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1.  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
2.  HIV-1 group O integrase displays lower susceptibility to raltegravir and has a different mutational pathway for resistance than HIV-1 group M 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19738.
HIV-1 group O (HIV-O) is a rare HIV-1 variant characterized by a high number of polymorphisms, especially in the integrase gene, e.g. positions L74I, S153A, G163Q and T206S. As HIV-O integrase enzymes have not previously been studied, our aim was to assess the impact of HIV-O integrase polymorphisms on susceptibility to integrase inhibitors and emergence of resistance associated mutations.
Viruses and Methods
We cloned and purified integrase proteins from each of HIV-1 Group O clades A (HIV-O/A) and B (HIV-O/B), a HIV-O divergent strain (HIV-O/Div), and HIV-1 group M (subtype B, HIV-M/B) and characterized these enzymes for susceptibility to integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) in cell-free assays and in tissue culture, in the absence or presence of varying concentrations of several INSTIs. The inhibition constant (Ki) and IC50 were calculated and compared for HIV-M and HIV-O integrases. Selections for resistance-related mutations were performed using cord blood mononuclear cells and increasing concentration of INSTIs.
HIV-O integrase and viruses were more susceptible to raltegravir (RAL) in competitive inhibition assays and in tissue culture than were HIV-M enzymes and viruses, respectively. During selection, we observed different pathways of resistance depending on the drug and clade. Mutations selected in HIV-O can be classified as follows: (1) mutations described for HIV-M such as T97A, Q148R, V151A/I (RAL), T66I, E92Q, E157Q (EVG) and M50I, R263K (DTG) and (2) signature mutations for HIV-O (i.e. not described in HIV-M) F121C (HIV-O/B for RAL), V75I (HIV-O/A for RAL) and S153V (HIV-O/A for DTG). Only the HIV-O/Div selected the Q148R mutation for RAL and R263K+M50I for DTG, as previously described for HIV-M. None of the HIV-O viruses selected either N155H or Y143C. The selection of the specific S153V mutation could be explained at the nucleotide level: HIV-O at this position contains an alanine and substitution of alanine to valine (153AGGC→153VGTC) is easier than substitution of alanine to tyrosine (153AGGC→153YTAC), with only a transversion needed instead of one transition plus one transversion.
This is the first report of susceptibility and resistance in vitro to INSTIs for HIV-O. Our study confirmed the impact of HIV-O polymorphism, on susceptibility to INSTIs and the emergence of resistance mutations.
PMCID: PMC4225329  PMID: 25397483
3.  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
4.  Biochemical Analysis of the Role of G118R-Linked Dolutegravir Drug Resistance Substitutions in HIV-1 Integrase 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(12):6223-6235.
Drug resistance mutations (DRMs) have been reported for all currently approved anti-HIV drugs, including the latest integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs). We previously used the new INSTI dolutegravir (DTG) to select a G118R integrase resistance substitution in tissue culture and also showed that secondary substitutions emerged at positions H51Y and E138K. Now, we have characterized the impact of the G118R substitution, alone or in combination with either H51Y or E138K, on 3′ processing and integrase strand transfer activity. The results show that G118R primarily impacted the strand transfer step of integration by diminishing the ability of integrase-long terminal repeat (LTR) complexes to bind target DNA. The addition of H51Y and E138K to G118R partially restored strand transfer activity by modulating the formation of integrase-LTR complexes through increasing LTR DNA affinity and total DNA binding, respectively. This unique mechanism, in which one function of HIV integrase partially compensates for the defect in another function, has not been previously reported. The G118R substitution resulted in low-level resistance to DTG, raltegravir (RAL), and elvitegravir (EVG). The addition of either of H51Y or E138K to G118R did not enhance resistance to DTG, RAL, or EVG. Homology modeling provided insight into the mechanism of resistance conferred by G118R as well as the effects of H51Y or E138K on enzyme activity. The G118R substitution therefore represents a potential avenue for resistance to DTG, similar to that previously described for the R263K substitution. For both pathways, secondary substitutions can lead to either diminished integrase activity and/or increased INSTI susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3837891  PMID: 24080645
5.  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
6.  Natural Polymorphisms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Integrase and Inherent Susceptibilities to a Panel of Integrase Inhibitors▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2009;53(10):4275-4282.
