Live-attenuated SIV vaccines (LAVs) have been the most effective to date in preventing or partially controlling infection by wild-type SIV in non-human primate models of HIV-1 transmission to women acting by mechanisms of protection that are not well understood. To gain insights into mechanisms of protection by LAVs that could aid development of effective vaccines to prevent HIV-1 transmission to women, we used in situ tetramer staining to determine whether increased densities or changes in the local distribution of SIV-specific CD8 T cells correlated with the maturation of SIVΔnef vaccine-induced protection prior to and after intra-vaginal challenge with wild-type SIVmac251. We evaluated the immunodominant Mamu-A1*001:01/Gag (CM9) and Mamu-A1*001:01/Tat (SL8) epitope response in genital and lymphoid tissues, and found that tetramer+ cells were present at all time points examined. In the cervical vaginal tissues, most tetramer+ cells were distributed diffusely throughout the lamina propria or co-localized with other CD8 T cells within lymphoid aggregates. The distribution and densities of the tetramer+ cells at the portal of entry did not correlate with the maturation of protection or change after challenge. Given these findings, we discuss the possibility that changes in other aspects of the immune system, including the quality of the resident population of virus-specific effector CD8 T cells could contribute to maturation of protection, as well as the potential for vaccine strategies that further increase the size and quality of this effector population to prevent HIV-1 transmission.
In HIV-infected children, viral diversity tends to increase with age in the absence of antiretroviral treatment (ART). We measured HIV diversity in African children (ages 6–36 months) enrolled in a randomized clinical trial comparing two ART regimens (Cohort I of the P1060 trial). Children in this cohort were exposed to single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) at birth.
HIV diversity was measured retrospectively using a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay. Samples were obtained from 139 children at the enrollment visit prior to ART initiation. Six regions of the HIV genome were analyzed: two in gag, one in pol, and three in env. A single numeric HRM score that reflects HIV diversity was generated for each region; composite HRM scores were also calculated (mean and median for all six regions).
In multivariable median regression models using backwards selection that started with demographic and clinical variables, older age was associated with higher HRM scores (higher HIV diversity) in pol (P = 0.005) and with higher mean (P = 0.014) and median (P<0.001) HRM scores. In multivariable models adjusted for age, pre-treatment HIV viral load, pre-treatment CD4%, and randomized treatment regimen, higher HRM scores in pol were associated with shorter time to virologic suppression (P = 0.016) and longer time to study endpoints (virologic failure [VF], VF/death, and VF/off study treatment; P<0.001 for all measures).
In this cohort of sdNVP-exposed, ART-naïve African children, higher levels of HIV diversity in the HIV pol region prior to ART initiation were associated with better treatment outcomes.
Although the majority of bacteria are harmless or even beneficial to their host, others are highly virulent and can cause serious diseases, and even death. Due to the constantly decreasing cost of high-throughput sequencing there are now many completely sequenced genomes available from both human pathogenic and innocuous strains. The data can be used to identify gene families that correlate with pathogenicity and to develop tools to predict the pathogenicity of newly sequenced strains, investigations that previously were mainly done by means of more expensive and time consuming experimental approaches. We describe PathogenFinder (http://cge.cbs.dtu.dk/services/PathogenFinder/), a web-server for the prediction of bacterial pathogenicity by analysing the input proteome, genome, or raw reads provided by the user. The method relies on groups of proteins, created without regard to their annotated function or known involvement in pathogenicity. The method has been built to work with all taxonomic groups of bacteria and using the entire training-set, achieved an accuracy of 88.6% on an independent test-set, by correctly classifying 398 out of 449 completely sequenced bacteria. The approach here proposed is not biased on sets of genes known to be associated with pathogenicity, thus the approach could aid the discovery of novel pathogenicity factors. Furthermore the pathogenicity prediction web-server could be used to isolate the potential pathogenic features of both known and unknown strains.
