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1.  Disparities In Lung Transplantation Before And After Introduction Of The Lung Allocation Score 
Background
In May 2005 the lung allocation score (LAS) became the primary method for determining allocation of lungs for organ transplantation for those at least 12 years of age in the United States. During the pre-LAS period, black patients were more likely than white patients to become too sick or die while awaiting transplant. The association between gender and lung transplant outcomes has not been widely studied.
Methods
Black and white patients ≥18 years of age registered on the UNOS lung transplantation waiting list from January 1, 2000-May 3, 2005 (pre-LAS, n=8765) and May 4, 2005-September 13, 2010 (LAS, n=8806) were included; logistic regression analyses were based on smaller cohorts derived from patients listed in the first 2 years of each era (pre-LAS, n=2350, and LAS, n=2446) to allow for follow-up time. Lung transplantation was the primary outcome measure. Multivariable analyses were performed within each time period to determine the odds of dying or receiving a lung transplant within three years of listing.
Results
In the pre-LAS era, black patients were more likely than white to become too sick for transplantation or die within three years of wait list registration (43.8% vs. 30.8%; odds ratio [OR] 1.84; p<0.001). Race was not associated with death or becoming too sick while listed for transplantation in the LAS era (14.0% vs. 13.3%; OR 0.93; p=0.74). Black patients were less likely to undergo transplantation in the pre-LAS era (56.3% vs. 69.2%; OR 0.54; p<0.001) but not in the LAS era (86.0% vs. 86.7%; OR 1.07; p=0.74). Women were more likely than men to die or become too sick for transplantation within three years of listing in the LAS era (16.1% vs. 11.3%; OR 1.58; p<0.001), as compared to the pre-LAS era (33.4% vs. 30.7%; OR 1.19; p=0.08).
Conclusion
Racial disparities in lung transplantation have decreased with the implementation of LAS as the method of organ allocation; however, gender disparities may have actually increased in the LAS era.
doi:10.1016/j.healun.2013.03.005
PMCID: PMC3714222  PMID: 23582477
Lung Transplant; Disparities; LAS; Racial; Gender
2.  Structure of tumor necrosis factor-alpha haploblocks in European populations 
Immunogenetics  2013;65(7):543-552.
DNA variants in the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) and linked lymphotoxin-α genes, and specific alleles of the highly polymorphic human leukocyte antigen B (HLA-B) gene have been implicated in a plethora of immune and infectious diseases. However, the tight linkage disequilibrium characterizing the central region of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) containing these gene loci has made difficult the unequivocal interpretation of genetic association data.
To alleviate these difficulties and facilitate the design of more focused follow-up studies, we investigated the structure and distribution of HLA-B-specific MHC haplotypes reconstructed in a European population from unphased genotypes at a set of 25 single nucleotide polymorphism sites spanning a 66 kilobase-long region across TNF.
Consistent with the published data, we found limited genetic diversity across the so-called TNF block, with the emergence of seven common MHC haplotypes, termed TNF block super-haplotypes. We also found that the ancestral haplotype 8.1 shares a TNF block haplotype with HLA-B*4402. HLA-B*5701, a known protective allele in HIV-1 pathogenesis, occurred in a unique TNF block haplotype.
doi:10.1007/s00251-013-0700-2
PMCID: PMC3985396  PMID: 23579626
SNPs; TNF; LTA; HLA-B
3.  Allelic Dependent Expression of an Activating Fc receptor on B cells Enhances Humoral Immune Responses 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(216):216ra175.
B cells are pivotal regulators of acquired immune responses and recent work in both experimental murine models and humans has demonstrated that subtle changes in the regulation of B cell function can significantly alter immunological responses. The balance of negative and positive signals in maintaining an appropriate B cell activation threshold is critical in B lymphocyte immune tolerance and autoreactivity. FcγRIIb (CD32B), the only recognized Fcγ receptor on B cells, provides IgG-mediated negative modulation through a tyrosine-based inhibition motif which down-regulates B cell receptor initiated signaling. These properties make FcγRIIb a promising target for antibody-based therapy. Here we report the discovery of allele-dependent expression of the activating FcγRIIc on B cells. Identical to FcγRIIb in the extracellular domain, FcγRIIc has a tyrosine-based activation motif in its cytoplasmic domain. In both human B cells and in B cells from mice transgenic for human FcγRIIc, FcγRIIc expression counterbalances the negative feedback of FcγRIIb and enhances humoral responses to immunization in mice and to BioThrax® vaccination in a human Anthrax vaccine trial. Moreover, the FCGR2C-ORF allele is associated with the risk of development of autoimmunity in humans. FcγRIIc expression on B cells challenges the prevailing paradigm of uni-directional negative feedback by IgG immune complexes via the inhibitory FcγRIIb, is a previously unrecognized determinant in human antibody/autoantibody responses, and opens the opportunity for more precise personalized use of B cell targeted antibody-based therapy.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3007097
PMCID: PMC3982386  PMID: 24353158
4.  KIR2DS4 Promotes HIV-1 Pathogenesis: New Evidence from Analyses of Immunogenetic Data and Natural Killer Cell Function 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99353.
