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1.  Basis for Early and Preferential Selection of the E138K Mutation in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(10):4681-4688.
E138K, a G→A mutation in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), is preferentially selected by etravirine (ETR) and rilpivirine over other substitutions at position E138 that offer greater drug resistance. We hypothesized that there was a mutational bias for the E138K substitution and designed an allele-specific PCR to monitor the emergence of E138A/G/K/Q/R/V during ETR selection experiments. We also performed competition experiments using mutated viruses and quantified the prevalence of E138 minority species in drug-naive patients. E138K, as well as E138G, consistently emerged first during ETR selection experiments, followed by E138A and E138Q; E138R was never selected. Surprisingly, E138K was identified as a tiny minority in 23% of drug-naive subtype B patients, a result confirmed by ultradeep sequencing (UDS). This result could reflect a low fitness cost of E138K; however, E138K was one of the least fit substitutions at codon E138, even after taking into account the deoxynucleoside triphosphate pools of the cells used in competition experiments. Further UDS analysis revealed other minority species in a pattern consistent with the mutational bias of HIV RT. There was no evidence of APOBEC3-hypermutation in these selection experiments or in patients. Our results confirm the mutational bias of HIV-1 in patients and highlight the importance of G→A mutations in HIV-1 drug resistance evolution.
PMCID: PMC3811420  PMID: 23856772
2.  Effect of Mutations at Position E138 in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase and Their Interactions with the M184I Mutation on Defining Patterns of Resistance to Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors Rilpivirine and Etravirine 
Impacts of mutations at position E138 (A/G/K/Q/R/V) alone or in combination with M184I in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) were investigated. We also determined why E138K is the most prevalent nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor mutation in patients failing rilpivirine (RPV) therapy. Recombinant RT enzymes and viruses containing each of the above-mentioned mutations were generated, and drug susceptibility was assayed. Each of the E138A/G/K/Q/R mutations, alone or in combination with M184I, resulted in decreased susceptibility to RPV and etravirine (ETR). The maximum decrease in susceptibility to RPV was observed for E138/R/Q/G by both recombinant RT assay and cell-based assays. E138Q/R-containing enzymes and viruses also showed the most marked decrease in susceptibility to ETR by both assays. The addition of M184I to the E138 mutations did not significantly change the levels of diminution in drug susceptibility. These findings indicate that E138R caused the highest level of loss of susceptibility to both RPV and ETR, and, accordingly, E138R should be recognized as an ETR resistance-associated mutation. The E138K/Q/R mutations can compensate for M184I in regard to both enzymatic fitness and viral replication capacity. The favored emergence of E138K over other mutations at position E138, together with M184I, is not due to an advantage in either the level of drug resistance or viral replication capacity but may reflect the fact that E138R and E138Q require two distinct mutations to occur, one of which is a disfavorable G-to-C mutation, whereas E138K requires only a single favorable G-to-A hypermutation. Of course, other factors may also affect the concept of barrier to resistance.
PMCID: PMC3697388  PMID: 23612196
3.  Molecular Mechanism of Antagonism between the Y181C and E138K Mutations in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):12983-12990.
Etravirine (ETR) is an expanded-spectrum nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) approved for use as an antiretroviral agent in treatment-experienced patients. Y181C and E138K in HIV-1 RT are among 20 different drug resistance mutations associated with ETR. However, E138K can be consistently selected by ETR when wild-type viruses but not viruses containing Y181C are grown in tissue culture. This study was carried out to evaluate any possible mechanisms that might explain antagonism between the Y181C and E138K mutations. Accordingly, we performed tissue culture studies to investigate the evolutionary dynamics of E138K in both a wild-type (WT) and a Y181C background. We also generated recombinant enzymes containing Y181C and E138K alone or in combination in order to study enzyme processivity, rates of processive DNA synthesis, enzyme kinetics, and susceptibility to ETR. We now show that the presence of the Y181C mutation prevented the emergence of E138K in cell culture and that the simultaneous presence of E138K and Y181C impaired each of enzyme activity, processivity, rate of processive DNA synthesis, and deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) affinity. The addition of E138K to Y181C also decreased the level of resistance to ETR compared to that obtained with Y181C alone.