We recently observed that a large proportion of activated (CD38+HLA-DR+) CD8+ T cells from recently HIV-1-infected adults are refractory to phosphorylation of ERK1/2 kinases (p-ERK1/2-refractory). Given that the ERK1/2 pathway mediates intracellular signaling critical for multiple T cell functions, including key effector functions, the loss of ERK1/2 responsiveness may have broad consequences for CD8+ T cell function. In the current study, we hypothesized that the p-ERK1/2-refractory population, localized largely within the activated CD38+HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cell population, would display impairments in CD8+ T cell effector functions, such as cytokine production and degranulation, compared to CD8+ p-ERK1/2-responsive cells. We further hypothesized that the p-ERK1/2-refractory phenotype is persistent over time during untreated infection, and would correlate with poorer virologic control, in a manner independent of CD8+ T cell activation level. We performed single-cell resolution, flow cytometric assays of phospho-kinase responses paired to intracellular cytokine staining in one assay to examine IFN-γ, perforin and CD107α responses in CD8+ T cells by ERK1/2 signaling profile. On a per cell basis, p-ERK1/2-refractory cells, which fall predominantly within the activated CD8+ T cell compartment, produced less IFN-γ in response to polyclonal or HIV-1 antigen-specific stimulation, and expressed lower levels of perforin and CD107α. The p-ERK1/2 refractory cell population displayed minimal overlap with the PD-1 and Tim-3 inhibitory exhaustion markers and predicted high viral load independent of activation, suggesting that ERK1/2 may be a unique marker and point of intervention for improving CD8+ T cell function. Blunted effector functions, secondary to ERK1/2 signaling deficits concentrated within activated CD8+ T cells, may contribute to immunodeficiency and underlie the predictive capacity of CD8+ T cell activation on HIV-1 disease progression. (270/300).
Chronic infection by HIV increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) despite effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). The mechanisms linking HIV to CVD have yet to be fully elucidated. High plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6, which may be triggered by IL-1β, is a biomarker of CVD risk in HIV-negative adults, and of all-cause mortality in HIV disease. Monocytes play a pivotal role in atherosclerosis, and may be major mediators of HIV-associated inflammation. We therefore hypothesized that monocytes from HIV-infected adults would display high inflammatory responses. Employing a 10-color flow cytometry intracellular cytokine staining assay, we directly assessed cytokine and chemokine responses of monocytes from the cryopreserved peripheral blood of 33 chronically HIV-1 infected subjects. Participants were 45 years or older, on virologically suppressive ART and at risk for CVD. This group was compared to 14 HIV-negative subjects matched for age and gender, with similar CVD risk. We simultaneously detected intracellular expression of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF in blood monocytes in the basal state and after stimulation by triggers commonly found in the blood of treated, chronically HIV-infected subjects: lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL). In the absence of stimulation, monocytes from treated HIV-infected subjects displayed a high frequency of cells producing IL-1β (median 19.5%), compared to low levels in HIV-uninfected persons (0.9% p<0.0001). IL-8, which is induced by IL-1β, was also highly expressed in the HIV-infected group in the absence of stimulation, 43.7% compared to 1.9% in HIV-uninfected subjects, p<0.0001. Strikingly, high basal expression of IL-1β by monocytes predicted high IL-6 levels in the plasma, and high monocyte IL-6 responses in HIV-infected subjects. Hyper-inflammatory IL-1β enriched monocytes may be a major source of IL-6 production and systemic inflammation in HIV-infected adults, and may contribute to the risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease in treated HIV infection.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are highly polymorphic and informative in disease association, transplantation, and population genetics studies with particular importance in the understanding of human population diversity and evolution. The aim of this study was to describe the HLA diversity in Mexican admixed individuals. We studied the polymorphism of MHC class I (HLA-A, -B, -C), and class II (HLA-DRB1, -DQB1) genes using high-resolution sequence based typing (SBT) method and we structured the blocks and conserved extended haplotypes (CEHs) in 234 non-related admixed Mexican individuals (468 haplotypes) by a maximum likelihood method. We found that HLA blocks and CEHs are primarily from Amerindian and Caucasian origin, with smaller participation of African and recent Asian ancestry, demonstrating a great diversity of HLA blocks and CEHs in Mexicans from the central area of Mexico. We also analyzed the degree of admixture in this group using short tandem repeats (STRs) and HLA-B that correlated with the frequency of most probable ancestral HLA-C/−B and -DRB1/−DQB1 blocks and CEHs. Our results contribute to the analysis of the diversity and ancestral contribution of HLA class I and HLA class II alleles and haplotypes of Mexican admixed individuals from Mexico City. This work will help as a reference to improve future studies in Mexicans regarding allotransplantation, immune responses and disease associations.