Background
KIR2DS4 gene variants encode full-length and truncated protein products, with only the former serving as membrane-bound receptors to activate natural killer (NK) cells. We have previously shown that full-length KIR2DS4 was associated with relatively high viral load and accelerated heterosexual HIV-1 transmission. Our objective here was to provide confirmatory data and to offer new insights about the potential mechanisms.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mixed models for repeated (longitudinal) outcome measurements on 207 HIV-1 seropositive American youth revealed an association of full-length KIR2DS4 with relatively high viral load and low CD4+ T-cell count (p<0.01 for both). Depending on KIR2DS4 expression (presence or absence) on cell surface, NK cells from 43 individuals with untreated, chronic HIV-1 infection often differed in functional properties, including degranulation and secretion of IFN-γ and MIP-1β. In particular, polyfunctional NK cells were enriched in the KIR2DS4-positive subset.
Conclusions/Significance
Full-length KIR2DS4 promotes HIV-1 pathogenesis during chronic infection, probably through the maintenance of an excessively pro-inflammatory state.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099353
PMCID: PMC4047121  PMID: 24901871
5.  Cytokine signaling pathway polymorphisms and AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(7):1025-1033.
Cytokine stimulation of B-cell proliferation may be an important etiologic mechanism for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Epstein-Barr virus may be a co-factor, particularly for primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, which are uniformly EBV-positive in the setting of AIDS. Thus, we examined associations of genetic variation in IL10 and related cytokine signaling molecules (IL10RA, CXCL12, IL13, IL4, IL4R, CCL5 and BCL6) with AIDS-related NHL risk and evaluated differences between primary CNS and systemic tumors. We compared 160 Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) participants with incident lymphomas, of which 90 followed another AIDS diagnosis, to HIV-1-seropositive controls matched on duration of lymphoma-free survival post-HIV-1 infection (N=160) or post-AIDS diagnosis (N=90). We fit conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95%CIs). Carriage of at least one copy of the T allele for the IL10 rs1800871 (as compared to no copies) was associated with decreased AIDS-NHL risk specific to lymphomas arising from the CNS (CC vs. CT/TT: OR=0.3; 95%CI: 0.1, 0.7) but not systemically (CC vs. CT/TT: OR=1.0; 95%CI: 0.5, 1.9) (Pheterogeneity=0.03). Carriage of two copies of the “low IL10” haplotype rs1800896_A/rs1800871_T/rs1800872_A was associated with decreased lymphoma risk that varied by number of copies (Ptrend=0.02). None of the ORs for the other studied polymorphisms was significantly different from 1.0. Excessive IL10 response to HIV-1 infection may be associated with increased risk of NHL, particularly in the CNS. IL10 dysregulation may be an important etiologic pathway for EBV-related lymphomagenesis.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328332d5b1
PMCID: PMC3950937  PMID: 20299965
cytokine; SNPs; AIDS-related lymphoma
6.  Human Leukocyte Antigens and Cellular Immune Responses to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(7):2584-2591.
Interindividual variations in vaccine-induced immune responses are in part due to host genetic polymorphisms in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and other gene families. This study examined associations between HLA genotypes, haplotypes, and homozygosity and protective antigen (PA)-specific cellular immune responses in healthy subjects following immunization with Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA). While limited associations were observed between individual HLA alleles or haplotypes and variable lymphocyte proliferative (LP) responses to AVA, analyses of homozygosity supported the hypothesis of a “heterozygote advantage.” Individuals who were homozygous for any HLA locus demonstrated significantly lower PA-specific LP than subjects who were heterozygous at all eight loci (median stimulation indices [SI], 1.84 versus 2.95, P = 0.009). Similarly, we found that class I (HLA-A) and class II (HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1) homozygosity was significantly associated with an overall decrease in LP compared with heterozygosity at those three loci. Specifically, individuals who were homozygous at these loci had significantly lower PA-specific LP than subjects heterozygous for HLA-A (median SI, 1.48 versus 2.13, P = 0.005), HLA-DQA1 (median SI, 1.75 versus 2.11, P = 0.007), and HLA-DQB1 (median SI, 1.48 versus 2.13, P = 0.002) loci, respectively. Finally, homozygosity at an increasing number (≥4) of HLA loci was significantly correlated with a reduction in LP response (P < 0.001) in a dose-dependent manner. Additional studies are needed to reproduce these findings and determine whether HLA-heterozygous individuals generate stronger cellular immune response to other virulence factors (Bacillus anthracis LF and EF) than HLA-homozygous subjects.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00269-13
PMCID: PMC3697592  PMID: 23649091
7.  HLA-B*57 versus HLA-B*81 in HIV-1 Infection: Slow and Steady Wins the Race? 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(7):4043-4051.
Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, HLA-B*57 and -B*81, are consistently known as favorable host factors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected Africans and African-Americans. In our analyses of prospective data from 538 recent HIV-1 seroconverters and cross-sectional data from 292 subjects with unknown duration of infection, HLA-B*57 (mostly B*57:03) and -B*81 (exclusively B*81:01) had mostly discordant associations with virologic and immunologic manifestations before antiretroviral therapy. Specifically, relatively low viral load (VL) in HLA-B*57-positive subjects (P ≤ 0.03 in various models) did not translate to early advantage in CD4+ T-cell (CD4) counts (P ≥ 0.37). In contrast, individuals with HLA-B*81 showed little deviation from the normal set point VL (P > 0.18) while maintaining high CD4 count during early and chronic infection (P = 0.01). These observations suggest that discordance between VL and CD4 count can occur in the presence of certain HLA alleles and that effective control of HIV-1 viremia is not always a prerequisite for favorable prognosis (delayed immunodeficiency). Of note, steady CD4 count associated with HLA-B*81 in HIV-1-infected Africans may depend on the country of origin, as observations differed slightly between subgroups enrolled in southern Africa (Zambia) and eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda).
doi:10.1128/JVI.03302-12
PMCID: PMC3624227  PMID: 23365442
8.  THE INFLUENCE OF HLA CLASS I ALLELES AND THEIR POPULATION FREQUENCIES ON HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS TYPE 1 CONTROL AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS 
Human immunology  2011;72(4):312-318.
Populations of African ancestry continue to account for a disproportionate burden of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic in the US. We investigated the effects of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I markers in association with virologic and immunologic control of HIV-1 infection among 338 HIV-1 subtype B-infected African Americans in two cohorts: REACH (Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health) and HERS (HIV Epidemiology Research Study). One-year treatment-free interval measurements of HIV-1 RNA viral loads and CD4+ T-cells were examined both separately and combined to represent three categories of HIV-1 disease control (76 “controllers,” 169 “intermediates,” and 93 “non-controllers”). Certain previously or newly implicated HLA class I alleles (A*32, A*36, A*74, B*14, B*1510, B*3501, B*45, B*53, B*57, Cw*04, Cw*08, Cw*12, and Cw*18) were associated with one or more of the endpoints in univariate analyses. After multivariable adjustments for other genetic and non-genetic risk factors of HIV-1 progression, the subset of alleles more strongly or consistently associated with HIV-1 disease control included A*32, A*74, B*14, B*45, B*53, B*57, and Cw*08. Carriage of infrequent HLA-B but not HLA-A alleles was associated with more favorable disease outcomes. Certain HLA class I associations with control of HIV-1 infection span the boundaries of race and viral subtype; while others appear confined within one or the other of those boundaries.
doi:10.1016/j.humimm.2011.01.003
PMCID: PMC3778654  PMID: 21262311
HLA class I; Allele frequency; HIV-1 control; African American
9.  A Genome-wide Association Study of Host Genetic Determinants of the Antibody Response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
Vaccine  2012;30(32):4778-4784.
Several lines of evidence have supported a host genetic contribution to vaccine response, but genome-wide assessments for specific determinants have been sparse. Here we describe a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of protective antigen-specific antibody (AbPA) responses among 726 European-Americans who received Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) as part of a clinical trial. After quality control, 736,996 SNPs were tested for association with the AbPA response to 3 or 4 AVA vaccinations given over a 6-month period. No SNP achieved the threshold of genome-wide significance (p=5x10−8), but suggestive associations (p<1x10−5) were observed for SNPs in or near the class II region of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), in the promoter region of SPSB1, and adjacent to MEX3C. Multivariable regression modeling suggested that much of the association signal within the MHC corresponded to previously identified HLA DR-DQ haplotypes involving component HLA-DRB1 alleles of *15:01, *01:01, or *01:02. We estimated the proportion of additive genetic variance explained by common SNP variation for the AbPA response after the 6 month vaccination. This analysis indicated a significant, albeit imprecisely estimated, contribution of variation tagged by common polymorphisms (p=0.032). Future studies will be required to replicate these findings in European Americans and to further elucidate the host genetic factors underlying variable immune response to AVA.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.05.032
PMCID: PMC3387748  PMID: 22658931
Anthrax vaccines; Bacillus anthracis; bacterial vaccines; vaccination; Genome-wide association study
10.  Cumulative Impact of Host and Viral Factors on HIV-1 Viral-Load Control during Early Infection 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(2):708-715.
In HIV-1 infection, the early set-point viral load strongly predicts both viral transmission and disease progression. The factors responsible for the wide spectrum of set-point viral loads are complex and likely reflect an interplay between the transmitted virus and genetically defined factors in both the transmitting source partner and the seroconverter. Indeed, analysis of 195 transmission pairs from Lusaka, Zambia, revealed that the viral loads in transmitting source partners contributed only ∼2% of the variance in early set-point viral loads of seroconverters (P = 0.046 by univariable analysis). In multivariable models, early set-point viral loads in seroconverting partners were a complex function of (i) the viral load in the source partner, (ii) the gender of the seroconverter, (iii) specific HLA class I alleles in the newly infected partner, and (iv) sharing of HLA-I alleles between partners in a transmission pair. Each of these factors significantly and independently contributed to the set-point viral load in the newly infected partner, accounting for up to 37% of the variance observed and suggesting that many factors operate in concert to define the early virological phenotype in HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02118-12
PMCID: PMC3554094  PMID: 23115285
11.  HLA-B Signal Peptide Polymorphism Influences the Rate of HIV-1 Acquisition but Not Viral Load 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(12):1797-1805.