PMCID: PMC3497622  PMID: 22993165
4.  Maraviroc and Other HIV-1 Entry Inhibitors Exhibit a Class-Specific Redistribution Effect That Results in Increased Extracellular Viral Load 
HIV entry inhibitors, such as maraviroc (MVC), prevent cell-free viruses from entering the cells. In clinical trials, patients who were treated with MVC often displayed viral loads that were above the limit of conventional viral load detection compared to efavirenz-based regimens. We hypothesize that viruses blocked by entry inhibitors may be redistributed to plasma, where they artificially increase viral load measurements compared to those with the use of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that act intracellularly. We infected PM-1 cells with CCR5-tropic HIV-1 BaL or CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 NL4-3 in the presence of inhibitory concentrations of efavirenz, raltegravir, enfuvirtide, maraviroc, and AMD3100, the latter three being entry inhibitors. Supernatant viral load, reverse transcriptase enzyme activity, and intracellular nucleic acid levels were measured at times up to 24 h postinfection. Infectivity of redistributed dual-tropic HIV-1 was assessed using TZM-bl cells. Extracellular viral load analysis revealed that entry inhibitor-treated cells had higher levels of virus in the supernatant than the cells treated with other ARVs at 8 h postinfection. By 24 h, the supernatant viral load was still higher for entry inhibitors than other ARVs. We observed a correlation between viral load and the step of entry inhibition. Dual-tropic virus infectivity was undiminished utilizing the CCR5 coreceptor following redistribution by CXCR4 entry inhibition. This in vitro model indicates that entry inhibitors exhibit a redistribution effect unseen with intracellular ARV drugs. Based on these results, the effectiveness of some entry inhibitors may be underestimated if plasma viral load is used as a sole indicator of clinical success.
PMCID: PMC3421589  PMID: 22615275
5.  HIV gp120 H375 Is Unique to HIV-1 Subtype CRF01_AE and Confers Strong Resistance to the Entry Inhibitor BMS-599793, a Candidate Microbicide Drug 
BMS-599793 is a small molecule entry inhibitor that binds to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120, resulting in the inhibition of CD4-dependent entry into cells. Since BMS-599793 is currently considered a candidate microbicide drug, we evaluated its efficacy against a number of primary patient HIV isolates from different subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) and showed that activity varied between ∼3 ρM and 7 μM at 50% effective concentrations (EC50s). Interestingly, CRF01_AE HIV-1 isolates consistently demonstrated natural resistance against this compound. Genotypic analysis of >1,600 sequences (Los Alamos HIV sequence database) indicated that a single amino acid polymorphism in Env, H375, may account for the observed BMS-599793 resistance in CRF01_AE HIV-1. Results of site-directed mutagenesis experiments confirmed this hypothesis, and in silico drug docking simulations identified a drug resistance mechanism at the molecular level. In addition, CRF01_AE viruses were shown to be resistant to multiple broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. Thus, our results not only provide insight into how Env polymorphisms may contribute to entry inhibitor resistance but also may help to elucidate how HIV can evade some broadly neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, the high frequency of H375 in CRF01_AE HIV-1, and its apparent nonoccurrence in other subtypes, could serve as a means for rapid identification of CRF01_AE infections.
PMCID: PMC3421599  PMID: 22615295
6.  Subunit-Selective Mutational Analysis and Tissue Culture Evaluations of the Interactions of the E138K and M184I Mutations in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(16):8422-8431.