Albuminuria (urinary excretion of more than 30 milligram of albumin per gram of creatinine) serves as an indicator of microvascular injury, which has been associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease in HIV-seronegative individuals. Albuminuria has been reported to be prevalent among HIV-seropositive individuals, however, the relationship between albuminuria and risk for cardiovascular disease in this population has not been well-studied. We examined the relationships between albuminuria and parameters of atherosclerosis including carotid intima-media thickness and traditional cardiovascular risk assessment among HIV-seropositive individuals receiving stable antiretroviral therapy. We utilized a cross-sectional baseline data from the Hawai‘i Aging with HIV-Cardiovascular Study cohort.
Data was available on 111 HIV-infected patients (median age of 52 (Q1,Q3: 46, 57), male 86%; diabetes 6%; hypertension 33%; dyslipidemia 50%; median CD4 count of 489 cells/mm3 (341, 638); HIV RNA PCR < 48 copies/ml of 85%). Eighteen subjects (16.2%) had microalbuminuria, and two subjects (1.8%) had macroalbuminuria. Albuminuria was significantly associated with increased Framingham Risk Score (P=.002), insulin resistance by HOMA-IR (P=.02), diastolic blood pressure (P=.01), and carotid intima-media thickness (P =.04). The correlation between the amount of albuminuria and carotid intima-media thickness remained significant even after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, current smoking status, diabetes mellitus, diastolic blood pressure, fasting insulin level, CD4 count, and HIV-RNA viral load.
Albuminuria is prevalent among HIV-infected patients receiving stable antiretroviral therapy. It is significantly related to previously defined markers of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome among HIV-infected patients receiving stable antiretroviral therapy.
HIV; albuminuria; CD4 count; HIV viral load; atherosclerosis; aging; cardiovascular disease
Limited HIV-1 drug-resistance surveillance has been carried out in Ghana since the implementation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). This study sought to provide data on the profile of HIV-1 drug resistance in ART-experienced and newly diagnosed individuals in Ghana.
Samples were collected from 101 HIV-1-infected patients (32 ART-experienced cases with virological failure and 69 newly diagnosed ART-naïve cases, including 11 children), in Koforidua, Eastern region of Ghana, from February 2009 to January 2010. The pol gene sequences were analyzed by in-house HIV-1 drug-resistance testing.
The most prevalent HIV-1 subtype was CRF02_AG (66.3%, 67/101) followed by unique recombinant forms (25.7%, 26/101). Among 31 ART-experienced adults, 22 (71.0%) possessed at least one drug-resistance mutation, and 14 (45.2%) had two-class-resistance to nucleoside and non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors used in their first ART regimen. Importantly, the number of accumulated mutations clearly correlated with the duration of ART. The most prevalent mutation was lamivudine-resistance M184V (n = 12, 38.7%) followed by efavirenz/nevirapine-resistance K103N (n = 9, 29.0%), and zidovudine/stavudine-resistance T215Y/F (n = 6, 19.4%). Within the viral protease, the major nelfinavir-resistance mutation L90M was found in one case. No transmitted HIV-1 drug-resistance mutation was found in 59 ART-naïve adults, but K103N and G190S mutations were observed in one ART-naïve child.
Despite expanding accessibility to ART in Eastern Ghana, the prevalence of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance presently appears to be low. As ART provision with limited options is scaled up nationwide in Ghana, careful monitoring of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance is necessary.
The poor response to the combined antiviral therapy of pegylated alfa-interferon and ribavarin for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may be linked to mutations in the viral envelope gene E1E2 (env), which can result in escape from the immune response and higher efficacy of viral entry. Mutations that result in failure of therapy most likely require compensatory mutations to achieve sufficient change in envelope structure and function. Compensatory mutations were investigated by determining positions in the E1E2 gene where amino acids (aa) covaried across groups of individuals. We assessed networks of covarying positions in E1E2 sequences that differentiated sustained virological response (SVR) from non-response (NR) in 43 genotype 1a (17 SVR), and 49 genotype 1b (25 SVR) chronically HCV-infected individuals. Binary integer programming over covariance networks was used to extract aa combinations that differed between response groups. Genotype 1a E1E2 sequences exhibited higher degrees of covariance and clustered into 3 main groups while 1b sequences exhibited no clustering. Between 5 and 9 aa pairs were required to separate SVR from NR in each genotype. aa in hypervariable region 1 were 6 times more likely than chance to occur in the optimal networks. The pair 531–626 (EI) appeared frequently in the optimal networks and was present in 6 of 9 NR in one of the 1a clusters. The most frequent pairs representing SVR were 431–481 (EE), 500–522 (QA) in 1a, and 407–434 (AQ) in 1b. Optimal networks based on covarying aa pairs in HCV envelope can indicate features that are associated with failure or success to antiviral therapy.
Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) is induced by HIV early in the infection process and serves two functions: transactivation of the HIV-1 genome and thus replication, and eliciting antiviral innate immune responses. We previously described three IRF1 polymorphisms that correlate with reduced IRF1 expression and reduced HIV susceptibility.
To determine whether IRF1 polymorphisms previously associated with reduced HIV susceptibility play a role in HIV pathogenesis and disease progression in HIV-infected ART-naïve individuals.
IRF1 genotyping for polymorphisms (619, MS and 6516) was performed by PCR in 847 HIV positive participants from a sex worker cohort in Nairobi, Kenya. Rates of CD4+ T cell decline and viral loads (VL) were analyzed using linear mixed models.
Three polymorphisms in the IRF1, located at 619, microsatellite region and 6516 of the gene, previously associated with decreased susceptibility to HIV infection show no effect on disease progression, either measured by HIV-1 RNA levels or the slopes of CD4 decline before treatment initiation.
Whereas these three polymorphisms in the IRF1 gene protect against HIV-1 acquisition, they appear to exert no discernable effects once infection is established.
The recently available x-ray crystal structure of HIV-1 capsid hexamers has provided insight into the molecular interactions crucial for the virus’s mature capsid formation. Amino acid changes at these interaction points are likely to have a strong impact on capsid functionality and, hence, viral infectivity and replication fitness. To test this hypothesis, we introduced the most frequently observed single amino acid substitution at 30 sites: 12 at the capsid hexamerization interface and 18 at non-interface sites. Mutations at the interface sites were more likely to be lethal (Fisher’s exact test p = 0.027) and had greater negative impact on viral replication fitness (Wilcoxon rank sum test p = 0.040). Among the interface mutations studied, those located in the cluster of hydrophobic contacts at NTD-NTD interface and those that disrupted NTD-CTD inter-domain helix capping hydrogen bonds were the most detrimental, indicating that these interactions are particularly important for maintaining capsid structure and/or function. These functionally constrained sites provide potential targets for novel HIV drug development and vaccine immunogen design.
We investigated the relationship of the Herpesviridiae with inflammation and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients.
Prospective study including virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients. IgG antibodies against herpesviruses, carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), endothelial function through flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and blood atherosclerosis biomarkers (hsCRP, TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, MDA, sCD14, sCD163, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, D-dimer, and PAI-1) were measured.
136 patients with HIV viral load <200 copies/ml were included. 93.4% patients were infected with herpes simplex virus type-1, 55.9% with herpes simplex virus type-2, 97.1% with varicella-zoster virus, 65.4% with human herpesvirus-6, 91.2% with cytomegalovirus, and 99.3% with Epstein-Barr virus. Previous AIDS diagnosis was associated with higher cytomegalovirus IgG titers (23,000 vs 17,000 AU, P = 0.011) and higher varicella-zoster virus IgG titers (3.19 vs 2.88 AU, P = 0.047), and there was a positive correlation of the Framingham risk score with IgG levels against cytomegalovirus (Spearman's Rho 0.216, P = 0.016) and Herpes simplex virus-2 (Spearman's Rho 0.293, P = 0.001). IgG antibodies against cytomegalovirus correlated in adjusted analysis with the cIMT (P = 0.030). High seropositivity for varicella-zoster virus (OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.05–8.01, P = 0.039), and for cytomegalovirus (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.20–11.97, P = 0.023) were predictors for the highest quartile of the cIMT in adjusted analyses. PAI-1 levels were independently associated with cytomegalovirus IgG titers (P = 0.041), IL-6 and ICAM-1 levels with varicella-zoster virus IgG (P = 0.046 and P = 0.035 respectively), and hsCRP levels with Herpes simplex virus-2 IgG (P = 0.035).
In virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients, antibody responses against herpesviruses are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, and with increased inflammation and coagulation biomarkers.
