Reverse transcriptase (RT) plays an essential role in HIV-1 replication, and inhibition of this enzyme is a key component of HIV-treatment. However, the use of RT inhibitors can lead to the emergence of drug-resistant variants. Until recently, most clinically relevant resistance mutations were found in the polymerase domain of RT. Lately, an increasing number of resistance mutations has been identified in the connection and RNaseH domain. To further explore the role of these domains we analyzed the complete RT sequence of HIV-1 subtype B patients failing therapy. Position A/T400 in the connection subdomain is polymorphic, but the proportion of T400 increases from 41% in naïve patients to 72% in patients failing therapy. Previous studies suggested a role for threonine in conferring resistance to nucleoside RT inhibitors. Here we report that T400 also mediates resistance to non-nucleoside RT inhibitors. The susceptibility to NVP and EFV was reduced 5-fold and 2-fold, respectively, in the wild-type subtype B NL4.3 background. We show that substitution A400T reduces the RNaseH activity. The changes in enzyme activity are remarkable given the distance to both the polymerase and RNaseH active sites. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed, which provide a novel atomistic mechanism for the reduction in RNaseH activity induced by T400. Substitution A400T was found to change the conformation of the RNaseH primer grip region. Formation of an additional hydrogen bond between residue T400 and E396 may play a role in this structural change. The slower degradation of the viral RNA genome may provide more time for dissociation of the bound NNRTI from the stalled RT-template/primer complex, after which reverse transcription can resume.
The efficacy of regimens that include both zidovudine and nevirapine can be explained by the synergistic interactions between these drugs. N348I in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) confers decreased susceptibility to zidovudine and nevirapine. Here we demonstrate that N348I reverses the synergistic inhibition of HIV-1 by zidovudine and nevirapine. Also, the efficiency of zidovudine-monophosphate excision in the presence of nevirapine is greater for N348I HIV-1 RT compared to the wild-type enzyme. These data help explain the frequent selection of N348I in regimens that contain zidovudine and nevirapine, and suggest that the selection of N348I should be monitored in resource-limited settings where these drugs are routinely used.
HIV-1 drug resistance; reverse transcriptase inhibitors; antiretroviral therapy; N348I; connection subdomain; C-terminal domain; combination therapy; zidovudine; nevirapine
The proline repeat motif (PxxP) of Nef is required for interaction with the SH3 domains of macrophage-specific Src kinase Hck. However, the implication of this interaction for viral replication and infectivity in macrophages and T lymphocytes remains unclear. Experiments in HIV-1 infected macrophages confirmed the presence of a Nef:Hck complex which was dependent on the Nef proline repeat motif. The proline repeat motif of Nef also enhanced both HIV-1 infection and replication in macrophages, and was required for incorporation of Hck into viral particles. Unexpectedly, wild-type Hck inhibited infection of macrophages, but Hck was shown to enhance infection of primary T lymphocytes. These results indicate that the interaction between Nef and Hck is important for Nef-dependent modulation of viral infectivity. Hck-dependent enhancement of HIV-1 infection of T cells suggests that Nef-Hck interaction may contribute to the spread of HIV-1 infection from macrophages to T cells by modulating events in the producer cell, virion and target cell.
HIV-1; Nef; Hck; macrophage; T lymphocyte; virion; infectivity
Assessing the prevalence of HIV-1 drug-resistance and the mutation patterns associated with resistance in the geographical regions implementing free antiretroviral therapy (ART) in China is necessary for preventing the spread of resistant strains and designing the regimens for the subsequent therapies with limited resources.
Plasma samples in different cities/prefectures were collected at Yunnan Provincial Hospital of Infectious Disease from January 2010 to December 2011. Genotyping of drug-resistant individuals was conducted using an in-house assay on plasma samples. Viral load, CD4 T cell counts and demographic data were obtained from medical records and an administered questionnaire.
A total of 609 pol sequences (515 ART-failure and 94 therapy-naïve individuals) derived from 664 samples were obtained. The prevalence of drug-resistance was 45.1% in the ART-failure individuals. Of these, 26.8% harbored HIV strains dually resistant to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and 14.8% harbored HIV strains resistant to only one drug category. Mutations such as M184V/I, K103N, V106A, Y181C and G190A were common among the ART-failure individuals, and the frequencies of M184V/I, K103N and V106A were 28.2%, 19.2%, and 22.1%, respectively. The percentages of individuals exhibiting intermediate or high-level resistance to 3TC, FTC, EFV and NVP drugs were 28.4%, 28.2%, 37.3%, and 37.5%, respectively. Factors such as ethnicity, transmission route, CD4 counts, viral load and the duration of ART were significantly correlated with development of drug resistance in the ART-failure individuals.
