The authors test the hypothesis that vocal fold morphology and biomechanical properties covary with species-specific vocal function. They investigate mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) vocal folds, building on, and extending data on a related cervid, the Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni). The mule deer, in contrast to the elk, is a species with relatively little vocal activity in adult animals. Mule deer and elk vocal folds show the typical three components of the mammalian vocal fold (epithelium, lamina propria and thyroarytenoid muscle). The vocal fold epithelium and the lamina propria were investigated in two sets of tensile tests. First, creep rupture tests demonstrated that ultimate stress in mule deer lamina propria is of the same magnitude as in elk. Second, cyclic loading tests revealed similar elastic moduli for the vocal fold epithelium in mule deer and elk. The elastic modulus of the lamina propria is also similar between the two species in the low-strain region, but differs at strains larger than 0.3. Sex differences in the stress–strain response, which have been reported for elk and human vocal folds, were not found for mule deer vocal folds. The laminae propriae in mule deer and elk vocal folds are comparatively large. In general, a thick and uniformly stiff lamina propria does not self-oscillate well, even when high subglottic pressure is applied. If the less stiff vocal fold seen in elk is associated with a differentiated lamina propria it would allow the vocal fold to vibrate at high tension and high subglottic pressure. The results of this study support the hypothesis that viscoelastic properties of vocal folds varies with function and vocal behavior.
larynx; vocal ligament; stress–strain response; cervidae; bioacoustics; mammals; source-filter theory; Young's modulus
We report the molecular identification, cloning and initial biological characterization of 12 full-length HIV-1 subtype A, D and A/D recombinant transmitted/founder (T/F) genomes. T/F genomes contained intact canonical open reading frames and all T/F viruses were replication competent in primary human T-cells, although subtype D virus replication was more efficient (p<0.05). All 12 viruses utilized CCR5 but not CXCR4 as a co-receptor for entry and exhibited a neutralization profile typical of tier 2 primary virus strains, with significant differences observed between subtype A and D viruses with respect to sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies VRC01, PG9 and PG16 and polyclonal subtype C anti-HIV IgG (p<0.05 for each). The present report doubles the number of T/F HIV-1 clones available for pathogenesis and vaccine research and extends their representation to include subtypes A, B, C and D.
HIV-1; transmitted/founder virus; single genome sequencing; HIV-1 transmission; HIV-1 subtype A; HIV-1 subtype D; neutralizing antibodies
Immature capsids of the Betaretrovirus, Mason-Pfizer Monkey virus (M-PMV), are assembled in the pericentriolar region of the cell, and are then transported to the plasma membrane for budding. Although several studies, utilizing mutagenesis, biochemistry, and immunofluorescence, have defined the role of some viral and host cells factors involved in these processes, they have the disadvantage of population analysis, rather than analyzing individual capsid movement in real time. In this study, we created an M-PMV vector in which the enhanced green fluorescent protein, eGFP, was fused to the carboxyl-terminus of the M-PMV Gag polyprotein, to create a Gag-GFP fusion that could be visualized in live cells. In order to express this fusion protein in the context of an M-PMV proviral backbone, it was necessary to codon-optimize gag, optimize the Kozak sequence preceding the initiating methionine, and mutate an internal methionine codon to one for alanine (M100A) to prevent internal initiation of translation. Co-expression of this pSARM-Gag-GFP-M100A vector with a WT M-PMV provirus resulted in efficient assembly and release of capsids. Results from fixed-cell immunofluorescence and pulse-chase analyses of wild type and mutant Gag-GFP constructs demonstrated comparable intracellular localization and release of capsids to untagged counterparts. Real-time, live-cell visualization and analysis of the GFP-tagged capsids provided strong evidence for a role for microtubules in the intracellular transport of M-PMV capsids. Thus, this M-PMV Gag-GFP vector is a useful tool for identifying novel virus-cell interactions involved in intracellular M-PMV capsid transport in a dynamic, real-time system.