We evaluated the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase coding region of the pol gene for the presence of natural polymorphisms in patients during early infection (AHI) and with triple-class drug-resistant HIV-1 (MDR). We analyzed selected recombinant viruses containing patient-derived HIV-1 integrase for susceptibility to a panel of strand transfer integrase inhibitors (InSTI). A pretreatment sequence analysis of the integrase coding region was performed for 112 patients identified during acute or early infection and 15 patients with triple-class resistance. A phenotypic analysis was done on 10 recombinant viruses derived from nine patients against a panel of six diverse InSTI. Few of the polymorphisms associated with in vitro InSTI resistance were identified in the samples from newly infected individuals or those patients with MDR HIV-1. We identified polymorphisms V72I, L74I, T97A, V151I, M154I/L, E157Q, V165I, V201I, I203M, T206S, and S230N. V72I was the most common, seen in 63 (56.3%) of the AHI samples. E157Q was the only naturally occurring mutation thought to contribute to resistance to elvitegravir, raltegravir, and L-870,810. None of the patient-derived viruses demonstrated any significant decrease in susceptibility to the drugs tested. In summary, the integrase coding region contains as much natural variation as that seen in protease, but mutations associated with high-level resistance to existing InSTI are rarely, if ever, present in integrase naïve patients, especially those being used clinically. Most of the highly prevalent polymorphisms have little effect on InSTI susceptibility in the absence of specific primary mutations. Baseline testing for integrase susceptibility in InSTI-naïve patients is not currently warranted.
PMCID: PMC2764199  PMID: 19651917
7.  Dolutegravir, the Second-Generation of Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors (INSTIs) for the Treatment of HIV 
The integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) are the newest antiretroviral class in the HIV treatment armamentarium. Dolutegravir (DTG) is the only second-generation INSTI with FDA approval (2013). It has potential advantages in comparison to first-generation INSTI’s, including unboosted daily dosing, limited cross resistance with raltegravir and elvitegravir, and a high barrier to resistance. Clinical trials have evaluated DTG as a 50-mg daily dose in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced, INSTI-naïve participants. In those treatment-naïve participants with baseline viral load <100,000 copies/mL, DTG combined with abacavir and lamivudine was non-inferior and superior to fixed-dose combination emtricitabine/tenofovir/efavirenz. DTG was also superior to the protease inhibitor regimen darunavir/ritonavir in treatment-naïve participants regardless of baseline viral load. Among treatment-experienced patients naïve to INSTI, DTG (50 mg daily) demonstrated both non-inferiority and superiority when compared to the first-generation INSTI raltegravir (400 mg twice daily) regardless of the background regimen. No phenotypically significant DTG resistance has been demonstrated in INSTI-naïve participant trials. The VIKING trials evaluated DTG’s ability to treat persons with HIV with prior INSTI exposure. VIKING demonstrated twice-daily DTG was more efficacious than daily dosing when treating participants receiving and failing first-generation INSTI regimens. DTG maintained potency against single mutations from any of the three major INSTI pathways (Y143, H155, Q148); however, the Q148 mutation with two or more additional mutations significantly reduced its potency. The long-acting formulation of DTG, GSK1265744LA, is the next innovation in this second-generation INSTI class, holding promise for the future of HIV prevention and treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40121-014-0029-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4269626  PMID: 25134686
Antiretroviral therapy (ART); Dolutegravir (DTG); GSK1265744LA; HIV; Integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI); Nanoparticle formulation
8.  In-Silico docking of HIV-1 integrase inhibitors reveals a novel drug type acting on an enzyme/DNA reaction intermediate 
Retrovirology  2007;4:21.
HIV-1 integrase (IN) is an emerging drug target, as IN strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) are proving potent antiretroviral agents in clinical trials. One credible theory sees INSTIs as docking at the cellular (acceptor) DNA-binding site after IN forms a transitional complex with viral (donor) DNA. However, mapping of the DNA and INSTI binding sites within the IN catalytic core domain (CCD) has been uncertain.
Structural superimpositions were conducted using the SWISS PDB and Cn3D free software. Docking simulations of INSTIs were run by a widely validated genetic algorithm (GOLD).
Structural superimpositions suggested that a two-metal model for HIV-1 IN CCD in complex with small molecule, 1-(5-chloroindol-3-yl)-3-(tetrazoyl)-1,3-propandione-ene (5CITEP) could be used as a surrogate for an IN/viral DNA complex, because it allowed replication of contacts documented biochemically in viral DNA/IN complexes or displayed by a crystal structure of the IN-related enzyme Tn5 transposase in complex with transposable DNA. Docking simulations showed that the fitness of different compounds for the catalytic cavity of the IN/5CITEP complex significantly (P < 0.01) correlated with their 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in strand transfer assays in vitro. The amino acids involved in inhibitor binding matched those involved in drug resistance. Both metal binding and occupation of the putative viral DNA binding site by 5CITEP appeared to be important for optimal drug/ligand interactions. The docking site of INSTIs appeared to overlap with a putative acceptor DNA binding region adjacent to but distinct from the putative donor DNA binding site, and homologous to the nucleic acid binding site of RNAse H. Of note, some INSTIs such as 4,5-dihydroxypyrimidine carboxamides/N-Alkyl-5-hydroxypyrimidinone carboxamides, a highly promising drug class including raltegravir/MK-0518 (now in clinical trials), displayed interactions with IN reminiscent of those displayed by fungal molecules from Fusarium sp., shown in the 1990s to inhibit HIV-1 integration.
