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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  Stage-Dependent Inhibition of HIV-1 Replication by Antiretroviral Drugs in Cell Culture▿  
Recent clinical trials have shown that the use of the HIV-1 integrase (IN) inhibitor raltegravir (RAL) results in drops in the viral load that are more rapid than those achieved by use of the reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor efavirenz. Previously, mathematical modeling of viral load decay that takes into account the stage of viral replication targeted by a drug has yielded data that closely approximate the clinical trial results. This model predicts greater inhibition of viral replication by drugs that act later in the viral replication cycle. In the present study, we have added drugs that target entry, reverse transcription, integration, or proteolytic processing to acutely infected cells and have shown modest viral inhibition by entry inhibitors, intermediate levels of inhibition by RT and IN inhibitors, and high levels of inhibition by protease inhibitors relative to the levels of growth for the no-drug controls. When dual or triple combinations of these drugs were added to acutely infected cells, we found that the levels of inhibition achieved by any given combination were comparable to those achieved by the latest-acting drug in the combination. In single-round infections in which the kinetics of reverse transcription and integration had been determined by quantitative PCR, addition of IN inhibitors at various times postinfection resulted in levels of inhibition equal to or greater than those achieved by addition of RT inhibitors. Collectively, our data provide in vitro evidence of the stage-dependent inhibition of HIV-1 by clinically relevant drugs. We discuss how stage-dependent inhibition helps to explain the unique viral load decay dynamics observed clinically with RAL.
PMCID: PMC2826010  PMID: 20038621
8.  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
9.  Benefits of an educational program for journalists on media coverage of HIV/AIDS in developing countries 
a) To assess the suitability of the curriculum content and didactical quality of information delivered to educate journalists in the J2J program in HIV/AIDS (process evaluation) and b) to explore the effects of such programs on journalists' reporting of HIV/AIDS related information (outcome evaluation).
Descriptive study.
For the process evaluation, each J2J program curriculum was evaluated for accuracy and pertinence by individuals with high familiarity with HIV/AIDS research. For the outcome evaluation, a survey of J2J attendees and evaluations of the program lectures by attendees were performed in chronological order to determine their perception on usefulness of the program.
Overall, the J2J curriculum is successful in providing journalists with a clear understanding of the current HIV/AIDS medical research objectives and issues with most journalists reporting an increased ability to better investigate and disseminate accurate information on this subject. Furthermore, the journalists surveyed reported positive community responses directly as a result of the J2J training.
The J2J program helps to increase global awareness of pertinent HIV/AIDS concepts. Through this professional development strategy, journalists from around the world may help to amplify efforts to prevent new HIV infections and quench the dissemination of inaccurate information and folklore.
PMCID: PMC2580037  PMID: 19014657

Results 1-9 (9)