Although the KIR gene content polymorphism has been studied worldwide, only a few isolated or Amerindian populations have been analyzed. This extremely diverse gene family codifies receptors that are expressed mainly in NK cells and bind HLA class I molecules. KIR-HLA combinations have been associated to several diseases and population studies are important to comprehend their evolution and their role in immunity. Here we analyzed, by PCR-SSP (specific sequencing priming), 327 individuals from four isolated groups of two of the most important Brazilian Amerindian populations: Kaingang and Guarani. The pattern of KIR diversity among these and other ten Amerindian populations disclosed a wide range of variation for both KIR haplotypes and gene frequencies, indicating that demographic factors, such as bottleneck and founder effects, were the most important evolutionary factors in shaping the KIR polymorphism in these populations.
Host immunogenetic factors such as HLA class I polymorphism are important to HIV-1 infection risk and AIDS progression. Previous studies using high-resolution HLA class I profile data of Chinese populations appeared insufficient to provide information for HIV-1 vaccine development and clinical trial design. Here we reported HLA class I association with HIV-1 susceptibility in a Chinese Han and a Chinese Uyghur cohort.
Our cohort included 327 Han and 161 Uyghur ethnic individuals. Each cohort included HIV-1 seropositive and HIV-1 seronegative subjects. Four-digit HLA class I typing was performed by sequencing-based typing and high-resolution PCR-sequence specific primer. We compared the HLA class I allele and inferred haplotype frequencies between HIV-1 seropositive and seronegative groups. A neighbor-joining tree between our cohorts and other populations was constructed based on allele frequencies of HLA-A and HLA-B loci. We identified 58 HLA-A, 75 HLA-B, and 32 HLA-Cw distinct alleles from our cohort and no novel alleles. The frequency of HLA-B*5201 and A*0301 was significantly higher in the Han HIV-1 negative group. The frequency of HLA-B*5101 was significantly higher in the Uyghur HIV-1 negative group. We observed statistically significant increases in expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm predicted haplotype frequencies of HLA-A*0201-B*5101 in the Uyghur HIV-1 negative group, and of Cw*0304-B*4001 in the Han HIV-1 negative group. The B62s supertype frequency was found to be significantly higher in the Han HIV-1 negative group than in the Han HIV-1 positive group.
At the four-digit level, several HLA class I alleles and haplotypes were associated with lower HIV-1 susceptibility. Homogeneity of HLA class I and Bw4/Bw6 heterozygosity were not associated with HIV-1 susceptibility in our cohort. These observations contribute to the Chinese HLA database and could prove useful in the development of HIV-1 vaccine candidates.
Transient HIV infections have been invoked to account for the cellular immune responses detected in highly virus-exposed individuals who have remained HIV seronegative. We tested for very low levels of HIV RNA in 524 seronegative plasma samples from 311 highly exposed women and men from 3 longitudinal HIV cohorts.
2073 transcription mediated amplification (TMA) HIV RNA tests were performed for an average of 3.95 TMA assays per plasma sample. Quadruplicate TMA assays, analyzing a total of 2 ml of plasma, provided an estimated sensitivity of 3.5 HIV RNA copies/ml.
Four samples from subjects who did not sero-convert within the following six months were positive for HIV RNA. For one sample, human polymorphism DNA analysis indicated a sample mix up. Borderline HIV RNA detection signals were detected for the other three positive samples and further replicate TMA testing yielded no positive results. Nested PCR assays (n=254) for HIV proviral DNA on PBMC from these 3 subjects were negative.
Transient viremia was not reproducibly detected in highly HIV exposed seronegative men and women. If transient infections do occur, plasma HIV RNA levels may remain below the detection limits of the sensitive assay used here, be of very short duration, or viral replication may be restricted to mucosal surfaces or their draining lymphoid tissues.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways are dynamic and sensitive regulators of T cell function and differentiation. Altered MAPK signaling has been associated with the inflammatory and autoimmune diseases lupus and arthritis and with some pathogenic viral infections. HIV-1 infection is characterized by chronic immune inflammation, aberrantly heightened CD8+ T cell activation levels, and altered T cell function. The relationship between MAPK pathway function, HIV-1-induced activation (CD38 and HLA-DR), and exhaustion (Tim-3) markers in circulating CD8+ T cells remains unknown. Phosphorylation of the MAPK effector proteins ERK and p38 was examined by “phosflow” flow cytometry in 79 recently HIV-1-infected, antiretroviral-treatment-naïve adults and 21 risk-matched HIV-1-negative controls. We identified a subset of CD8+ T cells refractory to phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus ionomycin-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation (referred to as p-ERK1/2-refractory cells) that was greatly expanded in HIV-1-infected adults. The CD8+ p-ERK1/2-refractory cells were highly activated (CD38+ HLA-DR+) but not exhausted (Tim-3 negative), tended to have low CD8 expression, and were enriched in intermediate and late transitional memory states of differentiation (CD45RA− CD28− CD27+/−). Targeting MAPK pathways to restore ERK1/2 signaling may normalize immune inflammation levels and restore CD8+ T cell function during HIV-1 infection.