Human leukocyte antigen alleles influence the immune response to HIV-1. Signal peptides cleaved from those alleles bind to HLA-E and mediate natural killer cell function. Signal peptides of HLA-A and HLA-C proteins carry methionine (Met) at anchor position 2 (P2); those of HLA-B carry Met or threonine (Thr). Different P2 residues alter HLA-E binding to its cognate receptors and may impact HIV-1 acquisition. Among Zambian couples (N = 566) serodiscordant for HIV-1, P2-Met accelerated acquisition in the HIV-1-negative partner (relative hazard [RH], 1.79). Among seroconverting Zambian (n = 240) and Rwandan (n = 64) partners, P2-Met also accelerated acquisition (RH, 1.47 and RH, 1.83 respectively). HLA-B alleles displaying the reportedly protective Bw4 epitope carry P2-Thr. Bw4/P2-Thr and Bw6/P2-Thr showed similar protective effects compared with Bw6/P2-Met. Neither motif was associated with viral load. The influence of HLA-B alleles on HIV/AIDS may derive from multiple motifs in and beyond the mature proteins.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis275
PMCID: PMC3571229  PMID: 22492862
12.  Role of Activating FcγR Gene Polymorphisms in Kawasaki Disease Susceptibility and Intravenous Immunoglobulin Response 
Background
A functional polymorphism in the inhibitory IgG-Fc receptor FcγRIIB influences intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) response in Kawasaki Disease (KD) a vasculitis preferentially affecting the coronary arteries in children. We tested the hypothesis that the polymorphisms in the activating receptors (Fcγ RIIA, Fcγ RIIIA and Fcγ RIIIB) also influence susceptibility, IVIG treatment response, and coronary artery disease (CAD) in KD patients.
Methods and Results
We genotyped polymorphisms in the activating FcγRIIA, FcγRIIIA and FcγRIIIB genes using pyrosequencing in 443 KD patients, including 266 trios and 150 single parent-child pairs, in northwest US and genetically determined race with 155 ancestry information markers. We used the FBAT program to test for transmission disequilibrium and further generated pseudo-sibling controls for comparisons to the cases. The FcγRIIA-131H variant showed an association with KD (p = 0.001) with ORadditive = 1.51 [1.16–1.96], p = 0.002) for the primary combined population, which persisted in both Caucasian (p = .04) and Asian (p = .01) subgroups and is consistent with the recent genome-wide association study. We also identified over-transmission of FcγRIIIB-NA1 among IVIG non-responders (p = 0.0002), and specifically to Caucasian IVIG non-responders (p = 0.007). Odds ratios for overall and Caucasian non-responders were respectively 3.67 [1.75–7.66], p = 0.0006 and 3.60 [1.34–9.70], p = 0.01. Excess NA1 transmission also occurred to KD with CAD (ORadditive = 2.13 [1.11–4.0], p = 0.02).
Conclusion
A common variation in FcγRIIA is associated with increased KD susceptibility. The FcγRIIIB-NA1, which confers higher affinity for IgG compared to NA2, is a determining factor for treatment response. These activating FcγRs play an important role in KD pathogenesis and mechanism of IVIG anti-inflammatory.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.111.962464
PMCID: PMC3444514  PMID: 22565545
coronary disease; pediatrics; Kawasaki disease; IVIG treatment response; FcγR
13.  Genomic Copy Number Variants: Evidence for Association with Antibody Response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64813.
Background
Anthrax and its etiologic agent remain a biological threat. Anthrax vaccine is highly effective, but vaccine-induced IgG antibody responses vary widely following required doses of vaccinations. Such variation can be related to genetic factors, especially genomic copy number variants (CNVs) that are known to be enriched among genes with immunologic function. We have tested this hypothesis in two study populations from a clinical trial of anthrax vaccination.
Methods
We performed CNV-based genome-wide association analyses separately on 794 European Americans and 200 African-Americans. Antibodies to protective antigen were measured at week 8 (early response) and week 30 (peak response) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used DNA microarray data (Affymetrix 6.0) and two CNV detection algorithms, hidden markov model (PennCNV) and circular binary segmentation (GeneSpring) to determine CNVs in all individuals. Multivariable regression analyses were used to identify CNV-specific associations after adjusting for relevant non-genetic covariates.
Results
Within the 22 autosomal chromosomes, 2,943 non-overlapping CNV regions were detected by both algorithms. Genomic insertions containing HLA-DRB5, DRB1 and DQA1/DRA genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region (chromosome 6p21.3) were moderately associated with elevated early antibody response (β = 0.14, p = 1.78×10−3) among European Americans, and the strongest association was observed between peak antibody response and a segmental insertion on chromosome 1, containing NBPF4, NBPF5, STXMP3, CLCC1, and GPSM2 genes (β = 1.66, p = 6.06×10−5). For African-Americans, segmental deletions spanning PRR20, PCDH17 and PCH68 genes on chromosome 13 were associated with elevated early antibody production (β = 0.18, p = 4.47×10−5). Population-specific findings aside, one genomic insertion on chromosome 17 (containing NSF, ARL17 and LRRC37A genes) was associated with elevated peak antibody response in both populations.