A critical step in HIV-1 transmission studies is the rapid and accurate identification of epidemiologically linked transmission pairs. To date, this has been accomplished by comparison of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified nucleotide sequences from potential transmission pairs, which can be cost-prohibitive for use in resource-limited settings. Here we describe a rapid, cost-effective approach to determine transmission linkage based on the heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA), and validate this approach by comparison to nucleotide sequencing. A total of 102 HIV-1-infected Zambian and Rwandan couples, with known linkage, were analyzed by gp41-HMA. A 400-base pair fragment within the envelope gp41 region of the HIV proviral genome was PCR amplified and HMA was applied to both partners' amplicons separately (autologous) and as a mixture (heterologous). If the diversity between gp41 sequences was low (<5%), a homoduplex was observed upon gel electrophoresis and the transmission was characterized as having occurred between partners (linked). If a new heteroduplex formed, within the heterologous migration, the transmission was determined to be unlinked. Initial blind validation of gp-41 HMA demonstrated 90% concordance between HMA and sequencing with 100% concordance in the case of linked transmissions. Following validation, 25 newly infected partners in Kigali and 12 in Lusaka were evaluated prospectively using both HMA and nucleotide sequences. Concordant results were obtained in all but one case (97.3%). The gp41-HMA technique is a reliable and feasible tool to detect linked transmissions in the field. All identified unlinked results should be confirmed by sequence analyses.
We determined the solution structure of myristoylated Mason-Pfizer monkey virus matrix protein by NMR spectroscopy. The myristoyl group is buried inside the protein and causes a slight reorientation of the helices. This reorientation leads to the creation of a binding site for phosphatidylinositols. The interaction between the matrix protein and phosphatidylinositols carrying C8 fatty acid chains was monitored by observation of concentration-dependent chemical shift changes of the affected amino acid residues, a saturation transfer difference experiment and changes in 31P chemical shifts. No differences in the binding mode or affinity were observed with differently phosphorylated phosphatidylinositols. The structure of the matrix protein–phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2] complex was then calculated with HADDOCK software based on the intermolecular nuclear Overhauser enhancement contacts between the ligand and the matrix protein obtained from a 13C-filtered/13C-edited nuclear Overhauser enhancement spectroscopy experiment. PI(4,5)P2 binding was not strong enough for triggering of the myristoyl-switch. The structural changes of the myristoylated matrix protein were also found to result in a drop in the oligomerization capacity of the protein.
retrovirus; M-PMV; myristoylated; protein structure; phosphatidylinositol
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).
Most retroviruses employ a frameshift mechanism during polyprotein synthesis to balance appropriate ratios of structural proteins and enzymes. To investigate the requirements for individual precursors in retrovirus assembly, we modified the polyprotein repertoire of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) by mutating the frameshift sites to imitate the polyprotein organization of Rous sarcoma virus (Gag-Pro and Gag-Pro-Pol) or Human immunodeficiency virus (Gag and Gag-Pro-Pol). For the “Rous-like” virus, assembly was impaired with no incorporation of Gag-Pro-Pol into particles and for the “HIV-like” virus an altered morphogenesis was observed. A mutant expressing Gag and Gag-Pro polyproteins and lacking Gag-Pro-Pol assembled intracellular particles at a level similar to the wild-type. Gag-Pro-Pol polyprotein alone neither formed immature particles nor processed the precursor. All the mutants were non-infectious except the “HIV-like”, which retained fractional infectivity.
Ribosomal frameshift; Retrovirus; Assembly; Mason-Pfizer monkey virus; Capsid
Retroviral capsid protein (CA) mediates protein interactions driving the assembly of both immature viral particles and the core of the mature virions. Structurally conserved N-terminal domains of several retroviruses refold after proteolytic cleavage into a β-hairpin, stabilized by a salt bridge between conserved N-terminal Pro and Asp residues. Based on comparison with other retroviral CA, we identified Asp50 and Asp57 as putative interacting partners for Pro1 in Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) CA. To investigate the importance of CA Pro1 and its interacting Asp in M-PMV core assembly and infectivity, P1A, P1Y, D50A, T54A and D57A mutations were introduced into M-PMV. The P1A and D57A mutations partially blocked Gag processing and the released viral particles exhibited aberrant cores and were non-infectious. These data indicate that the region spanning residues Asp50–Asp57 plays an important role in stabilization of the β-hairpin and that Asp57 likely forms a salt-bridge with P1 in M-PMV CA.
Retrovirus; Assembly; Capsid protein; M-PMV; β-hairpin
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.
The aim of the study was to investigate how a child’s fundamental frequency (F0) and estimated voice level (dB SPL) change in distinct speaking environments.