The emergence of HIV-1 drug resistance remains a major obstacle in antiviral therapy. M184I/V and E138K are signature mutations of clinical relevance in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) for the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (FTC) and the second-generation (new) nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine (RPV), respectively, and the E138K mutation has also been shown to be selected by etravirine in cell culture. The E138K mutation was recently shown to compensate for the low enzyme processivity and viral fitness associated with the M184I/V mutations through enhanced deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) usage, while the M184I/V mutations compensated for defects in polymerization rates associated with the E138K mutations under conditions of high dNTP concentrations. The M184I mutation was also shown to enhance resistance to RPV and ETR when present together with the E138K mutation. These mutual compensatory effects might also enhance transmission rates of viruses containing these two mutations. Therefore, we performed tissue culture studies to investigate the evolutionary dynamics of these viruses. Through experiments in which E138K-containing viruses were selected with 3TC-FTC and in which M184I/V viruses were selected with ETR, we demonstrated that ETR was able to select for the E138K mutation in viruses containing the M184I/V mutations and that the M184I/V mutations consistently emerged when E138K viruses were selected with 3TC-FTC. We also performed biochemical subunit-selective mutational analyses to investigate the impact of the E138K mutation on RT function and interactions with the M184I mutation. We now show that the E138K mutation decreased rates of polymerization, impaired RNase H activity, and conferred ETR resistance through the p51 subunit of RT, while an enhancement of dNTP usage as a result of the simultaneous presence of both mutations E138K and M184I occurred via both subunits.
PMCID: PMC3421741  PMID: 22623801
7.  Characterization of the R263K Mutation in HIV-1 Integrase That Confers Low-Level Resistance to the Second-Generation Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitor Dolutegravir 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(5):2696-2705.
Integrase (IN) strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) have been developed to inhibit the ability of HIV-1 integrase to irreversibly link the reverse-transcribed viral DNA to the host genome. INSTIs have proven their high efficiency in inhibiting viral replication in vitro and in patients. However, first-generation INSTIs have only a modest genetic barrier to resistance, allowing the virus to escape these powerful drugs through several resistance pathways. Second-generation INSTIs, such as dolutegravir (DTG, S/GSK1349572), have been reported to have a higher resistance barrier, and no novel drug resistance mutation has yet been described for this drug. Therefore, we performed in vitro selection experiments with DTG using viruses of subtypes B, C, and A/G and showed that the most common mutation to emerge was R263K. Further analysis by site-directed mutagenesis showed that R263K does confer low-level resistance to DTG and decreased integration in cell culture without altering reverse transcription. Biochemical cell-free assays performed with purified IN enzyme containing R263K confirmed the absence of major resistance against DTG and showed a slight decrease in 3′ processing and strand transfer activities compared to the wild type. Structural modeling suggested and in vitro IN-DNA binding assays show that the R263K mutation affects IN-DNA interactions.
PMCID: PMC3302270  PMID: 22205735
8.  In Vitro Resistance Profile of the Candidate HIV-1 Microbicide Drug Dapivirine 
Antiretroviral-based microbicides may offer a means to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV-1. Suboptimal use of a microbicide may, however, lead to the development of drug resistance in users that are already, or become, infected with HIV-1. In such cases, the efficacy of treatments may be compromised since the same (or similar) antiretrovirals used in treatments are being developed as microbicides. To help predict which drug resistance mutations may develop in the context of suboptimal use, HIV-1 primary isolates of different subtypes and different baseline resistance profiles were used to infect primary cells in vitro in the presence of increasing suboptimal concentrations of the two candidate microbicide antiretrovirals dapivirine (DAP) and tenofovir (TFV) alone or in combination. Infections were ongoing for 25 weeks, after which reverse transcriptase genotypes were determined and scrutinized for the presence of any clinically recognized reverse transcriptase drug resistance mutations. Results indicated that suboptimal concentrations of DAP alone facilitated the emergence of common nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance mutations, while suboptimal concentrations of DAP plus TFV gave rise to fewer mutations. Suboptimal concentrations of TFV alone did not frequently result in the development of resistance mutations. Sensitivity evaluations for stavudine (d4T), nevirapine (NVP), and lamivudine (3TC) revealed that the selection of resistance as a consequence of suboptimal concentrations of DAP may compromise the potential for NVP to be used in treatment, a finding of potential relevance in developing countries.