The 3D model presented here supports the idea that INSTIs dock at the putative acceptor DNA-binding site in a IN/viral DNA complex. This mechanism of enzyme inhibition, likely to be exploited by some natural products, might disclose future strategies for inhibition of nucleic acid-manipulating enzymes.
PMCID: PMC1847836  PMID: 17374162
9.  Impact of Primary Elvitegravir Resistance-Associated Mutations in HIV-1 Integrase on Drug Susceptibility and Viral Replication Fitness 
Elvitegravir (EVG) is an effective HIV-1 integrase (IN) strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) in advanced clinical development. Primary INSTI resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) at six IN positions have been identified in HIV-1-infected patients failing EVG-containing regimens in clinical studies: T66I/A/K, E92Q/G, T97A, S147G, Q148R/H/K, and N155H. In this study, the effect of these primary IN mutations, alone and in combination, on susceptibility to the INSTIs EVG, raltegravir (RAL), and dolutegravir (DTG); IN enzyme activities; and viral replication fitness was characterized. Recombinant viruses containing the six most common mutations exhibited a range of reduced EVG susceptibility: 92-fold for Q148R, 30-fold for N155H, 26-fold for E92Q, 10-fold for T66I, 4-fold for S147G, and 2-fold for T97A. Less commonly observed primary IN mutations also showed a range of reduced EVG susceptibilities: 40- to 94-fold for T66K and Q148K and 5- to 10-fold for T66A, E92G, and Q148H. Some primary IN mutations exhibited broad cross-resistance between EVG and RAL (T66K, E92Q, Q148R/H/K, and N155H), while others retained susceptibility to RAL (T66I/A, E92G, T97A, and S147G). Dual combinations of primary IN mutations further reduced INSTI susceptibility, replication capacity, and viral fitness relative to either mutation alone. Susceptibility to DTG was retained by single primary IN mutations but reduced by dual mutation combinations with Q148R. Primary EVG RAMs also diminished IN enzymatic activities, concordant with their structural proximity to the active site. Greater reductions in viral fitness of dual mutation combinations may explain why some primary INSTI RAMs do not readily coexist on the same HIV-1 genome but rather establish independent pathways of resistance to EVG.
PMCID: PMC3716146  PMID: 23529738
10.  In vitro activity of dolutegravir against wild-type and integrase inhibitor-resistant HIV-2 
Retrovirology  2015;12:10.
Dolutegravir recently became the third integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) approved for use in HIV-1–infected individuals. In contrast to the extensive dataset for HIV-1, in vitro studies and clinical reports of dolutegravir for HIV-2 are limited. To evaluate the potential role of dolutegravir in HIV-2 treatment, we compared the susceptibilities of wild-type and INSTI-resistant HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains to the drug using single-cycle assays, spreading infections of immortalized T cells, and site-directed mutagenesis.
HIV-2 group A, HIV-2 group B, and HIV-1 isolates from INSTI-naïve individuals were comparably sensitive to dolutegravir in the single-cycle assay (mean EC50 values = 1.9, 2.6, and 1.3 nM, respectively). Integrase substitutions E92Q, Y143C, E92Q + Y143C, and Q148R conferred relatively low levels of resistance to dolutegravir in HIV-2ROD9 (2- to 6-fold), but Q148K, E92Q + N155H, T97A + N155H and G140S + Q148R resulted in moderate resistance (10- to 46-fold), and the combination of T97A + Y143C in HIV-2ROD9 conferred high-level resistance (>5000-fold). In contrast, HIV-1NL4-3 mutants E92Q + N155H, G140S + Q148R, and T97A + Y143C showed 2-fold, 4-fold, and no increase in EC50, respectively, relative to the parental strain. The resistance phenotypes for E92Q + N155H, and G140S + Q148R HIV-2ROD9 were also confirmed in spreading infections of CEM-ss cells.
Our data support the use of dolutegravir in INSTI-naïve HIV-2 patients but suggest that, relative to HIV-1, a broader array of replacements in HIV-2 integrase may enable cross-resistance between dolutegravir and other INSTI. Clinical studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of dolutegravir in HIV-2–infected individuals, including patients previously treated with raltegravir or elvitegravir.