A child (5 years, 7 months) wore a National Center for Voice and Speech voice dosimeter for four days. The two parameters used were F0 and dB SPL. During analysis, the F0 and dB SPL data were segmented to represent four typical speaking environments of school-age children:  free-play (2.5 hours);  preschool (3 hours);  home (10.7 hours); and  adult (5.6 hours). Unique to this study, the child’s voice data were presented as Voice Use Profiles.
The child’s F0 and dB SPL patterns within an adult environment were similar to that found in the literature, but showed much greater variation in the free-play environment. The preschool environment elicited a lower modal F0 than did the home, but a higher median and mean F0, as well as a somewhat elevated mean dB SPL.
The child produced significantly different F0 and dB SPL patterns across four different speaking environments. If future studies substantiate this pattern, clinicians and researchers must be aware of this difference when working with children.
fundamental frequency; voice level; child; voice use
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.
Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a safe, attenuated orthopoxvirus that is being developed as a vaccine vector but has demonstrated limited immunogenicity in several early-phase clinical trials. Our objective was to rationally improve the immunogenicity of MVA-based HIV/AIDS vaccines via the targeted deletion of specific poxvirus immune-modulatory genes. Vaccines expressing codon-optimized HIV subtype C consensus Env and Gag antigens were generated from MVA vector backbones that (i) harbor simultaneous deletions of four viral immune-modulatory genes, encoding an interleukin-18 (IL-18) binding protein, an IL-1β receptor, a dominant negative Toll/IL-1 signaling adapter, and CC-chemokine binding protein (MVAΔ4-HIV); (ii) harbor a deletion of an additional (fifth) viral gene, encoding uracil-DNA glycosylase (MVAΔ5-HIV); or (iii) represent the parental MVA backbone as a control (MVA-HIV). We performed head-to-head comparisons of the cellular and humoral immune responses that were elicited by these vectors during homologous prime-boost immunization regimens utilizing either high-dose (2 × 108 PFU) or low-dose (1 × 107 PFU) intramuscular immunization of rhesus macaques. At all time points, a majority of the HIV-specific T cell responses, elicited by all vectors, were directed against Env, rather than Gag, determinants, as previously observed with other vector systems. Both modified vectors elicited up to 6-fold-higher frequencies of HIV-specific CD8 and CD4 T cell responses and up to 25-fold-higher titers of Env (gp120)-specific binding (nonneutralizing) antibody responses that were relatively transient in nature. While the correlates of protection against HIV infection remain incompletely defined, our results indicate that the rational deletion of specific genes from MVA vectors can positively alter their cellular and humoral immunogenicity profiles in nonhuman primates.
The strongest genetic influence on immune control in HIV-1 infection is the HLA class I genotype. Rapid disease progression in B-clade infection has been linked to HLA-B*35 expression, in particular to the less common HLA-B*3502 and HLA-B*3503 subtypes but also to the most prevalent subtype, HLA-B*3501. In these studies we first demonstrated that whereas HLA-B*3501 is associated with a high viral set point in two further B-clade-infected cohorts, in Japan and Mexico, this association does not hold in two large C-clade-infected African cohorts. We tested the hypothesis that clade-specific differences in HLA associations with disease outcomes may be related to distinct targeting of critical CD8+ T-cell epitopes. We observed that only one epitope was significantly targeted differentially, namely, the Gag-specific epitope NPPIPVGDIY (NY10, Gag positions 253 to 262) (P = 2 × 10−5). In common with two other HLA-B*3501-restricted epitopes, in Gag and Nef, that were not targeted differentially, a response toward NY10 was associated with a significantly lower viral set point. Nonimmunogenicity of NY10 in B-clade-infected subjects derives from the Gag-D260E polymorphism present in ∼90% of B-clade sequences, which critically reduces recognition of the Gag NY10 epitope. These data suggest that in spite of any inherent HLA-linked T-cell receptor repertoire differences that may exist, maximizing the breadth of the Gag-specific CD8+ T-cell response, by the addition of even a single epitope, may be of overriding importance in achieving immune control of HIV infection. This distinction is of direct relevance to development of vaccines designed to optimize the anti-HIV CD8+ T-cell response in all individuals, irrespective of HLA type.