PMCID: PMC3264246  PMID: 22123692
9.  Compensation by the E138K Mutation in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase for Deficits in Viral Replication Capacity and Enzyme Processivity Associated with the M184I/V Mutations▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(21):11300-11308.
Recently, several phase 3 clinical trials (ECHO and THRIVE) showed that E138K and M184I were the most frequent mutations to emerge in patients who failed therapy with rilpivirine (RPV) together with two nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir (TDF). To investigate the basis for the copresence of E138K and M184I, we generated recombinant mutated and wild-type (WT) reverse transcriptase (RT) enzymes and HIV-1NL4-3 infectious clones. Drug susceptibilities were determined in cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs). Structural modeling was performed to analyze any impact on deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) binding. The results of phenotyping showed that viruses containing both the E138K and M184V mutations were more resistant to each of FTC, 3TC, and ETR than viruses containing E138K and M184I. Viruses with E138K displayed only modest resistance to ETR, little resistance to efavirenz (EFV), and no resistance to either FTC or 3TC. E138K restored viral replication capacity (RC) in the presence of M184I/V, and this was confirmed in cell-free RT processivity assays. RT enzymes containing E138K, E138K/184I, or E138K/184V exhibited higher processivity than WT RT at low dNTP concentrations. Steady-state kinetic analysis demonstrated that the E138K mutation resulted in decreased Kms for dNTPs. In contrast, M184I/V resulted in an increased Km for dNTPs compared to those for WT RT. These results indicate that the E138K mutation compensates for both the deficit in dNTP usage and impairment in replication capacity by M184I/V. Structural modeling shows that the addition of E138K to M184I/V promotes tighter dNTP binding.
PMCID: PMC3194954  PMID: 21849444
10.  Characterization of the E138K Resistance Mutation in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Conferring Susceptibility to Etravirine in B and Non-B HIV-1 Subtypes ▿  
We have selected for resistance to etravirine (ETR) and efavirenz (EFV) in tissue culture using three subtype B, three subtype C, and two CRF02_AG clinical isolates, grown in cord blood mononuclear cells. Genotypic analysis was performed at baseline and at various weeks of selection. Phenotypic resistance in regard to ETR, EFV, and nevirapine (NVP) was evaluated at weeks 25 to 30 for all ETR-selected viruses and in viral clones that contained specific resistance mutations that were inserted by site-directed mutagenesis into pNL-4.3 and AG plasmids. The results show that ETR selected mutations at positions V90I, K101Q, E138K, V179D/E/F, Y181C, V189I, G190E, H221H/Y, and M230L and that E138K was the first of these to emerge in most instances. The time to the emergence of resistance was longer in the case of ETR (18 weeks) compared to EFV (11 weeks), and no differences in the patterns of emergent mutations could be documented between the B and non-B subtypes. Viral clones containing E138K displayed low-level phenotypic resistance to ETR (3.8-fold) and modestly impaired replication capacity (2-fold) compared to wild-type virus. ETR-selected virus showed a high degree of cross-resistance to NVP but not to EFV. We identified K101Q, E138K, V179E, V189I, G190E, and H221Y as mutations not included among the 17 currently recognized resistance-associated mutations for ETR.
PMCID: PMC3028807  PMID: 21135184
11.  A Template-Dependent Dislocation Mechanism Potentiates K65R Reverse Transcriptase Mutation Development in Subtype C Variants of HIV-1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20208.