PMCID: PMC4328052
11.  Altered Viral Fitness and Drug Susceptibility in HIV-1 Carrying Mutations That Confer Resistance to Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase and Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9268-9276.
Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NNRTI) and integrase (IN) strand transfer inhibitors (INSTI) are key components of antiretroviral regimens. To explore potential interactions between NNRTI and INSTI resistance mutations, we investigated the combined effects of these mutations on drug susceptibility and fitness of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In the absence of drug, single-mutant viruses were less fit than the wild type; viruses carrying multiple mutations were less fit than single-mutant viruses. These findings were explained in part by the observation that mutant viruses carrying NNRTI plus INSTI resistance mutations had reduced amounts of virion-associated RT and/or IN protein. In the presence of efavirenz (EFV), a virus carrying RT-K103N together with IN-G140S and IN-Q148H (here termed IN-G140S/Q148H) mutations was fitter than a virus with a RT-K103N mutation alone. Similarly, in the presence of EFV, the RT-E138K plus IN-G140S/Q148H mutant virus was fitter than one with the RT-E138K mutation alone. No effect of INSTI resistance mutations on the fitness of RT-Y181C mutant viruses was observed. Conversely, RT-E138K and -Y181C mutations improved the fitness of the IN-G140S/Q148H mutant virus in the presence of raltegravir (RAL); the RT-K103N mutation had no effect. The NNRTI resistance mutations had no effect on RAL susceptibility. Likewise, the IN-G140S/Q148H mutations had no effect on EFV or RPV susceptibility. However, both the RT-K103N plus IN-G140S/Q148H and the RT-E138K plus IN-G140S/Q148H mutant viruses had significantly greater fold increases in 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of EFV than viruses carrying a single NNRTI mutation. Likewise, the RT-E138K plus IN-G140S/Q148H mutant virus had significantly greater fold increases in RAL IC50 than that of the IN-G140S/Q148H mutant virus. These results suggest that interactions between RT and IN mutations are important for NNRTI and INSTI resistance and viral fitness.
IMPORTANCE Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and integrase inhibitors are used to treat infection with HIV-1. Mutations that confer resistance to these drugs reduce the ability of HIV-1 to reproduce (that is, they decrease viral fitness). It is known that reverse transcriptase and integrase interact and that some mutations can disrupt their interaction, which is necessary for proper functioning of these two enzymes. To determine whether resistance mutations in these enzymes interact, we investigated their effects on drug sensitivity and viral fitness. Although individual drug resistance mutations usually reduced viral fitness, certain combinations of mutations increased fitness. When present in certain combinations, some integrase inhibitor resistance mutations increased resistance to nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and vice versa. Because these drugs are sometimes used together in the treatment of HIV-1 infection, these interactions could make viruses more resistant to both drugs, further limiting their clinical benefit.
PMCID: PMC4136249  PMID: 24899199
12.  Identification of Novel Mutations Responsible for Resistance to MK-2048, a Second-Generation HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitor ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(18):9210-9216.
MK-2048 represents a prototype second-generation integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) developed with the goal of retaining activity against viruses containing mutations associated with resistance to first-generation INSTIs, raltegravir (RAL) and elvitegravir (EVG). Here, we report the identification of mutations (G118R and E138K) which confer resistance to MK-2048 and not to RAL or EVG. These mutations were selected in vitro and confirmed by site-specific mutagenesis. G118R, which appeared first in cell culture, conferred low levels of resistance to MK-2048. G118R also reduced viral replication capacity to approximately 1% that of the isogenic wild-type (wt) virus. The subsequent selection of E138K partially restored replication capacity to ≈13% of wt levels and increased resistance to MK-2048 to ≈8-fold. Viruses containing G118R and E138K remained largely susceptible to both RAL and EVG, suggesting a unique interaction between this second-generation INSTI and the enzyme may be defined by these residues as a potential basis for the increased intrinsic affinity and longer “off” rate of MK-2048. In silico structural analysis suggests that the introduction of a positively charged arginine at position 118, near the catalytic amino acid 116, might decrease Mg2+ binding, compromising enzyme function and thus leading to the significant reduction in both integration and viral replication capacity observed with these mutations.
PMCID: PMC2937597  PMID: 20610719
13.  Clinical Pharmacokinetic, Pharmacodynamic and Drug-Interaction Profile of the Integrase Inhibitor Dolutegravir 
Clinical pharmacokinetics  2013;52(11):981-994.
