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1.  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
2.  Toll-Like Receptor Gene Variants Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis among HIV-1 Infected Adolescents 
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal disorder in women of reproductive age, especially among women with HIV-1 infection. Several bacterial products including lipopolysaccharides (LPS), lipoteichoic acids (LTA), and peptidoglycans (PGN) are stimulatory ligands for Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and recent evidence indicates the important role of variation in TLR genes for permitting overgrowth of gram negative and BV-type flora. We assessed whether genetic polymorphisms in five TLR genes (TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR6, and TLR9) could be determinants of differential host immune responses to BV in 159 HIV-1-positive African American adolescents enrolled in the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health (REACH) study. BV was assessed biannually and diagnosed either by a Nugent Score of at least 7 of 10, or using the Amsel Criteria. Cox-proportional hazards regression models, adjusted for concurrent Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections, douching, and absolute CD4 cell count, were used to identify host genetic factors associated with BV. Two SNPs were associated with BV as diagnosed by the Nugent Score and the combined criteria: a minor allele G of rs4986790 (frequency=0.07), which encodes a His to Tyr substitution in TLR4 (HR=1.47, 95% CI 1.15–1.87) and rs187084 (frequency=0.24) on TLR9. The minor allele of rs1898830 (frequency=0.13) was associated with an increased hazard of BV defined by the Amsel criteria (HR=1.86, 95%CI 1.17–2.95). Further studies are warranted to confirm the associations of TLR gene variants and also to understand the underlying pathways and immunogenetic correlates in the context of HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1016/j.jri.2012.08.002
PMCID: PMC3518650  PMID: 23021866
HIV-1; Bacterial Vaginosis; Toll Like Receptors
3.  Genetic associations with 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in HIV-1-infected youth: fine-mapping for the GC/DBP gene that encodes the vitamin D-binding protein 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:234.
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is often deficient (<12 ng/ml) or insufficient (<20 ng/ml) in youth living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection (YLH). Based on evidence from multiple genome-wide association studies, we hypothesized that genetic factors associated with 25(OH)D deficiency should be readily detectable in YLH even when controlling for other known factors, including use of the antiretroviral drug efavirenz (EFV). Genotyping by bi-directional sequencing targeted 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the GC/DBP locus, with a focus on coding and regulatory variants, as well as those repeatedly reported in the literature. Three intronic SNPs (rs222016, rs222020, and rs222029) in a conserved haplotype block had unequivocal association signals (false discovery rate ≤ 0.006). In particular, the minor allele G for rs222020 was highly unfavorable among 192 YLH (99 African–Americans and 93 others), as gauged by relatively low likelihood for 25(OH)D sufficiency at enrollment (odds ratio = 0.31, p = 9.0 × 10-4). In a reduced multivariable model, race, season, latitude, body mass index, exposure to EFV, and rs222020-G were independent factors that collectively accounted for 38% of variance in the log10-transformed 25(OH)D concentration (p < 0.0001). Interaction terms were evident for rs222020-G × season (p < 0.001), latitude × season (especially fall and winter; p < 0.01), and race × EFV use (p = 0.024). Overall, variance in serum 25(OH)D is substantially attributable to multiple factors, but the exact contribution of genetic and non-genetic factors can be obscured by partial overlaps and frequent interactions.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00234
PMCID: PMC3827582  PMID: 24294218
antiretroviral; genetics; HIV-1; race; youth; vitamin D
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Predictors of Suboptimal Virologic Response to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Adolescents 
Objective
To examine the prevalence and biopsychosocial predictors of sub-optimal virologic response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adolescents.
Design
Population-based cohort study.
Setting
Sixteen academic medical centers across thirteen cities in the United States.
Participants
One hundred and fifty four HIV-infected adolescents who presented for at least two consecutive visits after initiation of HAART.
Main Outcome Measures
Viral load (plasma concentration of HIV RNA), CD4+ T-lymphocyte count.
Results
Of the 154 adolescents enrolled in the study, 50 (32.5%) demonstrated early and sustained virologic suppression while receiving HAART. The remaining 104 adolescents (67.5%) had a poor virologic response. Adequate adherence (>50%) to HAART—reported by 70.8% of respondents—was associated with a 60% reduced odds of suboptimal virologic suppression in a multivariable logistic regression model (adjusted odds ratio = 0.4; 95% confidence interval : 0.2 – 1.0). Exposure to sub-optimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) prior to HAART, on the other hand, was associated with more than a two-fold increased odds of sub-optimal virologic response (adjusted odds ratio = 2.6; 95% confidence interval: 1.1 – 5.7).
Conclusions
Fully two-thirds of HIV-infected adolescents in the current study demonstrated a sub-optimal virologic response to HAART. Non-adherence and prior single or dual ART were associated with subsequent poor virologic responses to HAART. These predictors of HAART failure echo findings in pediatric and adult populations. Given the unique developmental stage of adolescence, age-specific interventions are indicated to address high rates of non-adherence and therapeutic failure.
doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.204
PMCID: PMC3739292  PMID: 19996046
HIV; Adolescent; Antiretroviral Therapy; Highly Active; Adherence; Viral Load; CD4 Lymphocyte Count
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  HIV-1 Dynamics: A Reappraisal of Host and Viral Factors, as well as Methodological Issues 
Viruses  2012;4(10):2080-2096.