The high prevalence of HIV drug-resistance observed among the ART-failure individuals from 2010 to 2011 in Yunnan province should be of increasing concern in regions where the implementation of ART is widespread. Education about the risk factors associated with HIV drug resistance is important for preventing and controlling the spread of HIV drug-resistant strains.
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-resistant mutants have been shown to emerge after interruption of suppressive NNRTI-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) using routine testing. The aim of this study was to quantify the risk of resistance by sensitive testing and correlate the detection of resistance with NNRTI concentrations after treatment interruption and virologic responses after treatment resumption.
Resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) and NNRTI concentrations were studied in plasma from 132 patients who interrupted suppressive ART within SMART. RAMs were detected by Sanger sequencing, allele-specific PCR, and ultra-deep sequencing. NNRTI concentrations were measured by sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography.
Four weeks after NNRTI interruption, 19/31 (61.3%) and 34/39 (87.2%) patients showed measurable nevirapine (>0.25 ng/ml) or efavirenz (>5 ng/ml) concentrations, respectively. Median eight weeks after interruption, 22/131 (16.8%) patients showed ≥1 NNRTI-RAM, including eight patients with NNRTI-RAMs detected only by sensitive testing. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) of NNRTI-RAM detection was 7.62 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52, 38.30; p = 0.01) with nevirapine or efavirenz concentrations above vs. below the median measured in the study population. Staggered interruption, whereby nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) were continued for median nine days after NNRTI interruption, did not prevent NNRTI-RAMs, but increased detection of NRTI-RAMs (OR 4.25; 95% CI 1.02, 17.77; p = 0.03). After restarting NNRTI-based ART (n = 90), virologic suppression rates <400 copies/ml were 8/13 (61.5%) with NNRTI-RAMs, 7/11 (63.6%) with NRTI-RAMs only, and 51/59 (86.4%) without RAMs. The ORs of re-suppression were 0.18 (95% CI 0.03, 0.89) and 0.17 (95% CI 0.03, 1.15) for patients with NNRTI-RAMs or NRTI-RAMs only respectively vs. those without RAMs (p = 0.04).
Detection of resistant mutants in the rebound viremia after interruption of efavirenz- or nevirapine-based ART affects outcomes once these drugs are restarted. Further studies are needed to determine RAM persistence in untreated patients and impact on newer NNRTIs.
When Lactobacillus spp. dominate the vaginal microbiota of women of reproductive age they acidify the vagina to pH <4.0 by producing ∼1% lactic acid in a nearly racemic mixture of d- and l-isomers. We determined the HIV virucidal activity of racemic lactic acid, and its d- and l-isomers, compared with acetic acid and acidity alone (by the addition of HCl).
HIV-1 and HIV-2 were transiently treated with acids in the absence or presence of human genital secretions at 37°C for different time intervals, then immediately neutralized and residual infectivity determined in the TZM-bl reporter cell line.
l-lactic acid at 0.3% (w/w) was 17-fold more potent than d-lactic acid in inactivating HIVBa-L. Complete inactivation of different HIV-1 subtypes and HIV-2 was achieved with ≥0.4% (w/w) l-lactic acid. At a typical vaginal pH of 3.8, l-lactic acid at 1% (w/w) more potently and rapidly inactivated HIVBa-L and HIV-1 transmitter/founder strains compared with 1% (w/w) acetic acid and with acidity alone, all adjusted to pH 3.8. A final concentration of 1% (w/w) l-lactic acid maximally inactivated HIVBa-L in the presence of cervicovaginal secretions and seminal plasma. The anti-HIV activity of l-lactic acid was pH dependent, being abrogated at neutral pH, indicating that its virucidal activity is mediated by protonated lactic acid and not the lactate anion.
l-lactic acid at physiological concentrations demonstrates potent HIV virucidal activity distinct from acidity alone and greater than acetic acid, suggesting a protective role in the sexual transmission of HIV.