Great efforts have been made to increase accessibility of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low and middle-income countries. The threat of wide-scale emergence of drug resistance could severely hamper ART scale-up efforts. Population-based surveillance of transmitted HIV drug resistance ensures the use of appropriate first-line regimens to maximize efficacy of ART programs where drug options are limited. However, traditional HIV genotyping is extremely expensive, providing a cost barrier to wide-scale and frequent HIV drug resistance surveillance.
We have developed a low-cost laboratory-scale next-generation sequencing-based genotyping method to monitor drug resistance. We designed primers specifically to amplify protease and reverse transcriptase from Brazilian HIV subtypes and developed a multiplexing scheme using multiplex identifier tags to minimize cost while providing more robust data than traditional genotyping techniques. Using this approach, we characterized drug resistance from plasma in 81 HIV infected individuals collected in São Paulo, Brazil. We describe the complexities of analyzing next-generation sequencing data and present a simplified open-source workflow to analyze drug resistance data. From this data, we identified drug resistance mutations in 20% of treatment naïve individuals in our cohort, which is similar to frequencies identified using traditional genotyping in Brazilian patient samples.
The developed ultra-wide sequencing approach described here allows multiplexing of at least 48 patient samples per sequencing run, 4 times more than the current genotyping method. This method is also 4-fold more sensitive (5% minimal detection frequency vs. 20%) at a cost 3–5× less than the traditional Sanger-based genotyping method. Lastly, by using a benchtop next-generation sequencer (Roche/454 GS Junior), this approach can be more easily implemented in low-resource settings. This data provides proof-of-concept that next-generation HIV drug resistance genotyping is a feasible and low-cost alternative to current genotyping methods and may be particularly beneficial for in-country surveillance of transmitted drug resistance.
Genetic variants resulting in non-expression of complement C4A and C4B genes are common in healthy European populations and have shown association with a number of diseases, most notably the autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus. The most frequent cause of a C4 “null” allele, following that of C4 gene copy number variation (CNV), is a non-sense mutation arising from a 2 bp CT insertion into codon 1232 of exon 29. Previous attempts to accurately genotype this polymorphism have not been amenable to high-throughput typing, and have been confounded by failure to account for CNV at this locus, as well as by inability to distinguish between paralogs. We have developed a novel, high-throughput, paralog-specific assay to detect the presence and copy number of this polymorphism. We have genotyped healthy cohorts from the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain. Overall, 30/719 (4.17%) individuals from the UK cohort and 8/449 (1.78%) individuals from the Spanish cohort harboured the CT insertion in a C4A gene. A single Spanish individual possessed a C4B CT insertion. There is weak correlation between the C4 CT insertion and flanking MHC polymorphism. Therefore it is important to note that, as with C4 gene CNV, disease-association due to this variant will be missed by current SNP-based genome-wide association strategies.
HIV-1 viral load in early infection predicts the risk of subsequent disease progression but the factors responsible for the differences between individuals in viral load during this period have not been fully identified. We sought to determine the relationship between HIV-1 RNA levels in the source partner and recently infected recipient partners within transmission pairs.
We recruited donor partners of persons who presented with acute or recent (< 6 months) HIV infection. Transmission was confirmed by phyologenetic comparison of virus sequence in the donor and recipient partners. We compared viral load in the donor partner and the recipient in the first 6 months of HIV infection.
We identified 24 transmission pairs. The median estimated time from infection to evaluation in acutely/recently infected recipient individuals was 72 days. The viral load in the donor was closely associated with viral load at presentation in the recipient case (r=0.55, P=0.006).
