infer on the phylogenetic relationships between the serial sequences from patients failing on raltegravir.
Majority of the integrase region sequences were classified as subtype B; the remaining ones being subtype D, C, G, as well as CRF01_AE , CRF02_AG and CRF13_cpx recombinants. No major integrase drug resistance mutations have been observed in InI-treatment naive patients. In 30 (38.5%) cases polymorphic variation with predominance of the E157Q mutation was observed. This mutation was more common among subtype B (26 cases, 54.2%) than non-B sequences (5 cases, 16.7%), p=0.00099, OR: 5.91 (95% CI:1.77-22.63)]. Other variants included L68V, L74IL, T97A, E138D, V151I, R263K. Among 12 (26.1%) raltegravir treated patients treatment failure was observed; major InI drug resistance mutations (G140S, Q148H and N155H, V151I, E92EQ, V151I, G163R) were noted in four of these cases (8.3% of the total InI-treated patients). Time to the development of drug resistance ranged from 2.6 to 16.3 months with mean increase of HIV viral load of 4.34 (95% CI:1.86-6.84) log HIV-RNA copies/ml at the time of emergence of the major mutations. Baseline polymorphisms, including E157Q were not associated with the virologic failure on raltegravir.
In InI treatment naive patients polymorphic integrase sequence variation was common, with no major resistance mutants. In the treatment failing patients selection of drug resistance occurred rapidly and followed the typical drug resistance pathways. Preexisting integrase polymorphisms were not associated with the treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC3547692  PMID: 23259737
HIV-1; Integrase inhibitors; Raltegravir; Antiretroviral treatment failure; Drug resistance mutations
23.  Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Isolates by the Integrase Inhibitor L-731,988, a Diketo Acid 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2002;46(10):3301-3303.
L-731,988 inhibits human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication through integrase. In this study, approximately 600 nM L-731,988 inhibited the replication of 12 HIV type 1 isolates from multiple clades, including primary isolates and cloned viruses. These data suggest that diketo acids or their derivatives may prove useful on a worldwide basis in treating HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC128787  PMID: 12234866
24.  Analysis of Natural Sequence Variation and Covariation in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Integrase ▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(18):9228-9235.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase inhibitors are in clinical trials, and raltegravir and elvitegravir are likely to be the first licensed drugs of this novel class of HIV antivirals. Understanding resistance to these inhibitors is important to maximize their efficacy. It has been shown that natural variation and covariation provide valuable insights into the development of resistance for established HIV inhibitors. Therefore, we have undertaken a study to fully characterize natural polymorphisms and amino acid covariation within an inhibitor-naïve sequence set spanning all defined HIV-1 subtypes. Inter- and intrasubtype variation was greatest in a 50-amino-acid segment of HIV-1 integrase incorporating the catalytic aspartic acid codon 116, suggesting that polymorphisms affect inhibitor binding and pathways to resistance. The critical mutations that determine the resistance pathways to raltegravir and elvitegravir (N155H, Q148K/R/H, and E92Q) were either rare or absent from the 1,165-sequence data set. However, 25 out of 41 mutations associated with integrase inhibitor resistance were present. These mutations were not subtype associated and were more prevalent in the subtypes that had been sampled frequently within the database. A novel modification of the Jaccard index was used to analyze amino acid covariation within HIV-1 integrase. A network of 10 covarying resistance-associated mutations was elucidated, along with a further 15 previously undescribed mutations that covaried with at least two of the resistance positions. The validation of covariation as a predictive tool will be dependent on monitoring the evolution of HIV-1 integrase under drug selection pressure.
PMCID: PMC2546890  PMID: 18596095
25.  Resistance Mutations in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Integrase Selected with Elvitegravir Confer Reduced Susceptibility to a Wide Range of Integrase Inhibitors▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(21):10366-10374.
Integration of viral DNA into the host chromosome is an essential step in the life cycle of retroviruses and is facilitated by the viral integrase enzyme. The first generation of integrase inhibitors recently approved or currently in late-stage clinical trials shows great promise for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but virus is expected to develop resistance to these drugs. Therefore, we used a novel resistance selection protocol to follow the emergence of resistant HIV in the presence of the integrase inhibitor elvitegravir (GS-9137). We find the primary resistance-conferring mutations to be Q148R, E92Q, and T66I and demonstrate that they confer a reduction in susceptibility not only to elvitegravir but also to raltegravir (MK-0518) and other integrase inhibitors. The locations of the mutations are highlighted in the catalytic sites of integrase, and we correlate the mutations with expected drug-protein contacts. In addition, mutations that do not confer reduced susceptibility when present alone (H114Y, L74M, R20K, A128T, E138K, and S230R) are also discussed in relation to their position in the catalytic core domain and their proximity to known structural features of integrase. These data broaden the understanding of antiviral resistance against integrase inhibitors and may give insight facilitating the discovery of second-generation compounds.
PMCID: PMC2573211  PMID: 18715920

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