Dolutegravir is a second generation integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) currently under review by the US FDA for marketing approval. Dolutegravir’s in vitro, protein adjusted 90% inhibitory concentration (IC90) for wild-type virus is 0.064 μg/ml, and it retains in vitro anti-HIV 1 activity across a broad range of viral phenotypes known to confer resistance to the currently marketed INSTIs, raltegravir and elvitegravir. Dolutegravir has a half-life (t½) of 13 to 14 hours and maintains concentrations over the in vitro, protein adjusted IC90 for more than 30 hours following a single dose. Additionally, dolutegravir has comparatively low intersubject variability compared to raltegravir and elvitegravir. A plasma exposure-response relationship has been well described, with antiviral activity strongly correlating to trough concentration (Ctrough) values. Phase III trials have assessed the antiviral activity of dolutegravir compared with efavirenz and raltegravir in antiretroviral (ARV)-naïve patients and found dolutegravir to achieve more rapid and sustained virologic suppression in both instances. Additionally, studies of dolutegravir activity in patients with known INSTI-resistant mutations have been favorable, indicating that dolutegravir retains activity in a variety of INSTI resistant phenotypes. Much like currently marketed INSTIs, dolutegravir is very well tolerated. Because dolutegravir inhibits the renal transporter, organic cation transporter (OCT) 2, reduced tubular secretion of creatinine leads to non-progressive increases in serum creatinine. These serum creatinine increases have not been associated with decreased glomerular filtration rate or progressive renal impairment. Dolutegravir’s major and minor metabolic pathways are UDP glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)1A1 and cytochrome (CYP)3A4, respectively, and it neither induces nor inhibits CYP isozymes. Thus dolutegravir has a modest drug interaction profile. However, antacids significantly decrease dolutegravir plasma exposure and should be separated by 2 hours before, or 6 hours after, a dolutegravir dose. In summary, dolutegravir is the first of the second generation INSTIs, which exhibits a predictable pharmacokinetic profile and a well-defined exposure-response relationship. Dolutegravir retains activity despite the presence of some class resistant mutations and achieves rapid and sustained virologic suppression in ARV-naïve and -experienced patients. Clinically dolutegravir is poised to become a commonly used component of antiretroviral regimens.
PMCID: PMC3805712  PMID: 23824675
14.  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
15.  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
16.  Identification and Characterization of Persistent Intracellular Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitor Activity▿ †  
Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic considerations significantly impact infectious disease treatment options. One aspect of pharmacodynamics is the postantibiotic effect, classically defined as delayed bacterial growth after antibiotic removal. The same principle can apply to antiviral drugs. For example, significant delays in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication can be observed after nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (N/NtRTI) removal from culture medium, because these prodrugs must be anabolized into active, phosphorylated forms once internalized into cells. A relatively new class of anti-HIV-1 drugs is the integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), and the INSTIs raltegravir (RAL) and elvitegravir (EVG) were tested here alongside positive N/NtRTI controls tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and azidothymidine (AZT), as well as the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor negative control nevirapine (NVP), to assess potential postantiviral effects. Transformed and primary CD4-positive cells pretreated with INSTIs significantly resisted subsequent challenge by HIV-1, revealing the following hierarchy of persistent intracellular drug strength: TDF > EVG ∼ AZT > RAL > NVP. A modified time-of-addition assay was moreover developed to assess residual drug activity levels. Approximately 0.8% of RAL and 2% of initial EVG and TDF 1-h pulse drug levels persisted during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection. EVG furthermore displayed significant virucidal activity. Although there is no reason to suspect obligate intracellular modification, this study nevertheless defines significant intracellular persistence of prototype INSTIs. Ongoing second-generation formulations should therefore consider the potential for significant postantiviral effects among this drug class. Combined intracellular persistence and virucidal activities suggest potential pre-exposure prophylaxis applications for EVG.
PMCID: PMC3019619  PMID: 21060108
17.  Human immunodeficiency virus integrase inhibitors efficiently suppress feline immunodeficiency virus replication in vitro and provide a rationale to redesign antiretroviral treatment for feline AIDS 
Retrovirology  2007;4:79.
Treatment of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection has been hampered by the absence of a specific combination antiretroviral treatment (ART). Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) are emerging as a promising new drug class for HIV-1 treatment, and we evaluated the possibility of inhibiting FIV replication using INSTIs.
Phylogenetic analysis of lentiviral integrase (IN) sequences was carried out using the PAUP* software. A theoretical three-dimensional structure of the FIV IN catalytic core domain (CCD) was obtained by homology modeling based on a crystal structure of HIV-1 IN CCD. The interaction of the transferred strand of viral DNA with the catalytic cavity of FIV IN was deduced from a crystal structure of a structurally similar transposase complexed with transposable DNA. Molecular docking simulations were conducted using a genetic algorithm (GOLD). Antiviral activity was tested in feline lymphoblastoid MBM cells acutely infected with the FIV Petaluma strain. Circular and total proviral DNA was quantified by real-time PCR.