Numerous studies have suggested that the K65R reverse transcriptase (RT) mutation develops more readily in subtype C than subtype B HIV-1. We recently showed that this discrepancy lies partly in the subtype C template coding sequence that predisposes RT to pause at the site of K65R mutagenesis. However, the mechanism underlying this observation and the elevated rates of K65R development remained unknown. Here, we report that DNA synthesis performed with subtype C templates consistently produced more K65R-containing transcripts than subtype B templates, regardless of the subtype-origin of the RT enzymes employed. These findings confirm that the mechanism involved is template-specific and RT-independent. In addition, a pattern of DNA synthesis characteristic of site-specific primer/template slippage and dislocation was only observed with the subtype C sequence. Analysis of RNA secondary structure suggested that the latter was unlikely to impact on K65R development between subtypes and that Streisinger strand slippage during DNA synthesis at the homopolymeric nucleotide stretch of the subtype C K65 region might occur, resulting in misalignment of the primer and template. Consequently, slippage would lead to a deletion of the middle adenine of codon K65 and the production of a -1 frameshift mutation, which upon dislocation and realignment of the primer and template, would lead to development of the K65R mutation. These findings provide additional mechanistic evidence for the facilitated development of the K65R mutation in subtype C HIV-1.
PMCID: PMC3105016  PMID: 21655292
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.  HIV-1 Protease Codon 36 Polymorphisms and Differential Development of Resistance to Nelfinavir, Lopinavir, and Atazanavir in Different HIV-1 Subtypes▿  
The amino acid at position 36 of the HIV-1 protease differs among various viral subtypes, in that methionine is usually found in subtype B viruses but isoleucine is common in other subtypes. This polymorphism is associated with higher rates of treatment failure involving protease inhibitors (PIs) in non-subtype B-infected patients. To investigate this, we generated genetically homogeneous wild-type viruses from subtype B, subtype C, and CRF02_AG full-length molecular clones and showed that subtype C and CRF02_AG I36 viruses exhibited higher levels of resistance to various PIs than their respective M36 counterparts, while the opposite was observed for subtype B viruses. Selections for resistance with each variant were performed with nelfinavir (NFV), lopinavir (LPV), and atazanavir (ATV). Sequence analysis of the protease gene at week 35 revealed that the major NFV resistance mutation D30N emerged in NFV-selected subtype B viruses and in I36 subtype C viruses, despite polymorphic variation. A unique mutational pattern developed in subtype C M36 viruses selected with NFV or ATV. The presence of I47A in LPV-selected I36 CRF02_AG virus conferred higher-level resistance than L76V in LPV-selected M36 CRF02_AG virus. Phenotypic analysis revealed a >1,000-fold increase in NFV resistance in I36 subtype C NFV-selected virus with no apparent impact on viral replication capacity. Thus, the position 36 polymorphism in the HIV-1 protease appears to have a differential effect on both drug susceptibility and the viral replication capacity, depending on both the viral subtype and the drug being evaluated.
PMCID: PMC2897293  PMID: 20404123
14.  The M230L Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Resistance Mutation in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Impairs Enzymatic Function and Viral Replicative Capacity▿  
The M230L mutation in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) is associated with resistance to first-generation nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). The present study was designed to determine the effects of M230L on enzyme function, viral replication capacity (RC), and the extent to which M230L might confer resistance to the second-generation NNRTI etravirine (ETR) as well as to the first-generation NNRTIs efavirenz (EFV) and nevirapine (NVP). Phenotyping assays with TZM-bl cells confirmed that M230L conferred various degrees of resistance to each of the NNRTIs tested. Recombinant viruses containing M230L displayed an 8-fold decrease in RC compared to that of the parental wild-type (WT) virus. Recombinant HIV-1 WT and M230L mutant RT enzymes were purified; and both biochemical and cell-based phenotypic assays confirmed that M230L conferred resistance to each of EFV, NVP, and ETR. RT that contained M230L was also deficient in regard to each of minus-strand DNA synthesis, both DNA- and RNA-dependent polymerase activities, processivity, and RNase H activity, suggesting that this mutation contributes to diminished viral replication kinetics.
PMCID: PMC2876396  PMID: 20308384
15.  Comparative biochemical analysis of recombinant reverse transcriptase enzymes of HIV-1 subtype B and subtype C 
Retrovirology  2010;7:80.