All genes in the TRIM6/TRIM34/TRIM5/TRIM22 locus are type I interferon inducible, with TRIM5 and TRIM22 possessing antiviral properties. Evolutionary studies involving the TRIM6/34/5/22 locus have predominantly focused on the coding sequence of the genes, finding that TRIM5 and TRIM22 have undergone high rates of both non-synonymous nucleotide replacements and in-frame insertions and deletions. We sought to understand if divergent evolutionary pressures on TRIM6/34/5/22 coding regions have selected for modifications in the non-coding regions of these genes and explore whether such non-coding changes may influence the biological function of these genes. The transcribed genomic regions, including the introns, of TRIM6, TRIM34, TRIM5, and TRIM22 from ten Haplorhini primates and one prosimian species were analyzed for transposable element content. In Haplorhini species, TRIM5 displayed an exaggerated interspecies variability, predominantly resulting from changes in the composition of transposable elements in the large first and fourth introns. Multiple lineage-specific endogenous retroviral long terminal repeats (LTRs) were identified in the first intron of TRIM5 and TRIM22. In the prosimian genome, we identified a duplication of TRIM5 with a concomitant loss of TRIM22. The transposable element content of the prosimian TRIM5 genes appears to largely represent the shared Haplorhini/prosimian ancestral state for this gene. Furthermore, we demonstrated that one such differentially fixed LTR provides for species-specific transcriptional regulation of TRIM22 in response to p53 activation. Our results identify a previously unrecognized source of species-specific variation in the antiviral TRIM genes, which can lead to alterations in their transcriptional regulation. These observations suggest that there has existed long-term pressure for exaptation of retroviral LTRs in the non-coding regions of these genes. This likely resulted from serial viral challenges and provided a mechanism for rapid alteration of transcriptional regulation. To our knowledge, this represents the first report of persistent evolutionary pressure for the capture of retroviral LTR insertions.
To describe symptoms, physical exam findings, and set point viral load associated with acute HIV seroconversion in a heterosexual cohort of discordant couples in Zambia.
We followed HIV serodiscordant couples in Lusaka, Zambia from 1995–2009 with HIV testing of negative partners and symptom inventories 3-monthly, and physical examinations annually.
We compared prevalence of self-reported or treated symptoms (malaria syndrome, chronic diarrhea, asthenia, night sweats, and oral candidiasis) and annual physical exam [PE] findings (unilateral or bilateral neck, axillary, or inguinal adenopathy; and dermatosis) in seroconverting versus HIV-negative or HIV-positive intervals, controlling for repeated observations, age, and sex. A composite score comprised of significant symptoms and PE findings predictive of seroconversion versus HIV-negative intervals was constructed. We modeled the relationship between number of symptoms and PE findings at seroconversion and log set-point viral load [VL] using linear regression.
2,388 HIV-negative partners were followed for a median of 18 months; 429 seroconversions occurred. Neither symptoms nor PE findings were reported for most seroconverters. Seroconversion was significantly associated with malaria syndrome among non-diarrheic patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=4.0) night sweats (aOR=1.4), and bilateral axillary (aOR = 1.6), inguinal (aOR=2.2), and neck (aOR=2.2) adenopathy relative to HIV-negative intervals. Median number of symptoms was positively associated with set-point VL (p<0.001).
Though most acute and early infections were asymptomatic, malaria syndrome was more common and more severe during seroconversion compared with HIV-negative and HIV-positive intervals. When present, symptoms and physical exam findings were non-specific and associated with higher set point viremia.