Conclusion
Multiple CNV regions, including the one consisting of MHC genes that is consistent with earlier research, can be important to humoral immune responses to anthrax vaccine adsorbed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064813
PMCID: PMC3669407  PMID: 23741398
14.  Genetic Variations and Heterosexual HIV-1 Infection: Analysis of Clustered Genes Encoding CC-motif Chemokine Ligands 
Genes and immunity  2011;13(2):202-205.
Several CC-motif chemokine ligands (CCLs) can block HIV-1 binding sites on CC-motif chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) and inhibit viral entry. We studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding three CCR5 ligands [CCL3 (MIP-1α), CCL4 (MIP-1β), and CCL5 (RANTES)] along with an adjacent gene encoding a CCR2 ligand [CCL2 (MCP-1)] to identify candidate markers for HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis. Analyses of 567 HIV-1 serodiscordant Zambian couples revealed that rs5029410C (in CCL3 intron 2) was associated with lower viral load (VL) in seroconverters, adjusted for gender and age (regression β=−0.57 log10, P=4×10−6). In addition, rs34171309A in CCL3 exon 3 was associated with increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in exposed seronegatives (hazard ratio=1.52, P=0.006 when adjusted for donor VL and genital ulcer/inflammation). The CCL3 exon 3 SNP, encoding a conservative Glu-to-Asp substitution, and five neighboring SNPs in tight linkage disequilibrium all showed similar associations with HIV-1 acquisition. How these multiple CCL3 SNPs may alter the occurrence or course of HIV-1 infection remains to be determined.
doi:10.1038/gene.2011.70
PMCID: PMC3559129  PMID: 21975429
HIV-1 transmission; CCL2; CCL3; CCL4; CCL5; SNP
15.  Role of Transmitted Gag CTL Polymorphisms in Defining Replicative Capacity and Early HIV-1 Pathogenesis 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(11):e1003041.
Initial studies of 88 transmission pairs in the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project cohort demonstrated that the number of transmitted HLA-B associated polymorphisms in Gag, but not Nef, was negatively correlated to set point viral load (VL) in the newly infected partners. These results suggested that accumulation of CTL escape mutations in Gag might attenuate viral replication and provide a clinical benefit during early stages of infection. Using a novel approach, we have cloned gag sequences isolated from the earliest seroconversion plasma sample from the acutely infected recipient of 149 epidemiologically linked Zambian transmission pairs into a primary isolate, subtype C proviral vector, MJ4. We determined the replicative capacity (RC) of these Gag-MJ4 chimeras by infecting the GXR25 cell line and quantifying virion production in supernatants via a radiolabeled reverse transcriptase assay. We observed a statistically significant positive correlation between RC conferred by the transmitted Gag sequence and set point VL in newly infected individuals (p = 0.02). Furthermore, the RC of Gag-MJ4 chimeras also correlated with the VL of chronically infected donors near the estimated date of infection (p = 0.01), demonstrating that virus replication contributes to VL in both acute and chronic infection. These studies also allowed for the elucidation of novel sites in Gag associated with changes in RC, where rare mutations had the greatest effect on fitness. Although we observed both advantageous and deleterious rare mutations, the latter could point to vulnerable targets in the HIV-1 genome. Importantly, RC correlated significantly (p = 0.029) with the rate of CD4+ T cell decline over the first 3 years of infection in a manner that is partially independent of VL, suggesting that the replication capacity of HIV-1 during the earliest stages of infection is a determinant of pathogenesis beyond what might be expected based on set point VL alone.
Author Summary
In the majority of HIV-1 cases, a single virus establishes infection. However, mutations in the viral genome accumulate over time in order to avoid recognition by the host immune response. Certain mutations in the main structural protein, Gag, driven by cytotoxic T lymphocytes are detrimental to viral replication, and we showed previously that, upon transmission, viruses with higher numbers of escape mutations in Gag were associated with lower early set point viral loads. We hypothesized that this could be attributed to attenuation of the transmitted virus. Here, we have cloned the gag gene from 149 newly infected individuals from linked transmission pairs into a clade C proviral vector and determined the replicative capacity in vitro. We found that the replicative capacity conferred by the transmitted Gag correlated with set point viral loads in newly infected individuals, as well as with the viral load of the transmitting partner, and we identified previously unrecognized residues associated with increasing and decreasing replicative capacity. Importantly, we demonstrate that transmitted viruses with high replicative capacity cause more rapid CD4+ decline over the first three years, independent of viral load. This suggests that the trajectory of pathogenesis may be affected very early in infection, before adaptive immunity can respond.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003041
PMCID: PMC3510241  PMID: 23209412
16.  B cell-stimulatory cytokines and markers of immune activation are elevated several years prior to the diagnosis of systemic AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma 
Background
The risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is greatly increased in HIV infection. The aim of this study was to determine if elevated serum levels of molecules associated with B cell activation precede the diagnosis of AIDS-associated NHL.