vaginal lactobacilli; carboxylic acids; virucidal; female reproductive tract
The magnitude of the HIV epidemic in women requires urgent efforts to find effective preventive methods. Even though sex hormones have been described to influence HIV infection in epidemiological studies and regulate different immune responses that may affect HIV infection, the direct role that female sex hormones play in altering the susceptibility of target cells to HIV-infection is largely unknown. Here we evaluated the direct effect of 17-β-estradiol (E2) and ethinyl estradiol (EE) in HIV-infection of CD4+ T-cells and macrophages. Purified CD4+ T-cells and monocyte-derived macrophages were generated in vitro from peripheral blood and infected with R5 and X4 viruses. Treatment of CD4+ T-cells and macrophages with E2 prior to viral challenge reduced their susceptibility to HIV infection in a dose-dependent manner. Addition of E2 2 h after viral challenge however did not result in reduced infection. In contrast, EE reduced infection in macrophages to a lesser extent than E2 and had no effect on CD4+ T-cell infection. Reduction of HIV-infection induced by E2 in CD4+ T-cells was not due to CCR5 down-regulation, but was an entry-mediated mechanism since infection with VSV-G pseudotyped HIV was not modified by E2. In macrophages, despite the lack of an effect of E2 on CCR5 expression, E2–treatment reduced viral entry 2 h after challenge and increased MIP-1β secretion. These results demonstrate the direct effect of E2 on susceptibility of HIV-target cells to infection and indicate that inhibition of target cell infection involves cell-entry related mechanisms.
HIV-1 establishes infection in astrocytes and macroage-lineage cells of the central nervous system (CNS). Certain antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) can penetrate the CNS, and are therefore often used in neurologically active combined antiretroviral therapy (Neuro-cART) regimens, but their relative activity in the different susceptible CNS cell populations is unknown. Here, we determined the HIV-1 inhibitory activity of CNS-penetrating ARVs in astrocytes and macrophage-lineage cells. Primary human fetal astrocytes (PFA) and the SVG human astrocyte cell line were used as in vitro models for astrocyte infection, and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) were used as an in vitro model for infection of macrophage-lineage cells. The CNS-penetrating ARVs tested were the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) abacavir (ABC), lamivudine (3TC), stavudine (d4T) and zidovudine (ZDV), the non-NRTIs efavirenz (EFV), etravirine (ETR) and nevirapine (NVP), and the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (RAL). Drug inhibition assays were performed using single-round HIV-1 entry assays with luciferase viruses pseudotyped with HIV-1 YU-2 envelope or vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G). All the ARVs tested could effectively inhibit HIV-1 infection in macrophages, with EC90s below concentrations known to be achievable in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Most of the ARVs had similar potency in astrocytes, however the NRTIs 3TC, d4T and ZDV had insufficient HIV-1 inhibitory activity in astrocytes, with EC90s 12-, 187- and 110-fold greater than achievable CSF concentrations, respectively. Our data suggest that 3TC, d4T and ZDV may not adequately target astrocyte infection in vivo, which has potential implications for their inclusion in Neuro-cART regimens.
Betaretroviruses infect a wide range of species including primates, rodents, ruminants, and marsupials. They exist in both endogenous and exogenous forms and are implicated in animal diseases such as lung cancer in sheep, and in human disease, with members of the human endogenous retrovirus-K (HERV-K) group of endogenous betaretroviruses (βERVs) associated with human cancers and autoimmune diseases. To improve our understanding of betaretroviruses in an evolutionarily distinct host species, we characterized βERVs present in the genomes and transcriptomes of mega- and microbats, which are an important reservoir of emerging viruses.
A diverse range of full-length βERVs were discovered in mega- and microbat genomes and transcriptomes including the first identified intact endogenous retrovirus in a bat. Our analysis revealed that the genus Betaretrovirus can be divided into eight distinct sub-groups with evidence of cross-species transmission. Betaretroviruses are revealed to be a complex retrovirus group, within which one sub-group has evolved from complex to simple genomic organization through the acquisition of an env gene from the genus Gammaretrovirus. Molecular dating suggests that bats have contended with betaretroviral infections for over 30 million years.