HIV; seroconversion syndrome; set point HIV viral load
Antibodies that neutralize (nAbs) genetically diverse HIV-1 strains have been recovered from a subset of HIV-1 infected subjects during chronic infection. Exact mechanisms that expand the otherwise narrow neutralization capacity observed during early infection are, however, currently undefined. Here we characterized the earliest nAb responses in a subtype A HIV-1 infected Rwandan seroconverter who later developed moderate cross-clade nAb breadth, using (i) envelope (Env) glycoproteins from the transmitted/founder virus and twenty longitudinal nAb escape variants, (ii) longitudinal autologous plasma, and (iii) autologous monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Initially, nAbs targeted a single region of gp120, which flanked the V3 domain and involved the alpha2 helix. A single amino acid change at one of three positions in this region conferred early escape. One immunoglobulin heavy chain and two light chains recovered from autologous B cells comprised two mAbs, 19.3H-L1 and 19.3H-L3, which neutralized the founder Env along with one or three of the early escape variants carrying these mutations, respectively. Neither mAb neutralized later nAb escape or heterologous Envs. Crystal structures of the antigen-binding fragments (Fabs) revealed flat epitope contact surfaces, where minimal light chain mutation in 19.3H-L3 allowed for additional antigenic interactions. Resistance to mAb neutralization arose in later Envs through alteration of two glycans spatially adjacent to the initial escape signatures. The cross-neutralizing nAbs that ultimately developed failed to target any of the defined V3-proximal changes generated during the first year of infection in this subject. Our data demonstrate that this subject's first recognized nAb epitope elicited strain-specific mAbs, which incrementally acquired autologous breadth, and directed later B cell responses to target distinct portions of Env. This immune re-focusing could have triggered the evolution of cross-clade antibodies and suggests that exposure to a specific sequence of immune escape variants might promote broad humoral responses during HIV-1 infection.
Since cases were first recognized in the United States in 1981, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) has infected over one million Americans. Globally, this scale reaches into the tens of millions, but no effective vaccine exists. Of those infected, approximately 20–30% of patients will develop broadly neutralizing antibodies. The reasons for maturation of these potentially protective responses are presently unknown, but being able to elicit such antibodies via vaccination could curb the pandemic. Here, we defined the earliest neutralizing antibody targets and the consequent routes of viral escape in one subtype A HIV-1 infected subject who developed modest breadth. We also determined the genetic and structural characteristics of early neutralizing monoclonal antibodies circulating in this subject and found that subtle light chain alteration enhanced target contact and neutralization. Overall, our data support the idea that exposure to a specific sequence of viral variants, which have escaped from immune pressure, could program long-term potential for antibody breadth.
Semi-occlusion of the vocal tract with a thin straw provides some advantages for assessing the physiological ranges of intensity and fundamental frequency in a voice. Signals can be obtained without concern about room noise, mouth-to-microphone distance, or vocal injury caused by excessive loudness produced by a patient or client. We show that differences between loud and soft phonation into the straw are clearly measureable and reflect the soft-loud differences measured from airborne sound radiating from an open mouth. Using this technique to acquire a traditional voice range profile, the range of fundamental frequency is not limited and risk for injury seems to be less than for traditional methods. In the lower portion of the fundamental frequency range, the steady pressures measured at the mouth constitute a range profile for subglottal (lung) pressure.
Over the course of infection, the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) continuously adapts in part to evade the host’s neutralizing antibody response. Antibodies often target the HIV envelope proteins that mediate HIV fusion to its cellular targets. HIV virions pseudotyped with primary envelopes have often been used to explore the fusogenic properties of these envelopes. Unfortunately, these pseudotyped virions fuse with greatly reduced efficiency to primary cells. Here, we describe a relatively simple strategy to clone primary envelopes into a provirus and increase the sensitivity of the virion-based fusion assay.
HIV fusion; primary envelopes; CD4 T-cells; monocyte-derived Dendritic Cells
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.
HIV-1 transmission; CCL2; CCL3; CCL4; CCL5; SNP
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.
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.
Studies suggest that occupational voice users have a greater incidence of vocal issues than the general population. Women have been found to experience vocal health problems more frequently than men, regardless of their occupation. Traditionally, it has been assumed that differences in the laryngeal system are the cause of this disproportion. Nevertheless, it is valuable to identify other potential gender distinctions which may make women more vulnerable to voice disorders. A search of the literature was conducted for gender-specific characteristics which might impact the vocal health of women. This search can be used by healthcare practitioners to help female patients avoid serious vocal health injuries, as well as to better treat women who already suffer from such vocal health issues.
Occupational groups; occupational voice disorder; risk; singers; teachers
The potential role of antibodies in protection against intra-subtype HIV-1 superinfection remains to be understood. We compared the early neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in three individuals, who were superinfected within one year of primary infection, to ten matched non-superinfected controls from a Zambian cohort of subtype C transmission cases. Sequence analysis of single genome amplified full-length envs from a previous study showed limited diversification in the individuals who became superinfected with the same HIV-1 subtype within year one post-seroconversion. We hypothesized that this reflected a blunted NAb response, which may have made these individuals more susceptible to superinfection.