Methods
Serum levels of B cell activation-associated molecules, interleukin-6 (IL6), interleukin-10 (IL10), soluble CD23 (sCD23), soluble CD27 (sCD27), soluble CD30 (sCD30), C-reactive protein (CRP), and IgE were determined in 179 NHL cases and HIV+ controls in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, collected at up to three time points per subject, 0–5 years prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis.
Results
Serum IL6, IL10, CRP, sCD23, sCD27, and sCD30 levels were all significantly elevated in the AIDS-NHL group, when compared to HIV+ controls or to AIDS controls, after adjusting for CD4 T cell number. Elevated serum levels of B cell activation-associated molecules were seen to be associated with the development of systemic (non-CNS) NHL, but not with the development of primary CNS lymphoma.
Conclusions
Levels of certain B cell stimulatory cytokines and molecules associated with immune activation are elevated for several years preceding the diagnosis of systemic AIDS-NHL. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that chronic B cell activation contributes to the development of these hematologic malignancies.
Impact
Marked differences in serum levels of several molecules are seen for several years pre-diagnosis in those who eventually develop AIDS-NHL. Some of these molecules may serve as candidate biomarkers and provide valuable information to better define the etiology of NHL.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0037
PMCID: PMC3132317  PMID: 21527584
lymphoma; B cell; cytokines; AIDS; immune activation
17.  The Role of HLA DR-DQ Haplotypes in Variable Antibody Responses to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
Genes and immunity  2011;12(6):457-465.
Host genetic variation, particularly within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) loci, reportedly mediates heterogeneity in immune response to certain vaccines; however, no large study of genetic determinants of anthrax vaccine response has been described. We searched for associations between the IgG antibody to protective antigen (AbPA) response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) in humans and polymorphisms at HLA class I (HLA-A, -B, and -C) and class II (HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, -DQB1, -DPB1) loci. The study included 794 European-Americans and 200 African-Americans participating in a 43-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of AVA (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00119067). Among European-Americans, genes from tightly linked HLA-DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes displayed significant overall associations with longitudinal variation in AbPA levels at 4, 8, 26, and 30 weeks from baseline in response to vaccination with 3 or 4 doses of AVA (global p=6.53×10−4). In particular, carriage of the DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes *1501-*0102-*0602 (p=1.17×10−5), *0101-*0101-*0501 (p=0.009), and *0102-*0101-*0501 (p=0.006) was associated with significantlylower AbPA levels. In carriers of two copies of these haplotypes, lower AbPA levels persisted following subsequent vaccinations. No significant associations were observed amongst African-Americans or for any HLA class I allele/haplotype. Further studies will be required to replicate these findings and to explore the role of host genetic variation outside of the HLA region.
doi:10.1038/gene.2011.15
PMCID: PMC3165112  PMID: 21368772
Anthrax vaccines; Bacillus anthracis; Bacterial vaccines; Vaccination; HLA Antigens
18.  Human Leukocyte Antigen Variants B*44 and B*57 Are Consistently Favorable during Two Distinct Phases of Primary HIV-1 Infection in Sub-Saharan Africans with Several Viral Subtypes▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(17):8894-8902.
As part of an ongoing study of early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in sub-Saharan African countries, we have identified 134 seroconverters (SCs) with distinct acute-phase (peak) and early chronic-phase (set-point) viremias. SCs with class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants B*44 and B*57 had much lower peak viral loads (VLs) than SCs without these variants (adjusted linear regression beta values of −1.08 ± 0.26 log10 [mean ± standard error] and −0.83 ± 0.27 log10, respectively; P < 0.005 for both), after accounting for several nongenetic factors, including gender, age at estimated date of infection, duration of infection, and country of origin. These findings were confirmed by alternative models in which major viral subtypes (A1, C, and others) in the same SCs replaced country of origin as a covariate (P ≤ 0.03). Both B*44 and B*57 were also highly favorable (P ≤ 0.03) in analyses of set-point VLs. Moreover, B*44 was associated with relatively high CD4+ T-cell counts during early chronic infection (P = 0.02). Thus, at least two common HLA-B variants showed strong influences on acute-phase as well as early chronic-phase VL, regardless of the infecting viral subtype. If confirmed, the identification of B*44 as another favorable marker in primary HIV-1 infection should help dissect mechanisms of early immune protection against HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00439-11
PMCID: PMC3165830  PMID: 21715491
19.  Impact of a Functional KIR2DS4 Allele on Heterosexual HIV-1 Transmission among Discordant Zambian Couples 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(4):487-495.
Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and their HLA ligands interact to regulate natural killer (NK) cell function. KIR gene content and allelic variations are reported to influence human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection and pathogenesis. We investigated the impact of KIR genes on heterosexual HIV-1 transmission among 566 discordant couples from Lusaka, Zambia. KIR2DS4*001, the only allele of KIR2DS4 known to encode a functional activating receptor, was associated with relatively high viral load for HIV-1 in index (HIV-1 seroprevalent) partners (β [standard error (SE)], .17 [.8] log10; P = .04) and with accelerated transmission of HIV-1 to cohabiting seronegative partners (relative hazard [RH], 2.00; P = .004). The latter association was independent of the direction of transmission (male-to-female or female-to-male), genital ulcers, and carriage of the putative ligand (HLA-Cw*04). No KIR-gene variant in the initially seronegative partners was associated with HIV-1 acquisition or early viral load following seroconversion. Further analysis of NK cell function should clarify the role of KIR2DS4*001 in HIV-1 transmission.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jiq075
PMCID: PMC3071217  PMID: 21216870
20.  Disparate Associations of HLA Class I Markers with HIV-1 Acquisition and Control of Viremia in an African Population 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23469.
Background
Acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is mediated by a combination of characteristics of the infectious and the susceptible member of a transmission pair, including human behavioral and genetic factors, as well as viral fitness and tropism. Here we report on the impact of established and potential new HLA class I determinants of heterosexual HIV-1 acquisition in the HIV-1-exposed seronegative (HESN) partners of serodiscordant Zambian couples.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We assessed the relationships of behavioral and clinically documented risk factors, index partner viral load, and host genetic markers to HIV-1 transmission among 568 cohabiting couples followed for at least nine months. We genotyped subjects for three classical HLA class I genes known to influence immune control of HIV-1 infection. From 1995 to December 2006, 240 HESNs seroconverted and 328 remained seronegative. In Cox proportional hazards models, HLA-A*68:02 and the B*42-C*17 haplotype in HESN partners were significantly and independently associated with faster HIV-1 acquisition (relative hazards = 1.57 and 1.55; p = 0.007 and 0.013, respectively) after controlling for other previously established contributing factors in the index partner (viral load and specific class I alleles), in the HESN partner (age, gender), or in the couple (behavioral and clinical risk score). Few if any previously implicated class I markers were associated here with the rate of acquiring infection.
Conclusions/Significance
A few HLA class I markers showed modest effects on acquisition of HIV-1 subtype C infection in HESN partners of discordant Zambian couples. However, the striking disparity between those few markers and the more numerous, different markers found to determine HIV-1 disease course makes it highly unlikely that, whatever the influence of class I variation on the rate of infection, the mechanism mediating that phenomenon is identical to that involved in disease control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023469
PMCID: PMC3157381  PMID: 21858133
21.  Adaptation of HIV-1 to human leukocyte antigen class I 
Nature  2009;458(7238):641-645.
The rapid and extensive spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic provides a rare opportunity to witness host–pathogen co-evolution involving humans. A focal point is the interaction between genes encoding human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and those encoding HIV proteins. HLA molecules present fragments (epitopes) of HIV proteins on the surface of infected cells to enable immune recognition and killing by CD8+ T cells; particular HLA molecules, such as HLA-B*57, HLA-B*27 and HLA-B*51, are more likely to mediate successful control of HIV infection1. Mutation within these epitopes can allow viral escape from CD8+ T-cell recognition. Here we analysed viral sequences and HLA alleles from >2,800 subjects, drawn from 9 distinct study cohorts spanning 5 continents. Initial analysis of the HLA-B*51-restricted epitope, TAFTIPSI (reverse transcriptase residues 128–135), showed a strong correlation between the frequency of the escape mutation I135X and HLA-B*51 prevalence in the 9 study cohorts (P = 0.0001). Extending these analyses to incorporate other well-defined CD8+ T-cell epitopes, including those restricted by HLA-B*57 and HLA-B*27, showed that the frequency of these epitope variants (n = 14) was consistently correlated with the prevalence of the restricting HLA allele in the different cohorts (together, P < 0.0001), demonstrating strong evidence of HIV adaptation to HLA at a population level. This process of viral adaptation may dismantle the well-established HLA associations with control of HIV infection that are linked to the availability of key epitopes, and highlights the challenge for a vaccine to keep pace with the changing immunological landscape presented by HIV.
doi:10.1038/nature07746
PMCID: PMC3148020  PMID: 19242411
22.  Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Serum DNA and Antibodies Not Associated With Subsequent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk 
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) infects B-cells and is found in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) B-cell tumors and could therefore contribute to the occurrence of NHL. We performed a nested case–control study including 155 incident NHL cases and matched noncancer controls. Pre-NHL serum was tested for KSHV DNA and antibodies. Serum KSHV DNA was more common in cases than controls (14% versus 6%, P = 0.03), but after adjustment, the difference was not significant. Epstein-Barr virus serum DNA was similarly unassociated with NHL as were KSHV antibodies. KSHV is not a primary cause of NHL in HIV-infected men who have sex with men.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181ff976b
PMCID: PMC3073851  PMID: 21116187
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirusp; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; MACS; human herpesvirus 8; DNA; AIDS cancer
23.  Association of chemokine receptor gene (CCR2-CCR5) haplotypes with acquisition and control of HIV-1 infection in Zambians 
Retrovirology  2011;8:22.