Our study reveals that a diverse range of betaretroviruses have circulated in bats for most of their evolutionary history, and cluster with extant betaretroviruses of divergent mammalian lineages suggesting that their distribution may be largely unrestricted by host species barriers. The presence of βERVs with the ability to transcribe active viral elements in a major animal reservoir for viral pathogens has potential implications for public health.
Retrovirus; Betaretrovirus; Endogenous; Evolution; Bats; Pteropus; Myotis; Rhinolophus
Rectal microbicides are being developed to prevent new HIV infections in both men and women. We focused our in vivo preclinical efficacy study on rectally-applied tenofovir. BLT humanized mice (n = 43) were rectally inoculated with either the primary isolate HIV-1JRCSF or the MSM-derived transmitted/founder (T/F) virus HIV-1THRO within 30 minutes following treatment with topical 1% tenofovir or vehicle. Under our experimental conditions, in the absence of drug treatment we observed 50% and 60% rectal transmission by HIV-1JRCSF and HIV-1THRO, respectively. Topical tenofovir reduced rectal transmission to 8% (1/12; log rank p = 0.03) for HIV-1JRCSF and 0% (0/6; log rank p = 0.02) for HIV-1THRO. This is the first demonstration that any human T/F HIV-1 rectally infects humanized mice and that transmission of the T/F virus can be efficiently blocked by rectally applied 1% tenofovir. These results obtained in BLT mice, along with recent ex vivo, Phase 1 trial and non-human primate reports, provide a critically important step forward in the development of tenofovir-based rectal microbicides.
Oral and vaginal preparations of tenofovir as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have demonstrated variable efficacy in men and women prompting assessment of variation in drug concentration as an explanation. Knowledge of tenofovir concentration and its active form, tenofovir diphosphate, at the putative vaginal and rectal site of action and its relationship to concentrations at multiple other anatomic locations may provide key information for both interpreting PrEP study outcomes and planning future PrEP drug development.
MTN-001 was designed to directly compare oral to vaginal steady-state tenofovir pharmacokinetics in blood, vaginal tissue, and vaginal and rectal fluid in a paired cross-over design.
Methods and Findings
We enrolled 144 HIV-uninfected women at 4 US and 3 African clinical research sites in an open label, 3-period crossover study of three different daily tenofovir regimens, each for 6 weeks (oral 300 mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, vaginal 1% tenofovir gel [40 mg], or both). Serum concentrations after vaginal dosing were 56-fold lower than after oral dosing (p<0.001). Vaginal tissue tenofovir diphosphate was quantifiable in ≥90% of women with vaginal dosing and only 19% of women with oral dosing. Vaginal tissue tenofovir diphosphate was ≥130-fold higher with vaginal compared to oral dosing (p<0.001). Rectal fluid tenofovir concentrations in vaginal dosing periods were higher than concentrations measured in the oral only dosing period (p<0.03).
Compared to oral dosing, vaginal dosing achieved much lower serum concentrations and much higher vaginal tissue concentrations. Even allowing for 100-fold concentration differences due to poor adherence or less frequent prescribed dosing, vaginal dosing of tenofovir should provide higher active site concentrations and theoretically greater PrEP efficacy than oral dosing; randomized topical dosing PrEP trials to the contrary indicates that factors beyond tenofovir’s antiviral effect substantially influence PrEP efficacy.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a gammaretrovirus reported to be associated with prostate cancer (PC) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). While the association of XMRV with CFS and PC has recently been discredited, no studies have been performed in Australian patients to investigate the association between PC and XMRV or related murine leukemia virus (MLV) in matched PC and normal tissue.
Genomic DNA (gDNA) was purified from matched normal and cancer formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) prostate tissue from 35 Australian PC patients with Gleason scores ranging from 7 – 10. The presence of the ribonuclease L (RNase L) polymorphism R462Q was determined by allele specific PCR. Samples were screened for XMRV and related murine leukemia virus (MLV) variants by qPCR. Contaminating mouse DNA was detected using qPCR targeting mouse intracisternal A particle long terminal repeat DNA.
gDNA was successfully purified from 94% (66/70) of normal and cancer FFPE prostate tissues. RNase L typing revealed 8% were homozygous (QQ), 60% were heterozygous (RQ) and 32% were wild-type (RR) for the RNase L mutation. None of the 66 samples tested were positive for XMRV or related MLV sequences using broad MLV or XMRV specific primers with detection sensitivities of 1 viral copy of MLV/XMRV and XMRV DNA, respectively.