Neutralization assays showed that autologous plasma NAb responses to the earliest, and in some cases transmitted/founder, virus were delayed and had low to undetectable titers in all three superinfected individuals prior to superinfection. In contrast, NAbs with a median IC50 titer of 1896 were detected as early as three months post-seroconversion in non-superinfected controls. Early plasma NAbs in all subjects showed limited but variable levels of heterologous neutralization breadth. Superinfected individuals also exhibited a trend toward lower levels of gp120- and V1V2-specific IgG binding antibodies but higher gp120-specific plasma IgA binding antibodies.
These data suggest that the lack of development of IgG antibodies, as reflected in autologous NAbs as well as gp120 and V1V2 binding antibodies to the primary infection virus, combined with potentially competing, non-protective IgA antibodies, may increase susceptibility to superinfection in the context of settings where a single HIV-1 subtype predominates.
HIV-1 superinfection; Subtype C; Neutralizing antibodies; HIV-1 transmission; HIV-1 dual infection
HIV-1 attenuation resulting from immune escape mutations selected in Gag may contribute to slower disease progression in HIV-1-infected individuals expressing certain HLA class I alleles. We previously showed that the protective allele HLA-B*81 and the HLA-B*81-selected Gag T186S mutation are strongly associated with a lower viral replication capacity of recombinant viruses encoding Gag-protease derived from individuals chronically infected with HIV-1 subtype C. In the present study, we directly tested the effect of this mutation on viral replication capacity. In addition, we investigated potential compensatory effects of various polymorphisms, including other HLA-B*81-associated mutations that significantly covary with the T186S mutation. Mutations were introduced into a reference subtype B backbone and into patient-derived subtype C sequences in subtype B and C backbones by site-directed mutagenesis. The exponential-phase growth of mutant and wild-type viruses was assayed by flow cytometry of a green fluorescent protein reporter T cell line or by measurement of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity in culture supernatants. Engineering of the T186S mutation alone into all patient-derived subtype C sequences failed to yield replication-competent viruses, while in the subtype B sequence, the T186S mutation resulted in impaired replication capacity. Only the T186S mutation in combination with the T190I mutation yielded replication-competent viruses for all virus backbones tested; however, these constructs replicated slower than the wild type, suggesting that only partial compensation is mediated by the T190I mutation. Constructs encoding the T186S mutation in combination with other putative compensatory mutations were attenuated or defective. These results suggest that the T186S mutation is deleterious to HIV-1 subtype C replication and likely requires complex compensatory pathways, which may contribute to the clinical benefit associated with HLA-B*81.
Acute HIV infection (prior to antibody seroconversion) represents a high-risk window for HIV transmission. Development of a test to detect acute infection at the point-of-care is urgent.
Volunteers enrolled in a prospective study of HIV incidence in four African cities, Kigali in Rwanda and Ndola, Kitwe and Lusaka in Zambia, were tested regularly for HIV by rapid antibody test and p24 antigen ELISA. Five subgroups of samples were also tested by the Determine Ag/Ab Combo test 1) Antigen positive, antibody negative (acute infection); 2) Antigen positive, antibody positive; 3) Antigen negative, antibody positive; 4) Antigen negative, antibody negative; and 5) Antigen false positive, antibody negative (HIV uninfected). A sixth group included serial dilutions from a p24 antigen-positive control sample. Combo test results were reported as antigen positive, antibody positive, or both.
Of 34 group 1 samples with VL between 5x105 and >1.5x107 copies/mL (median 3.5x106), 1 (2.9%) was detected by the Combo antigen component, 7 (20.6%) others were positive by the Combo antibody component. No group 2 samples were antigen positive by the Combo test (0/18). Sensitivity of the Combo antigen test was therefore 1.9% (1/52, 95% CI 0.0, 9.9). One false positive Combo antibody result (1/30, 3.3%) was observed in group 4. No false-positive Combo antigen results were observed. The Combo antigen test was positive in group 6 at concentrations of 80 pg/mL, faintly positive at 40 and 20 pg/mL, and negative thereafter. The p24 ELISA antigen test remained positive at 5 pg/mL.
Although the antibody component of the Combo test detected antibodies to HIV earlier than the comparison antibody tests used, less than 2% of the cases of antigen-positive HIV infection were detected by the Combo antigen component. The development of a rapid point-of-care test to diagnose acute HIV infection remains an urgent goal.