The strong correlation between HIV-1 RNA levels within HIV transmission pairs indicates that virus characteristics are an important determinant of viral load in early HIV infection.
HIV-1 RNA; acute HIV-1 infection; HIV-1 transmission; viral load set-point; HIV-1 pathogenesis
Genome-wide association studies (gwas) are invaluable in revealing the common variants predisposing to complex human diseases. Yet, until now, the large volumes of data generated from such analyses have not been explored extensively enough to identify the molecular and functional framework hosting the susceptibility genes.
We investigated the relationships among five neurodegenerative and/or autoimmune complex human diseases (Parkinson's disease-Park, Alzheimer's disease-Alz, multiple sclerosis-MS, rheumatoid arthritis-RA and Type 1 diabetes-T1D) by characterising the interactomes linked to their gwas-genes. An initial study on the MS interactome indicated that several genes predisposing to the other autoimmune or neurodegenerative disorders may come into contact with it, suggesting that susceptibility to distinct diseases may converge towards common molecular and biological networks. In order to test this hypothesis, we performed pathway enrichment analyses on each disease interactome independently. Several issues related to immune function and growth factor signalling pathways appeared in all autoimmune diseases, and, surprisingly, in Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, the paired analyses of disease interactomes revealed significant molecular and functional relatedness among autoimmune diseases, and, unexpectedly, between T1D and Alz.
The systems biology approach highlighted several known pathogenic processes, indicating that changes in these functions might be driven or sustained by the framework linked to genetic susceptibility. Moreover, the comparative analyses among the five genetic interactomes revealed unexpected genetic relationships, which await further biological validation. Overall, this study outlines the potential of systems biology to uncover links between genetics and pathogenesis of complex human disorders.
Comprehensive analysis of the transcription start sites of the Ly49 genes of C57BL/6 mice using the oligo-capping 5′-RACE technique revealed that the genes encoding the “missing self” inhibitory receptors, Ly49A, C, G, and I, were transcribed from multiple broad regions in exon 1, in the intron1/exon2 region, and upstream of exon -1b. Ly49E was also transcribed in this manner, and uniquely showed a transcriptional shift from exon1 to exon 2 when NK cells were activated in vitro with IL2. Remarkably, a large proportion of Ly49E transcripts was then initiated from downstream of the translational start codon. By contrast, the genes encoding Ly49B and Q in myeloid cells, the activating Ly49D and H receptors in NK cells, and Ly49F in activated T cells, were predominantly transcribed from a conserved site in a pyrimidine-rich region upstream of exon 1. An ∼200 bp fragment from upstream of the Ly49B start site displayed tissue-specific promoter activity in dendritic cell lines, but the corresponding upstream fragments from all other Ly49 genes lacked detectable tissue-specific promoter activity. In particular, none displayed any significant activity in a newly developed adult NK cell line that expressed multiple Ly49 receptors. Similarly, no promoter activity could be found in fragments upstream of intron1/exon2. Collectively, these findings reveal a previously unrecognized relationship between the pattern of transcription and the expression/function of Ly49 receptors, and indicate that transcription of the Ly49 genes expressed in lymphoid cells is achieved in a manner that does not require classical upstream promoters.
HIV-1 infected macrophages play an important role in rendering resting T cells permissive for infection, in spreading HIV-1 to T cells, and in the pathogenesis of AIDS dementia. During highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART), macrophages keep producing virus because tissue penetration of antiretrovirals is suboptimal and the efficacy of some is reduced. Thus, to cure HIV-1 infection with antiretrovirals we will also need to efficiently inhibit viral replication in macrophages. The majority of the current drugs block the action of viral enzymes, whereas there is an abundance of yet unidentified host factors that could be targeted. We here present results from a genome-wide association study identifying novel genetic polymorphisms that affect in vitro HIV-1 replication in macrophages.
Monocyte-derived macrophages from 393 blood donors were infected with HIV-1 and viral replication was determined using Gag p24 antigen levels. Genomic DNA from individuals with macrophages that had relatively low (n = 96) or high (n = 96) p24 production was used for SNP genotyping with the Illumina 610 Quad beadchip. A total of 494,656 SNPs that passed quality control were tested for association with HIV-1 replication in macrophages, using linear regression. We found a strong association between in vitro HIV-1 replication in monocyte-derived macrophages and SNP rs12483205 in DYRK1A (p = 2.16×10−5). While the association was not genome-wide significant (p<1×10−7), we could replicate this association using monocyte-derived macrophages from an independent group of 31 individuals (p = 0.0034). Combined analysis of the initial and replication cohort increased the strength of the association (p = 4.84×10−6). In addition, we found this SNP to be associated with HIV-1 disease progression in vivo in two independent cohort studies (p = 0.035 and p = 0.0048).