Using highly sensitive qPCR we found no evidence of XMRV or related gammaretroviruses in prostate tissues from 35 Australian PC patients. Our findings are consistent with other studies demonstrating that XMRV is a laboratory contaminant that has no role in the aetiology of PC.
Quantification of retroviruses in cell culture supernatants and other biological preparations is required in a diverse spectrum of laboratories and applications. Methods based on antigen detection, such as p24 for HIV, or on genome detection are virus specific and sometimes suffer from a limited dynamic range of detection. In contrast, measurement of reverse transcriptase (RT) activity is a generic method which can be adapted for higher sensitivity using real-time PCR quantification (qPCR-based product-enhanced RT (PERT) assay). We present an evaluation of a modified SYBR Green I-based PERT assay (SG-PERT), using commercially available reagents such as MS2 RNA and ready-to-use qPCR mixes. This assay has a dynamic range of 7 logs, a sensitivity of 10 nU HIV-1 RT and outperforms p24 ELISA for HIV titer determination by lower inter-run variation, lower cost and higher linear range. The SG-PERT values correlate with transducing and infectious units in HIV-based viral vector and replication-competent HIV-1 preparations respectively. This assay can furthermore quantify Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus-derived vectors and can be performed on different instruments, such as Roche Lightcycler® 480 and Applied Biosystems ABI 7300. We consider this test to be an accurate, fast and relatively cheap method for retroviral quantification that is easily implemented for use in routine and research laboratories.
Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) that simultaneously prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy are a global health priority. Combining chemical and physical barriers offers the greatest potential to design effective MPTs, but integrating both functional modalities into a single device has been challenging. Here we show that drug-eluting fiber meshes designed for topical drug delivery can function as a combination chemical and physical barrier MPT. Using FDA-approved polymers, we fabricated nanofiber meshes with tunable fiber size and controlled degradation kinetics that facilitate simultaneous release of multiple agents against HIV-1, HSV-2, and sperm. We observed that drug-loaded meshes inhibited HIV-1 infection in vitro and physically obstructed sperm penetration. Furthermore, we report on a previously unknown activity of glycerol monolaurate (GML) to potently inhibit sperm motility and viability. The application of drug-eluting nanofibers for HIV-1 prevention and sperm inhibition may serve as an innovative platform technology for drug delivery to the lower female reproductive tract.
Because lubricants may decrease trauma during coitus, it is hypothesized that they could aid in the prevention of HIV acquisition. Therefore, safety and anti-HIV-1 activity of over-the-counter (OTC) aqueous- (n = 10), lipid- (n = 2), and silicone-based (n = 2) products were tested. The rheological properties of the lipid-based lubricants precluded testing with the exception of explant safety testing. Six aqueous-based gels were hyperosmolar, two were nearly iso-osmolar, and two were hypo-osmolar. Evaluation of the panel of products showed Gynol II (a spermicidal gel containing 2% nonoxynol-9), KY Jelly, and Replens were toxic to Lactobacillus. Two nearly iso-osmolar aqueous- and both silicone-based gels were not toxic toward epithelial cell lines or ectocervical or colorectal explant tissues. Hyperosmolar lubricants demonstrated reduction of tissue viability and epithelial fracture/sloughing while the nearly iso-osmolar and silicon-based lubricants showed no significant changes in tissue viability or epithelial modifications. While most of the lubricants had no measurable anti-HIV-1 activity, three lubricants which retained cell viability did demonstrate modest anti-HIV-1 activity in vitro. To determine if this would result in protection of mucosal tissue or conversely determine if the epithelial damage associated with the hyperosmolar lubricants increased HIV-1 infection ex vivo, ectocervical tissue was exposed to selected lubricants and then challenged with HIV-1. None of the lubricants that had a moderate to high therapeutic index protected the mucosal tissue. These results show hyperosmolar lubricant gels were associated with cellular toxicity and epithelial damage while showing no anti-viral activity. The two iso-osmolar lubricants, Good Clean Love and PRÉ, and both silicone-based lubricants, Female Condom 2 lubricant and Wet Platinum, were the safest in our testing algorithm.