The dynamics of HIV-1 viremia is a complex and evolving landscape with clinical and epidemiological (public health) implications. Most studies have relied on the use of set-point viral load (VL) as a readily available proxy of viral dynamics to assess host and viral correlates. This review highlights recent findings from population-based studies of set-point VL, focusing primarily on robust data related to host genetics. A comprehensive understanding of viral dynamics will clearly need to consider both host and viral characteristics, with close attention to (i) the timing of VL measurements, (ii) the biology of viral evolution, (iii) compartments of active viral replication, (iv) the transmission source partner as the immediate past microenvironment, and (v) proper application of statistical models.
doi:10.3390/v4102080
PMCID: PMC3497042  PMID: 23202454
Correlates; genetics; HIV-1; viral load.
13.  In vivo pharmacokinetic comparisons of ferulic acid and puerarin after oral administration of monomer, medicinal substance aqueous extract and Nao-De-Sheng to rats 
Pharmacognosy Magazine  2012;8(32):256-262.
Background:
Nao-De-Sheng decoction (NDS), a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prescription containing Radix puerariae lobatae, Floscarthami, Radix et Rhizoma Notoginseng, Rhizoma chuanxiong and Fructus crataegi, is effective in the treatment of cerebral arteriosclerosis, ischemic cerebral stroke and apoplexy linger effect. Ferulic acid and puerarin are the main absorbed effective ingredients of NDS.
Objective:
To assess the affection of other components in medical material and compound recipe compatibility on the pharmacokinetics of ferulaic acid and puerarin, of ferulic acid from the monomer Rhizoma chuanxiong aqueous extract and NDS were studied. And pharmacokinetics comparisons of puerarin from the monomer Radix puerariae extract and NDS decoction were investigated simultaneously.
Materials and Methods:
At respective different time points after oral administration of the monomer, medicinal substance aqueous extract and NDS at the same dose in rats, plasma concentrations of ferulic acid and puerarin in rats were determined by RP-HPLC, and the main pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated with 3P97 software.
Results:
The plasma concentration-time curves of ferulaic acid and puerarin were both best fitted with a two-compartment model. AUC0−t, AUC0→∞, Tmax, and Cmax of ferulic acid in the monomer and NDS decoction were increased significantly (P < 0.05) compared with that in Rhizoma chuanxiong aqueous extract. And statistically significant increase (P < 0.05) in pharmacokinetic parameters of puerarin including AUC0−t, AUC0→∞, CL, Tmax and Cmax were obtained after oral administration of puerarin monomer compared with Radix puerariae extract. Although the changes of AUC0−t, AUC0→∞ and CL had no statistically significant, Cmax of puerarin in NDS was increased remarkably (P < 0.05) compared with that in single puerarin.
Conclusions:
Some ingredients of Rhizoma chuanxiong and Radix puerariae may be suggested to remarkably influence plasma concentrations of ferulaic acid and puerarin. Some ingredients in NDS may increase dissolution and absorption of ferulaic acid and puerarin, delay elimination, and subsequently enhance bioavailability of ferulaic acid and puerarin in rats after compatibility.
doi:10.4103/0973-1296.103648
PMCID: PMC3785161  PMID: 24082627
Ferulic acid; medicinal substance aqueous extract; Nao-De-Sheng; pharmacokinetics comparisons; puerarin
14.  Identification of Three Immunologic Correlates for HIV Type 1 Pathogenesis in Youth 
Abstract
To evaluate the stability and heterogeneity of cytokine and chemokine profiles in 80 youth with and without HIV-1 infection, we tested plasma samples at repeated visits without antiretroviral therapy. Among nine analytes that were quantified using multiplexing assays, interleukin 10 (IL-10), IL-18, and soluble CD30 persistently showed a positive correlation with HIV-1 viral load (Spearman ρ = 0.40–0.59, p < 0.01 for all). A negative correlation with CD4+ T cell counts (ρ = −0.40 to −0.60, p < 0.01 for all) was also persistent for the three analytes. Analyses restricted to 48 AIDS-free youth (96 visits) yielded similar findings, as did multivariable models in which race, sex, age, body mass index, and time interval between visits were treated as covariates. These relationships reflected two novel features observed for all three analytes. First, their presence in plasma was relatively stable between visits (ρ = 0.50–0.90, p < 0.03), regardless of HIV-1 infection status. Second, pairwise correlation was strong and persistent in HIV-1-seropositive youth (ρ = 0.40–0.59, p < 0.01), but not in HIV-1, seronegatives (p > 0.13). Additional analytes, especially eotaxin/CCL11 and SDF-1β/CXCL12, had no correlation with HIV-1-related outcomes despite their stability between visits. Overall, circulating IL-10, IL-18, and soluble CD30 could partially track unfavorable responses to HIV-1 infection in youth. These markers of persistent immune activation are individually and collectively indicative of HIV-1 pathogenesis.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0161
PMCID: PMC3101082  PMID: 20969482
15.  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
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Interleukin-21-Producing HIV-1-Specific CD8 T Cells Are Preferentially Seen in Elite Controllers ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(5):2316-2324.