Background
Polymorphisms in chemokine (C-C motif) receptors 2 and 5 genes (CCR2 and CCR5) have been associated with HIV-1 infection and disease progression. We investigated the impact of CCR2-CCR5 haplotypes on HIV-1 viral load (VL) and heterosexual transmission in an African cohort. Between 1995 and 2006, cohabiting Zambian couples discordant for HIV-1 (index seropositive and HIV-1 exposed seronegative {HESN}) were monitored prospectively to determine the role of host genetic factors in HIV-1 control and heterosexual transmission. Genotyping for eight CCR2 and CCR5 variants resolved nine previously recognized haplotypes. By regression and survival analytic techniques, controlling for non-genetic factors, we estimated the effects of these haplotypic variants on a) index partner VL, b) seroconverter VL, c) HIV-1 transmission by index partners, d) HIV-1 acquisition by HESN partners.
Results
Among 567 couples, 240 virologically linked transmission events had occurred through 2006. HHF*2 homozygosity was associated with significantly lower VL in seroconverters (mean beta = -0.58, log10 P = 0.027) and the HHD/HHE diplotype was associated with significantly higher VL in the seroconverters (mean beta = 0.54, log10 P = 0.014) adjusted for age and gender in multivariable model. HHD/HHE was associated with more rapid acquisition of infection by the HESNs (HR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.20-3.43, P = 0.008), after adjustments for index partner VL and the presence of genital ulcer or inflammation in either partner in Cox multivariable models. The HHD/HHE effect was stronger in exposed females (HR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.14-3.95, P = 0.018).
Conclusions
Among Zambian discordant couples, HIV-1 coreceptor gene haplotypes and diplotypes appear to modulate HIV-1 VL in seroconverters and alter the rate of HIV-1 acquisition by HESNs. These associations replicate or resemble findings reported in other African and European populations.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-8-22
PMCID: PMC3075214  PMID: 21429204
24.  The Major Histocompatibility Complex Conserved Extended Haplotype 8.1 in AIDS-related Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 
Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in adjacent genes, lymphotoxin alpha (LTA +252G, rs909253 A>G) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF −308A, rs1800629 G>A), form the G-A haplotype repeatedly associated with increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in individuals uninfected with HIV-1. This association has been observed alone or in combination with HLA-B* 08 or HLA-DRB1*03 in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Which gene variant on this highly conserved extended haplotype (CEH 8.1) in Caucasians most likely represents a true etiologic factor remains uncertain. We aimed to determine whether the reported association of the G-A haplotype of LTA-TNF with non-AIDS NHL also occurs with AIDS-related NHL. SNPs in LTA and TNF and in six other genes nearby were typed in 140 non-Hispanic European American pairs of AIDS-NHL cases and matched controls selected from HIV-infected men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. The G-A haplotype and a 4-SNP haplotype in the neighboring gene cluster (rs537160 (A) rs1270942 (G), rs2072633 (A) and rs6467 (C)) were associated with AIDS-NHL (OR=2.7, 95% CI: 1.5–4.8, p=0.0009 and OR=3.2, 95% CI: 1.6–6.6 p=0.0008; respectively). These two haplotypes occur in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other on CEH 8.1. The CEH 8.1-specific haplotype association of MHC class III variants with AIDS-NHL closely resembles that observed for non-AIDS NHL. Corroboration of an MHC determinant of AIDS and non-AIDS NHL alike would imply an important pathogenetic mechanism common to both.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181b017d5
PMCID: PMC3015185  PMID: 19654554
Human Leukocyte Antigen; HIV; CD4; Multicenter AIDS Cohort NHL Study
25.  Interleukin-10 (IL-10) Pathway: Genetic Variants and Outcomes of HIV-1 Infection in African American Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13384.
Background
Immunological and clinical outcomes can vary considerably at the individual and population levels during both treated and untreated HIV-1 infection. Cytokines encoded by the interleukin-10 gene (IL10) family have broad immunomodulatory function in viral persistence, and several SNPs in the IL10 promoter sequence have been reported to influence pathogenesis or acquisition of HIV-1 infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined 104 informative SNPs in IL10, IL19, IL20, IL24, IL10RA and IL10RB among 250 HIV-1 seropositive and 106 high-risk seronegative African American adolescents in the REACH cohort. In subsequent evaluation of five different immunological and virological outcomes related to HIV-1 infection, 25 SNPs were associated with a single outcome and three were associated with two different outcomes. One SNP, rs2243191 in the IL19 open reading frame (Ser to Phe substitution) was associated with CD4+ T-cell increase during treatment. Another SNP rs2244305 in IL10RB (in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs443498) was associated with an initial decrease in CD4+ T-cell by 23±9% and 29±9% every 3 months (for AA and AG genotypes, respectively, compared with GG) during ART-free period. These associations were reversed during treatment, as CD4+ T-cell increased by 31±0.9% and 17±8% every 3 months for AA and AG genotype, respectively.
Conclusions/Significance
In African Americans, variants in IL10 and related genes might influence multiple outcomes of HIV-1 infection, especially immunological response to HAART. Fine mapping coupled with analysis of gene expression and function should help reveal the immunological importance of the IL10 gene family to HIV-1/AIDS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013384
PMCID: PMC2954785  PMID: 20976276

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