The calculated INSTI-binding sites were found to be nearly identical in FIV and HIV-1 IN CCDs. The close similarity of primate and feline lentivirus IN CCDs was also supported by phylogenetic analysis. In line with these bioinformatic analyses, FIV replication was efficiently inhibited in acutely infected cell cultures by three investigational INSTIs, designed for HIV-1 and belonging to different classes. Of note, the naphthyridine carboxamide INSTI, L-870,810 displayed an EC50 in the low nanomolar range. Inhibition of FIV integration in situ was shown by real-time PCR experiments that revealed accumulation of circular forms of FIV DNA within cells treated with L-870,810.
We report a drug class (other than nucleosidic reverse transcriptase inhibitors) that is capable of inhibiting FIV replication in vitro. The present study helped establish L-870,810, a compound successfully tested in human clinical trials, as one of the most potent anti-FIV agents ever tested in vitro. This finding may provide new avenues for treating FIV infection and contribute to the development of a small animal model mimicking the effects of ART in humans.
PMCID: PMC2244644  PMID: 17971219
18.  Contribution of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Minority Variants to Reduced Drug Susceptibility in Patients on an Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitor-Based Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104512.
The role of HIV-1 minority variants on transmission, pathogenesis, and virologic failure to antiretroviral regimens has been explored; however, most studies of low-level HIV-1 drug-resistant variants have focused in single target regions. Here we used a novel HIV-1 genotypic assay based on deep sequencing, DEEPGEN (Gibson et al 2014 Antimicrob Agents Chemother 58∶2167) to simultaneously analyze the presence of minority variants carrying mutations associated with reduced susceptibility to protease (PR), reverse transcriptase (RT), and integrase strand transfer integrase inhibitors (INSTIs), as well as HIV-1 coreceptor tropism. gag-p2/NCp7/p1/p6/pol-PR/RT/INT and env/C2V3 PCR products were obtained from twelve heavily treatment-experienced patients experiencing virologic failure while participating in a 48-week dose-ranging study of elvitegravir (GS-US-183-0105). Deep sequencing results were compared with (i) virological response to treatment, (ii) genotyping based on population sequencing, (iii) phenotyping data using PhenoSense and VIRALARTS, and (iv) HIV-1 coreceptor tropism based on the phenotypic test VERITROP. Most patients failed the antiretroviral regimen with numerous pre-existing mutations in the PR and RT, and additionally newly acquired INSTI-resistance mutations as determined by population sequencing (mean 9.4, 5.3, and 1.4 PI- RTI-, and INSTI-resistance mutations, respectively). Interestingly, since DEEPGEN allows the accurate detection of amino acid substitutions at frequencies as low as 1% of the population, a series of additional drug resistance mutations were detected by deep sequencing (mean 2.5, 1.5, and 0.9, respectively). The presence of these low-abundance HIV-1 variants was associated with drug susceptibility, replicative fitness, and coreceptor tropism determined using sensitive phenotypic assays, enhancing the overall burden of resistance to all four antiretroviral drug classes. Further longitudinal studies based on deep sequencing tests will help to clarify (i) the potential impact of minority HIV-1 drug resistant variants in response to antiretroviral therapy and (ii) the importance of the detection of HIV minority variants in the clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4128663  PMID: 25110880
19.  Emerging integrase inhibitor resistance mutations in raltegravir-treated HIV-1-infected patients with low-level viremia 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(5):665-669.
The emergence of integrase strand-transfer inhibitor (INSTI) resistance-associated mutations was examined in patients with low-level viremia after switching from enfuvirtide to raltegravir in the ANRS 138-Easier trial.
Integrase genes of plasma virus from raltegravir-treated patients in the Easier trial with low-level viremia (50–500 copies/ml) were sequenced to determine INSTI resistance-associated mutations. Baseline viral load, baseline and nadir CD4 cell count, antiretroviral treatment, genotypic susceptibility score, level of viremia and degree of treatment adherence during the study period were also analyzed.
Forty-nine patients experienced at least one episode of low-level viremia while receiving raltegravir; integrase genotyping was successful in samples from 39 individuals (80%). Among them, three [7.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6–20.9%] had significant INSTI resistance mutations consisting of N155H in two and P145S in one.
Absence of these mutations from proviral DNA at baseline suggested selection of INSTI resistance during episodes of low-level viremia. No specific factors significantly associated with emergence of INSTI resistance mutations during low-level viremia were identified.