HIV-1 subtype C infections account for over half of global HIV infections, yet the vast focus of HIV-1 research has been on subtype B viruses which represent less than 12% of the global pandemic. Since HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) is a major target of antiviral therapy, and since differential drug resistance pathways have been observed among different HIV subtypes, it is important to study and compare the enzymatic activities of HIV-1 RT derived from each of subtypes B and C as well as to determine the susceptibilities of these enzymes to various RT inhibitors in biochemical assays.
Recombinant subtype B and C HIV-1 RTs in heterodimeric form were purified from Escherichia coli and enzyme activities were compared in cell-free assays. The efficiency of (-) ssDNA synthesis was measured using gel-based assays with HIV-1 PBS RNA template and tRNA3Lys as primer. Processivity was assayed under single-cycle conditions using both homopolymeric and heteropolymeric RNA templates. Intrinsic RNase H activity was compared using 5'-end labeled RNA template annealed to 3'-end recessed DNA primer in a time course study in the presence and absence of a heparin trap. A mis-incorporation assay was used to assess the fidelity of the two RT enzymes. Drug susceptibility assays were performed both in cell-free assays using recombinant enzymes and in cell culture phenotyping assays.
The comparative biochemical analyses of recombinant subtype B and subtype C HIV-1 reverse transcriptase indicate that the two enzymes are very similar biochemically in efficiency of tRNA-primed (-) ssDNA synthesis, processivity, fidelity and RNase H activity, and that both enzymes show similar susceptibilities to commonly used NRTIs and NNRTIs. Cell culture phenotyping assays confirmed these results.
Overall enzyme activity and drug susceptibility of HIV-1 subtype C RT are comparable to those of subtype B RT. The use of RT inhibitors (RTIs) against these two HIV-1 enzymes should have comparable effects.
PMCID: PMC2959035  PMID: 20929562
16.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Recombinant Reverse Transcriptase Enzymes Containing the G190A and Y181C Resistance Mutations Remain Sensitive to Etravirine▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2009;53(11):4667-4672.
Etravirine (ETR) is a second-generation nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor (NNRTI) active against common human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug-resistant strains. This study was designed to determine the extent to which each of the Y181C or G190A mutations in RT might confer resistance to ETR and other members of the NNRTI family of drugs. Recombinant HIV-1 RT enzymes containing either the Y181C or the G190A mutation, or both mutations in tandem, were purified. Both RNA- and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase assays were performed in order to determine the extent to which each of these mutations might confer resistance in cell-free biochemical assays against each of ETR, efavirenz, and nevirapine. Both the biochemical and the cell-based phenotypic assays confirmed the susceptibility of G190A-containing enzymes and viruses to ETR. The results of this study indicate that the G190A mutation is not associated with resistance to ETR.
PMCID: PMC2772356  PMID: 19704127
17.  Transmission Networks of Drug Resistance Acquired in Primary/Early Stage HIV Infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(18):2509-2515.
Population-based sequencing of primary/recent HIV infections (PHI) can provide a framework for understanding transmission dynamics of local epidemics. In Quebec, half of PHI represent clustered transmission events. This study ascertained the cumulative implications of clustering on onward transmission of drug resistance.
HIV-1 pol sequence datasets were available for all genotyped PHI (<6 months post-seroconversion (n=848 subtype B infections, 1997-2007). Phylogenetic analysis established clustered transmission events, based on maximum likelihood topologies having high bootstrap values (>98%) and short genetic distances. The distributions of resistance to nucleoside and non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NRTIs and NNRTIs) and protease inhibitors (PIs) in unique and clustered transmissions were ascertained.