Gammaretroviruses infect a wide range of vertebrate species where they are associated with leukemias, neurological diseases and immunodeficiencies. However, the origin of these infectious agents is unknown. Through a phylogenetic analysis of viral gene sequences, we show that bats harbor an especially diverse set of gammaretroviruses. In particular, phylogenetic analysis places Rhinolophus ferrumequinum retrovirus (RfRV), a new gammaretrovirus identified by de novo analysis of the Rhinolophus ferrumequinum transcriptome, and six other gammaretroviruses from different bat species, as basal to other mammalian gammaretroviruses. An analysis of the similarity in the phylogenetic history between the gammaretroviruses and their bat hosts provided evidence for both host-virus codivergence and cross-species transmission. Taken together, these data provide new insights into the origin of the mammalian gammaretroviruses.
XMRV, or xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related virus, is a novel gammaretrovirus originally identified in studies that analyzed tissue from prostate cancer patients in 2006 and blood from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in 2009. However, a large number of subsequent studies failed to confirm a link between XMRV infection and CFS or prostate cancer. On the contrary, recent evidence indicates that XMRV is a contaminant originating from the recombination of two mouse endogenous retroviruses during passaging of a prostate tumor xenograft (CWR22) in mice, generating laboratory-derived cell lines that are XMRV-infected. To confirm or refute an association between XMRV and prostate cancer, we analyzed prostate cancer tissues and plasma from a prospectively collected cohort of 39 patients as well as archival RNA and prostate tissue from the original 2006 study. Despite comprehensive microarray, PCR, FISH, and serological testing, XMRV was not detected in any of the newly collected samples or in archival tissue, although archival RNA remained XMRV-positive. Notably, archival VP62 prostate tissue, from which the prototype XMRV strain was derived, tested negative for XMRV on re-analysis. Analysis of viral genomic and human mitochondrial sequences revealed that all previously characterized XMRV strains are identical and that the archival RNA had been contaminated by an XMRV-infected laboratory cell line. These findings reveal no association between XMRV and prostate cancer, and underscore the conclusion that XMRV is not a naturally acquired human infection.
Failure of antiretroviral regimens containing elvitegravir (EVG) and raltegravir (RAL) can result in the appearance of integrase inhibitor (INI) drug-resistance mutations (DRMs). While several INI DRMs have been identified, the evolution of EVG DRMs and the linkage of these DRMs with protease inhibitor (PI) and reverse transcriptase inhibitor (RTI) DRMs have not been studied at the clonal level. We examined the development of INI DRMs in 10 patients failing EVG-containing regimens over time, and the linkage of INI DRMs with PI and RTI DRMs in these patients plus 6 RAL-treated patients. A one-step RT-nested PCR protocol was used to generate a 2.7 kB amplicon that included the PR, RT, and IN coding region, and standard cloning and sequencing techniques were used to determine DRMs in 1,277 clones (mean 21 clones per time point). Results showed all patients had multiple PI, NRTI, and/or NNRTI DRMs at baseline, but no primary INI DRM. EVG-treated patients developed from 2 to 6 strains with different primary INI DRMs as early as 2 weeks after initiation of treatment, predominantly as single mutations. The prevalence of these strains fluctuated and new strains, and/or strains with new combinations of INI DRMs, developed over time. Final failure samples (weeks 14 to 48) typically showed a dominant strain with multiple mutations or N155H alone. Single N155H or multiple mutations were also observed in RAL-treated patients at virologic failure. All patient strains showed evidence of INI DRM co-located with single or multiple PI and/or RTI DRMs on the same viral strand. Our study shows that EVG treatment can select for a number of distinct INI-resistant strains whose prevalence fluctuates over time. Continued appearance of new INI DRMs after initial INI failure suggests a potent, highly dynamic selection of INI resistant strains that is unaffected by co-location with PI and RTI DRMs.