These findings suggest that the kinase DYRK1A is involved in the replication of HIV-1, in vitro in macrophages as well as in vivo.
Mounting evidence has suggested that α-adducin and G-protein β3 (GNB3) genes are logical candidates for salt-sensitive hypertension. Some, but not all, studies have reported that α-adducin G460T and GNB3 C825T polymorphisms may influence the risk of the disease. To comprehensively address this issue, we performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the influence of these two polymorphisms on hypertension and potential biases in Chinese.
Data were analyzed using Stata (v11.0) and random-effects model was applied irrespective of between-studies heterogeneity, which was evaluated via subgroup and meta-regression analyses. Study quality was assessed in duplicate. Publication bias was weighed using Egger's test and funnel plot.
36 study populations totaling 9042 hypertensive patients and 8399 controls were finally identified. Overall, in allelic/genotypic/dominant/recessive models, no significant association was identified for both G460T and C825T polymorphisms (P>0.05) and there was possible heterogeneity (I2>25%). Subgroup analyses by study design indicated that the magnitude of association in population-based studies was marginally significantly strengthened for α-adducin G460T allelic model (OR = 1.12; 95% CI: 1:00–1.25; P = 0.043). Moreover, subgroup analyses by geographic distribution indicated comparison of 825T with 825C yielded a marginally significant increased risk in southern Chinese only (OR = 1.48; 95% CI: 1.01–2.16; P = 0.045). Further meta-regression analyses showed that geographic regions were a significant source of between-study heterogeneity for both polymorphisms. There was a possibility of publication bias for G460T, but not for C825T.
Our overall results suggest null association of α-adducin G460T and GNB3 C825T polymorphisms with hypertension in Chinese but indicate local marginal significance of C825T, as a putative salt-sensitive switch, in southern Chinese.
The pathogenesis of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses is characterized by CD4+ T cell depletion and chronic T cell activation, leading ultimately to AIDS. CD4+ T helper (TH) cells provide protective immunity and immune regulation through different immune cell functional subsets, including TH1, TH2, T regulatory (Treg), and interleukin-17 (IL-17)–secreting TH17 cells. Because IL-17 can enhance host defenses against microbial agents, thus maintaining the integrity of the mucosal barrier, loss of TH17 cells may foster microbial translocation and sustained inflammation. Here, we study HIV-seropositive subjects and find that progressive disease is associated with the loss of TH17 cells and a reciprocal increase in the fraction of the immunosuppressive Treg cells both in peripheral blood and in rectosigmoid biopsies. The loss of TH17/Treg balance is associated with induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) by myeloid antigen-presenting dendritic cells and with increased plasma concentration of microbial products. In vitro, the loss of TH17/Treg balance is mediated directly by the proximal tryptophan catabolite from IDO metabolism, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. We postulate that induction of IDO may represent a critical initiating event that results in inversion of the TH17/Treg balance and in the consequent maintenance of a chronic inflammatory state in progressive HIV disease.
The complexity of immunoregulation has focused attention on the CD4+ T “suppressor” regulatory cell (Treg), which helps maintain balance between immunity and tolerance. An immunoregulatory T cell population that upon activation amplifies cellular immune responses was described in murine models more than thirty years ago. However, no study has yet identified a naturally occurring T “inducer” cell type. Here, we report that the ectoenzyme CD39/NTPDase1 (ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase 1) helps to delineate a novel population of human “inducer” CD4+ T cells (TInd) that significantly increases the proliferation and cytokine production of responder T cells in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, this unique TInd cell subset produces a distinct repertoire of cytokines in comparison to the other CD4+ T cell subsets. We propose that this novel CD4+ T cell population counterbalances the suppressive activity of suppressor Treg cells in peripheral blood and serves as a calibrator of immunoregulation.
CD4; CD39; Regulatory T cells; FOXP3; CD127; CD25; proliferation; Inducer; cytokine; IFN-γ; IL-6; IL-10; TNF-α; GM-CSF; ATP