Episodic clustering was observed in half of recent/early stage infections from 1997-2008. Overall, 29% and 28% of new infections segregated into small (<5 PHI/cluster, n=242/848) and large transmission chains (≥5 PHI/cluster, n=239/848), averaging 2.8 ± 0.1 PHI/cluster and 10.3 ± 1.0 PHI/cluster, respectively. The transmission of nucleoside analogue mutations and 215 resistant variants (T215C/D/I/F/N/S/Y) declined with clustering (7.9% vs. 3.4% vs. 1.2% and 5.8% vs. 1.7% vs. 1.1% for unique, small and large clustered transmissions, respectively). In contrast, clustering was associated with the increased transmission of viruses harbouring resistance to NNRTIs (6.6% vs. 6.0% vs. 15.5%, respectively).
Clustering in early/PHI stage infection differentially affects transmission of drug resistance to different drug classes. Public health, prevention and diagnostic strategies, targeting PHI, afford a unique opportunity to curb the spread of transmitted drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC2650396  PMID: 19005274
18.  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
19.  Apricitabine Does Not Select Additional Drug Resistance Mutations in Tissue Culture in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Variants Containing K65R, M184V, or M184V plus Thymidine Analogue Mutations▿  
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 containing the reverse transcriptase mutation M184V or K65R or mutations M41L, M184V, and T215Y did not accumulate additional resistance mutations in the reverse transcriptase when increasing amounts of apricitabine drug pressure were applied. The original mutations were maintained by the presence of apricitabine but were lost when cultured without drug pressure.
PMCID: PMC2663123  PMID: 19223637
20.  Detection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Type 1 M184V and K103N Minority Variants in Patients with Primary HIV Infection▿  
We used an allele-specific real-time PCR assay to explore the presence of K103N and M184V minority species among primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and their potential influence in HIV transmission. Thirty randomly chosen antiretroviral drug-naive patients lacking both the K103N and the M184V mutations as determined by conventional sequencing methods were studied, and K103N and M184V viral minority species were found in three (10%) and four (11%) patients, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2663097  PMID: 19171798
22.  Template Usage Is Responsible for the Preferential Acquisition of the K65R Reverse Transcriptase Mutation in Subtype C Variants of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1▿ † 
Journal of Virology  2008;83(4):2029-2033.
We propose that a nucleotide template-based mechanism facilitates the acquisition of the K65R mutation in subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Different patterns of DNA synthesis were observed using DNA templates from viruses of subtype B or C origin. When subtype C reverse transcriptase (RT) was employed to synthesize DNA from subtype C DNA templates, preferential pausing was seen at the nucleotide position responsible for the AAG-to-AGG K65R mutation. This did not occur when the subtype B RT and template were used. Template factors can therefore increase the probability of K65R development in subtype C HIV-1.
PMCID: PMC2643749  PMID: 19073730
23.  Nucleoside and Nucleotide Analogs Select in Culture for Different Patterns of Drug Resistance in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Types 1 and 2 ▿ †  
Recent findings suggest bidirectional antagonisms between the K65R mutation and thymidine analogue mutations in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected, treatment-experienced patients, yet little is known about HIV-2 in this regard. This study addressed the effects of innate polymorphisms in HIV-2 on emergent resistance to nucleoside/nucleotide analogues. Emergent drug resistance profiles in HIV-2 subtypes A (n = 3) and B (n = 1) were compared to those of HIV-1 subtypes B and C. Drug resistance was evaluated with cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) and MT2 cells, using selective pressure with tenofovir (TFV), zidovudine (ZDV), stavudine (d4T), didanosine (ddI), abacavir (ABC), lamivudine (3TC), emtricitabine (FTC), or various dual-drug combinations. Resistance was evaluated using conventional and ultrasensitive sequencing approaches. In agreement with our previous findings, dual-drug combinations of TFV, ddI, ABC, d4T, ZDV, and 3TC preferentially selected for K65R in HIV-1 subtype C isolates. In HIV-1 subtype B, TFV-3TC and ZDV-3TC selected for M184I and D67N, respectively. In contrast, selections with all four HIV-2 cultures favored the development of M184I in dual-drug combinations that included either 3TC or FTC. Since HIV-2 cultures did not develop K65R, an ultrasensitive allele-specific real-time PCR assay was developed to distinguish the presence of 65R from wild-type K65 after 16 cycles with a discriminatory ability of 0.1% against a population of wild-type virus. These results underscore potential differences in emergent drug resistance pathways in HIV-1 and HIV-2 and show that polymorphisms may influence the development of the resistance pathways that are likely to emerge.