A hallmark of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) pathogenesis is the rapid loss of CD4 T cells leading to generalized immune dysfunction, including an exhausted CD8 T cell phenotype. Understanding the necessary factors that govern the functional quality and protective potential of antiviral T cell responses would facilitate rational vaccine design and improve therapeutic strategies to combat persistent infections. Mouse models of chronic viral infection demonstrate that interleukin-21 (IL-21), produced primarily by CD4 T cells, is required for the generation and maintenance of functionally competent CD8 T cells and viral containment. We reasoned that preserved IL-21 production during HIV-1 infection would be associated with enhanced CD8 T cell function, allowing improved viral control. Here we analyzed the ability of CD4 and CD8 T cells to produce several cytokines in addition to IL-21 ex vivo following stimulation with overlapping HIV-1 peptides. Both CD4 and CD8 T cells were able to produce IL-21 in response to HIV-1 infection, with the latter cell type more closely associated with viral control. Furthermore, IL-21-producing HIV-1-specific CD4 T cells (compared to those producing other cytokines) were the best indicator of functional CD8 T cells. Our results demonstrate that HIV-1-specific IL-21-producing CD8 T cells are induced following primary infection and enriched in elite controllers, suggesting a critical role for these cells in the maintenance of viremia control.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01476-10
PMCID: PMC3067790  PMID: 21159862
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
22.  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
23.  Human Leukocyte Antigen Class I Supertypes and HIV-1 Control in African Americans▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;84(5):2610-2617.
The role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I supertypes in controlling human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in African Americans has not been established. We examined the effects of the HLA-A and HLA-B alleles and supertypes on the outcomes of HIV-1 clade B infection among 338 African American women and adolescents. HLA-B58 and -B62 supertypes (B58s and B62s) were associated with favorable HIV-1 disease control (proportional odds ratio [POR] of 0.33 and 95% confidence interval [95% CI] of 0.21 to 0.52 for the former and POR of 0.26 and 95% CI of 0.09 to 0.73 for the latter); B7s and B44s were associated with unfavorable disease control (POR of 2.39 and 95% CI of 1.54 to 3.73 for the former and POR of 1.63 and 95% CI of 1.08 to 2.47 for the latter). In general, individual alleles within specific B supertypes exerted relatively homogeneous effects. A notable exception was B27s, whose protective influence (POR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.94) was masked by the opposing effect of its member allele B*1510. The associations of most B supertypes (e.g., B58s and B7s) were largely explained either by well-known effects of constituent B alleles or by effects of previously unimplicated B alleles aggregated into a particular supertype (e.g., B44s and B62s). A higher frequency of HLA-B genotypic supertypes correlated with a higher mean viral load (VL) and lower mean CD4 count (Pearson's r = 0.63 and 0.62, respectively; P = 0.03). Among the genotypic supertypes, B58s and its member allele B*57 contributed disproportionately to the explainable VL variation. The study demonstrated the dominant role of HLA-B supertypes in HIV-1 clade B-infected African Americans and further dissected the contributions of individual class I alleles and their population frequencies to the supertype effects.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01962-09
PMCID: PMC2820922  PMID: 20032191
24.  CD8 T cell response and evolutionary pressure to HIV-1 cryptic epitopes derived from antisense transcription 
Retroviruses pack multiple genes into relatively small genomes by encoding several genes in the same genomic region with overlapping reading frames. Both sense and antisense HIV-1 transcripts contain open reading frames for known functional proteins as well as numerous alternative reading frames (ARFs). At least some ARFs have the potential to encode proteins of unknown function, and their antigenic properties can be considered as cryptic epitopes (CEs). To examine the extent of active immune response to virally encoded CEs, we analyzed human leukocyte antigen class I–associated polymorphisms in HIV-1 gag, pol, and nef genes from a large cohort of South Africans with chronic infection. In all, 391 CEs and 168 conventional epitopes were predicted, with the majority (307; 79%) of CEs derived from antisense transcripts. In further evaluation of CD8 T cell responses to a subset of the predicted CEs in patients with primary or chronic infection, both sense- and antisense-encoded CEs were immunogenic at both stages of infection. In addition, CEs often mutated during the first year of infection, which was consistent with immune selection for escape variants. These findings indicate that the HIV-1 genome might encode and deploy a large potential repertoire of unconventional epitopes to enhance vaccine-induced antiviral immunity.
doi:10.1084/jem.20092060
PMCID: PMC2812545  PMID: 20065064

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