Topical microbicides for use by women to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections are urgently required. Dendrimers are highly branched nanoparticles being developed as microbicides. SPL7013 is a dendrimer with broad-spectrum activity against HIV type I (HIV-1) and -2 (HIV-2), herpes simplex viruses type-1 (HSV-1) and -2 (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus. SPL7013 [3% (w/w)] has been formulated in a mucoadhesive carbopol gel (VivaGel®) for use as a topical microbicide. Previous studies showed that SPL7013 has similar potency against CXCR4- (X4) and CCR5-using (R5) strains of HIV-1 and that it blocks viral entry. However, the ability of SPL7013 to directly inactivate HIV-1 is unknown. We examined whether SPL7013 demonstrates virucidal activity against X4 (NL4.3, MBC200, CMU02 clade EA and 92UG046 clade D), R5 (Ba-L, NB25 and 92RW016 clade A) and dual-tropic (R5X4; MACS1-spln) HIV-1 using a modified HLA-DR viral capture method and by polyethylene glycol precipitation. Evaluation of virion integrity was determined by ultracentrifugation through a sucrose cushion and detection of viral proteins by Western blot analysis. SPL7013 demonstrated potent virucidal activity against X4 and R5X4 strains, although virucidal activity was less potent for the 92UG046 X4 clade D isolate. Where potent virucidal activity was observed, the 50% virucidal concentrations were similar to the 50% effective concentrations previously reported in drug susceptibility assays, indicating that the main mode of action of SPL7013 is by direct viral inactivation for these strains. In contrast, SPL7013 lacked potent virucidal activity against R5 HIV-1 strains. Evaluation of the virucidal mechanism showed that SPL7013-treated NL4.3, 92UG046 and MACS1-spln virions were intact with no significant decrease in gp120 surface protein with respect to p24 capsid content compared to the corresponding untreated virus. These studies demonstrate that SPL7013 is virucidal against HIV-1 strains that utilize the CXCR4 coreceptor but not viruses tested in this study that solely use CCR5 by a mechanism that is distinct from virion disruption or loss of gp120. In addition, the mode of action by which SPL7013 prevents infection of cells with X4 and R5X4 strains is likely to differ from R5 strains of HIV-1
Dendrimer; microbicide; SPL7013; HIV; virucidal activity
XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) was initially discovered in association with prostate cancer and later with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Its association with CFS is now largely discredited, and current results support a laboratory origin for XMRV with no reproducible evidence for infection of humans. However, some results indicating the presence of XMRV in prostate cancer are difficult to attribute to sample contamination. Here we have sought biological evidence that might confirm the presence of XMRV in prostate cancer samples previously having tested positive.
Methods and Results
We have tested for infectious XMRV and neutralizing antibodies against XMRV in blood plasma from 29 subjects with prostate cancer, and for infectious XMRV in prostate secretions from another five prostate cancer subjects. Nine of these subjects had previously tested positive for XMRV by PCR or by virus assay. We did not detect XMRV or related retroviruses in any sample, and the neutralizing activities of the plasma samples were all very low, a result inconsistent with XMRV infection of the plasma donors.
We find no evidence for XMRV infection of any human subject tested, either by assay for infectious virus or for neutralizing antibodies. Our results are consistent with the majority of published studies on XMRV, which find that XMRV is not present in humans. The observed low to undetectable XMRV neutralization by human plasma indicates a lack of innate restriction of XMRV replication by soluble factors in human blood.
The 22Rv1 cell line is widely used for prostate cancer research and other studies throughout the world. These cells were established from a human prostate tumor, CWR22, that was serially passaged in nude mice and selected for androgen independence. The 22Rv1 cells are known to produce high titers of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV). Recent studies suggested that XMRV was inadvertently created in the 1990's when two murine leukemia virus (MLV) genomes (pre-XMRV1 and pre-XMRV-2) recombined during passaging of the CWR22 tumor in mice. The conclusion that XMRV originated from mice and not the patient was based partly on the failure to detect XMRV in early CWR22 xenografts. While that deduction is certainly justified, we examined the possibility that a closely related virus could have been present in primary tumor tissue. Here we report that we have located the original prostate tumor tissue excised from patient CWR22 and have assayed the corresponding DNA by PCR and the tissue sections by fluorescence in situ hybridization for the presence of XMRV or a similar virus. The primary tumor tissues lacked mouse DNA as determined by PCR for intracisternal A type particle DNA, thus avoiding one of the limitations of studying xenografts. We show that neither XMRV nor a closely related virus was present in primary prostate tissue of patient CWR22. Our findings confirm and reinforce the conclusion that XMRV is a recombinant laboratory-generated mouse virus that is highly adapted for human prostate cancer cells.