PMCID: PMC2630613  PMID: 19064892
24.  Variations in Reverse Transcriptase and RNase H Domain Mutations in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Clinical Isolates Are Associated with Divergent Phenotypic Resistance to Zidovudine▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2007;51(11):3861-3869.
Mutations in the RNase H domain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RT have been reported to cause resistance to zidovudine (ZDV) in vitro. However, very limited data on the in vivo relevance of these mutations in patients exist to date. This study was designed to determine the relationship between mutations in the RNase H domain and viral susceptibility to nucleoside analogues. Viruses harboring complex thymidine analogue mutation (TAM) and nucleoside analogue mutation (NAM) profiles were evaluated for their phenotypic susceptibilities to ZDV, tenofovir (TNF), and the nonapproved nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) β-2′,3′-didehydro-2′,3′-dideoxy-5-fluorocytidine (Reverset), β-d-5-fluorodioxolane-cytosine, and apricitabine. As controls, viruses from NRTI-naïve patients were also studied. The pol RT region (codons 21 to 250) of the viruses were sequenced and evaluated for mutations in the RNase H domain (codons 441 to 560) and the connection domain (codons 289 to 400). The results showed that viruses from patients failing multiple NRTI-containing regimens had distinct TAM and NAM profiles that conferred various degrees of resistance to ZDV (0.9- to >300-fold). Sequencing of the RNase H domain identified five positions (positions 460,468, 483, 512, and 519) at which extensive amino acid polymorphisms common in both wild-type viruses and viruses from treated patients were identified. No mutations were observed at positions 539 and 549, which have previously been associated with ZDV resistance. Mutations in the RNase H domain did not appear to correlate with the levels of phenotypic resistance to ZDV. Although some mutations were also observed in the connection domain, the simultaneous presence of the L74V and M184V mutations was the most significant determinant of phenotypic resistance to ZDV in patients infected with viruses with TAMs.
PMCID: PMC2151428  PMID: 17724152
25.  Natural Polymorphisms in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 2 Protease Can Accelerate Time to Development of Resistance to Protease Inhibitors▿  
Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) contains numerous natural polymorphisms in its protease (PR) gene that are implicated in drug resistance in the case of HIV-1. This study evaluated emergent PR resistance in HIV-2. Three HIV-2 isolates were selected for resistance to amprenavir (APV), nelfinavir (NFV), indinavir (IDV), and tipranavir (TPV) in cell culture. Genotypic analysis determined the time to the appearance of protease inhibitor (PI)-associated mutations compared to HIV-1. Phenotypic drug susceptibility assays were used to determine the levels of drug resistance. Within 10 to 15 weeks of serial passage, three major mutations—I54M, I82F, and L90M—arose in HIV-2 viral cultures exposed to APV, NFV, and IDV, whereas I82L was selected with TPV. After 25 weeks, other cultures had developed I50V and I84V mutations. In contrast, no major PI mutations were selected in HIV-1 over this period except for D30N in the context of NFV selective pressure. The baseline phenotypes of wild-type HIV-2 isolates were in the range observed for HIV-1, except for APV and NFV for which a lower degree of sensitivity was seen. The acquisition of the I54M, I84V, L90M, and L99F mutations resulted in multi-PI-resistant viruses, conferring 10-fold to more than 100-fold resistance. Of note, we observed a 62A/99F mutational motif that conferred high-level resistance to PIs, as well as novel secondary mutations, including 6F, 12A, and 21K. Thus, natural polymorphisms in HIV-2 may facilitate the selection of PI resistance. The increasing incidence of such polymorphisms in drug-naive HIV-1- and HIV-2-infected persons is of concern.
PMCID: PMC1797771  PMID: 17116674

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