Emergence of INSTI resistance mutations can occur during episodes of low-level viremia in patients receiving raltegravir-containing regimens.
PMCID: PMC3265637  PMID: 21326075
HIV-1; integrase inhibitor; low-level viremia; raltegravir; resistance mutation; treatment experienced
20.  Resistance Analyses of Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors within Phase 3 Clinical Trials of Treatment-Naive Patients 
Viruses  2014;6(7):2858-2879.
The integrase (IN) strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), raltegravir (RAL), elvitegravir (EVG) and dolutegravir (DTG), comprise the newest drug class approved for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, which joins the existing classes of reverse transcriptase, protease and binding/entry inhibitors. The efficacy of first-line regimens has attained remarkably high levels, reaching undetectable viral loads in 90% of patients by Week 48; however, there remain patients who require a change in regimen due to adverse events, virologic failure with emergent resistance or other issues of patient management. Large, randomized clinical trials conducted in antiretroviral treatment-naive individuals are required for drug approval in this population in the US, EU and other countries, with the primary endpoint for virologic success at Week 48. However, there are differences in the definition of virologic failure and the evaluation of drug resistance among the trials. This review focuses on the methodology and tabulation of resistance to INSTIs in phase 3 clinical trials of first-line regimens and discusses case studies of resistance.
PMCID: PMC4113796  PMID: 25054884
HIV; drug resistance; integrase; clinical trial
21.  Bicyclic 1-Hydroxy-2-oxo-1,2-dihydropyridine-3-carboxamide-Containing HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitors Having High Antiviral Potency against Cells Harboring Raltegravir-Resistant Integrase Mutants 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(4):1573-1582.
Integrase (IN) inhibitors are the newest class of antiretroviral agents developed for the treatment of HIV-1 infections. Merck’s Raltegravir (RAL) (October 2007) and Gilead’s Elvitegravir (EVG) (August 2012), which act as IN strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), were the first anti-IN drugs to be approved by the FDA. However, the virus develops resistance to both RAL and EVG, and there is extensive cross-resistance to these two drugs. New “2nd-generation” INSTIs are needed that will have greater efficacy against RAL- and EVG-resistant strains of IN. The FDA has recently approved the first second generation INSTI, GSK’s Dolutegravir (DTG) (August 2013). Our current article describes the design, synthesis, and evaluation of a series of 1,8-dihydroxy-2-oxo-1,2-dihydroquinoline-3-carboxamides, 1,4-dihydroxy-2-oxo-1,2-dihydro-1,8-naphthyridine-3-carboxamides, and 1-hydroxy-2-oxo-1,2-dihydro-1,8-naphthyridine-3-carboxamides. This resulted in the identification of noncytotoxic inhibitors that exhibited single digit nanomolar EC50 values against HIV-1 vectors harboring wild-type IN in cell-based assays. Importantly, some of these new inhibitors retain greater antiviral efficacy compared to that of RAL when tested against a panel of IN mutants that included Y143R, N155H, G140S/Q148H, G118R, and E138K/Q148K.
PMCID: PMC3983366  PMID: 24471816
22.  Dolutegravir: clinical efficacy and role in HIV therapy 
The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) integrase enzyme has recently emerged as a primary alternative target to block viral replication, and integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) are now considered an alternative ‘third agent’ class of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. Dolutegravir is the first next-generation INSTI showing some novel and intriguing characteristics: it has a favorable pharmacokinetic profile with a prolonged intracellular halflife, rendering feasible a once daily dosing without the need for pharmacokinetic boosting. Secondly, it is largely metabolized via uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase-1A1 with a minor component of cytochrome P450 isoforms, thus allowing a low grade of drug–drug interactions, so that its metabolic profile consents co-administration with the majority of the other ARV drugs without dose adjustments. Lastly, but no less important, virological studies have clearly demonstrated that dolutegravir has a significant activity against HIV-1 isolates showing raltegravir and/or elvitegravir associated resistance mutations. The attributes of once daily administration and the potential to treat INSTI-resistant viruses make dolutegravir an interesting and promising new agent in the treatment of both naïve and experienced HIV-1 subjects. In this review, the main concerns on dolutegravir efficacy are focused through the analysis of the currently available data from clinical studies in naïve and experienced patients, evaluating its possible place within the anti-HIV-1 drug armamentarium. The development of newer once daily, single tablet coformulations improved drug adherence and maximized the success of ARV therapy. Pharmacokinetic studies and dose-ranging trials suggested that dolutegravir is a good candidate for a single tablet regimen in one or more new coformulated pills that will be available in the near future.