A decline in HIV incidence has been reported in Zambia and a number of other sub-Saharan countries. The trend of HIV prevalence among young people is a good marker of HIV incidence. In this study, different data sources are used to examine geographical and sub-population group differentials in HIV prevalence trends among men and women aged 15–24 years in Zambia.
Design and Methods
We analysed ANC data for women aged 15–24 years from 22 sentinel sites consistently covered in the period 1994–2008, and HIV data for young men and women aged 15–24 years from the ZDHS 2001/2 and 2007. In addition, we systematically reviewed peer-reviewed articles that have reported findings on HIV prevalence and incidence among young people.
Overall trends of the ANC surveillance data indicated a substantial HIV prevalence decline among young women in both urban and rural areas. However, provincial declines differed substantially, i.e. between 10% and 68% among urban women, and from stability to 86% among rural women. Prevalence declines were steeper among those with the highest educational attainments than among the least educated. The ZDHS data indicated a significant reduction in prevalence between the two survey rounds among young women only. Provincial-level ZDHS changes were difficult to assess because the sample sizes were small. ANC-based trend patterns were consistent with those observed in PMTCT-based data (2002–2006), whereas population-based surveys in a selected urban community (1995–2003) suggested that the ANC-based data underestimated the prevalence declines in the general populations of both young both men and women.
The overall HIV prevalence declined substantially among young women in Zambia and this is interpreted as indicating a decline in HIV incidence. It is noteworthy that overall national trends masked substantial differences by place and by educational attainment, demonstrating critical limitations in the current focus on overall country-level trends in epidemiological reports.
We previously demonstrated in vitro that zidovudine (AZT) selects for A371V in the connection domain and Q509L in ribonuclease H (RNase H) domain of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) which, together with the thymidine analog mutations D67N, K70R and T215F, confer greater than 100-fold AZT resistance. The goal of the current study was to determine whether AZT monotherapy in HIV-1 infected patients also selects the A371V, Q509L or other mutations in the C-terminal domains of HIV-1 RT.
Full-length RT sequences in plasma obtained pre- and post-therapy were compared in 23 participants who received AZT monotherapy from the AIDS Clinical Trials Group study 175. Five of the 23 participants reached a primary study endpoint. Mutations significantly associated with AZT monotherapy included K70R (p = 0.003) and T215Y (p = 0.013) in the polymerase domain of HIV-1 RT, and A360V (p = 0.041) in the connection domain of HIV-1 RT. HIV-1 drug susceptibility assays demonstrated that A360V, either alone or in combination with thymidine analog mutations, decreased AZT susceptibility in recombinant viruses containing participant-derived full-length RT sequences or site-directed mutant RT. Biochemical studies revealed that A360V enhances the AZT-monophosphate excision activity of purified RT by significantly decreasing the frequency of secondary RNase H cleavage events that reduce the RNA/DNA duplex length and promote template/primer dissociation.
The A360V mutation in the connection domain of RT was selected in HIV-infected individuals that received AZT monotherapy and contributed to AZT resistance.
The use of antiviral medications by HIV negative people to prevent acquisition of HIV or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has shown promising results in recent trials. To understand the potential impact of PrEP for HIV prevention, in addition to efficacy data, we need to understand both the acceptability of PrEP among members of potential user groups and the factors likely to determine uptake.
Methods and findings
Surveys of willingness to use PrEP products were conducted with 1,790 members of potential user groups (FSWs, MSM, IDUs, SDCs and young women) in seven countries: Peru, Ukraine, India, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda and South Africa. Analyses of variance were used to assess levels of acceptance across different user groups and countries. Conjoint analysis was used to examine the attitudes and preferences towards hypothetical and known attributes of PrEP programs and medications. Overall, members of potential user groups were willing to consider taking PrEP (61% reported that they would definitely use PrEP). Current results demonstrate that key user groups in different countries perceived PrEP as giving them new possibilities in their lives and would consider using it as soon as it becomes available. These results were maintained when subjects were reminded of potential side effects, the need to combine condom use with PrEP, and for regular HIV testing. Across populations, route of administration was considered the most important attribute of the presented alternatives.
Despite multiple conceivable barriers, there was a general willingness to adopt PrEP in key populations, which suggests that if efficacious and affordable, it could be a useful tool in HIV prevention. There would be a willingness to experience inconvenience and expense at the levels included in the survey. The results suggest that delivery in a long lasting injection would be a good target in drug development.