PMCID: PMC4049127  PMID: 24982751
antiretroviral drugs; dolutegravir; HIV-1; integrase inhibitors; once-daily dosing
23.  Unprocessed Viral DNA Could Be the Primary Target of the HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitor Raltegravir 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40223.
Integration of HIV DNA into host chromosome requires a 3′-processing (3′-P) and a strand transfer (ST) reactions catalyzed by virus integrase (IN). Raltegravir (RAL), commonly used in AIDS therapy, belongs to the family of IN ST inhibitors (INSTIs) acting on IN-viral DNA complexes (intasomes). However, studies show that RAL fails to bind IN alone, but nothing has been reported on the behaviour of RAL toward free viral DNA. Here, we assessed whether free viral DNA could be a primary target for RAL, assuming that the DNA molecule is a receptor for a huge number of pharmacological agents. Optical spectroscopy, molecular dynamics and free energy calculations, showed that RAL is a tight binder of both processed and unprocessed LTR (long terminal repeat) ends. Complex formation involved mainly van der Waals forces and was enthalpy driven. Dissociation constants (Kds) revealed that RAL affinity for unbound LTRs was stronger than for bound LTRs. Moreover, Kd value for binding of RAL to LTRs and IC50 value (half concentration for inhibition) were in same range, suggesting that RAL binding to DNA and ST inhibition are correlated events. Accommodation of RAL into terminal base-pairs of unprocessed LTR is facilitated by an extensive end fraying that lowers the RAL binding energy barrier. The RAL binding entails a weak damping of fraying and correlatively of 3′-P inhibition. Noteworthy, present calculated RAL structures bound to free viral DNA resemble those found in RAL-intasome crystals, especially concerning the contacts between the fluorobenzyl group and the conserved 5′C4pA33′ step. We propose that RAL inhibits IN, in binding first unprocessed DNA. Similarly to anticancer drug poisons acting on topoisomerases, its interaction with DNA does not alter the cut, but blocks the subsequent joining reaction. We also speculate that INSTIs having viral DNA rather IN as main target could induce less resistance.
PMCID: PMC3388078  PMID: 22768342
24.  Patterns of resistance development with integrase inhibitors in HIV 
Raltegravir, the only integrase (IN) inhibitor approved for use in HIV therapy, has recently been licensed. Raltegravir inhibits HIV-1 replication by blocking the IN strand transfer reaction. More than 30 mutations have been associated with resistance to raltegravir and other IN strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs). The majority of the mutations are located in the vicinity of the IN active site within the catalytic core domain which is also the binding pocket for INSTIs. High-level resistance to INSTIs primarily involves three independent mutations at residues Q148, N155, and Y143. The mutations significantly affect replication capacity of the virus and are often accompanied by other mutations that either improve replication fitness and/or increase resistance to the inhibitors. The pattern of development of INSTI resistance mutations has been extensively studied in vitro and in vivo. This has been augmented by cell-based phenotypic studies and investigation of the mechanisms of resistance using biochemical assays. The recent elucidation of the structure of the prototype foamy virus IN, which is closely related to HIV-1, in complex with INSTIs has greatly enhanced our understanding of the evolution and mechanisms of IN drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC3108751  PMID: 21694910
raltegravir; elvitegravir; integrase inhibitors; HIV; drug resistance
25.  Small-Molecule Inhibitors of the LEDGF/p75 Binding Site of Integrase Block HIV Replication and Modulate Integrase Multimerization 
Targeting the HIV integrase (HIV IN) is a clinically validated approach for designing novel anti-HIV therapies. We have previously described the discovery of a novel class of integration inhibitors, 2-(quinolin-3-yl)acetic acid derivatives, blocking HIV replication at a low micromolar concentration through binding in the LEDGF/p75 binding pocket of HIV integrase, hence referred to as LEDGINs. Here we report the detailed characterization of their mode of action. The design of novel and more potent analogues with nanomolar activity enabled full virological evaluation and a profound mechanistic study. As allosteric inhibitors, LEDGINs bind to the LEDGF/p75 binding pocket in integrase, thereby blocking the interaction with LEDGF/p75 and interfering indirectly with the catalytic activity of integrase. Detailed mechanism-of-action studies reveal that the allosteric mode of inhibition is likely caused by an effect on HIV-1 integrase oligomerization. The multimodal inhibition by LEDGINs results in a block in HIV integration and in a replication deficiency of progeny virus. The allosteric nature of LEDGINs leads to synergy in combination with the clinically approved active site HIV IN strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) raltegravir, and cross-resistance profiling proves the distinct mode of action of LEDGINs and INSTIs. The allosteric nature of inhibition and compatibility with INSTIs underline an interest in further (clinical) development of LEDGINs.
PMCID: PMC3421592  PMID: 22664975

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