Next generation sequencing (NGS) is superseding Sanger technology for analysing intra-host viral populations, in terms of genome length and resolution. We introduce two new empirical validation data sets and test the available viral population assembly software. Two intra-host viral population ‘quasispecies’ samples (type-1 human immunodeficiency and hepatitis C virus) were Sanger-sequenced, and plasmid clone mixtures at controlled proportions were shotgun-sequenced using Roche's 454 sequencing platform. The performance of different assemblers was compared in terms of phylogenetic clustering and recombination with the Sanger clones. Phylogenetic clustering showed that all assemblers captured a proportion of the most divergent lineages, but none were able to provide a high precision/recall tradeoff. Estimated variant frequencies mildly correlated with the original. Given the limitations of currently available algorithms identified by our empirical validation, the development and exploitation of additional data sets is needed, in order to establish an efficient framework for viral population reconstruction using NGS.
HIV-infection decreases thymic output and induces chronic T cell activation.
Extended immune phenotyping of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells subsets were combined with TREC levels and measures of TCR repertoire perturbations in CD8+ T cell subpopulation in order to define the global effect of HIV-1 on T cell dynamics. Evaluations before, and after therapy, were performed in HIV-infected children and compared to healthy individuals.
Ten HIV-infected children and adolescents with a broad range of pre-therapy CD4+ T cells counts were compared to healthy individuals. Pre-therapy late activated CD8+ T cells (CD3+ CD8+ CD45RA+ CD27− CD11abright) were expanded among HIV-infected subjects. Successful antiretroviral therapy increased the proportion of naïve T cells (CD3+ CD4+ CD45RA+ CD27+ CD28+ and CD3+ CD8+ CD5RA+ CD27+ CD11adim) with a significant decline in late activated CD8+ T cells. The proportion of naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells significantly predicted log10 TREC copies/106 PBMC in infected children and healthy controls, with a negative correlation in late activated CD8+ T cells as well as activated CD4+ T cells. Treatment re-established Gaussian distributions and decreased oligoclonal expansion within Vβ repertoire of CD8+ CD45RA+ T cells, but compared to healthy children, the proportion of late activated CD8 T cells remained elevated.
HIV-infection strikingly shifts the proportion of naïve and late activated CD45RA+ CD8+ T cells. Homeostasis within this T cell population reflects TREC levels and extent of TCR Vβ perturbations.
Multi-parameter flow cytometry accurately measures thymic output and viral induced T cell expansions within HIV-infected children.
HIV-1; children; T cell receptor; T cell receptor rearrangement excision circles; immune reconstitution; flow cytometry; T cells
Regions of HIV-1 gag between p2 and p6Gag/p6Pol, in addition to protease (PR), develop genetic diversity in HIV-1 infected individuals who fail to suppress virus replication by combination protease inhibitor (PI) therapy. To elucidate functional consequences for viral replication and PI susceptibility by changes in Gag that evolve in vivo during PI therapy, a panel of recombinant viruses was constructed. Residues in Gag p2/p7NC cleavage site and p7NC, combined with residues in the flap of PR, defined novel fitness determinants that restored replicative capacity to the posttherapy virus. Multiple determinants in Gag have a dominant effect on PR phenotype and increase susceptibility to inhibitors of drug-resistant or drug-sensitive PR genes. Gag determinants of drug sensitivity and replication alter the fitness landscape of the virus, and viral replicative capacity can be independent of drug sensitivity. The functional linkage between Gag and PR provides targets for novel therapeutics to inhibit drug-resistant viruses.
Fitness; Protease; PI Resistance
To identify novel viral determinants in HIV-1 protease, Gag, and envelope V3 that relate to outcomes to initial protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral therapy.
A longitudinal cohort study of protease inhibitor-naive, HIV-infected individuals was designed to identify genetic variables in viral Gag and envelope sequences associated with response to antiretroviral therapy.
Genetic and statistical models, including amino acid profiles, phylogenetic analyses, receiver operating characteristic analyses, and covariation analyses, were used to evaluate viral sequences and clinical variables from individuals who developed immune reconstitution with or without suppression of viral replication.
Pretherapy chemokine (C–X–C motif) receptor 4-using V3 regions had significant associations with viral failure (P = 0.04). Amino acid residues in protease covaried with Gag residues, particularly in p7NC, independent of cleavage sites. Pretherapy V3 charge combined with p6Pol and p2/p7NC cleavage site genotypes produced the best three-variable model to predict viral suppression in 88% of individuals. Combinations of baseline CD4 cell percentage with genetic determinants in Gag–protease predicted viral fitness in 100% of individuals who failed to suppress viral replication.
Baseline genetic determinants in Gag p6Pol and p2/p7NC, as well as envelope, provide novel combinations of biomarkers for predicting emergence of viral resistance to initial therapy regimens.
antiretroviral therapy response; coreceptors; HIV-1 Env V3; HIV-1 Gag; HIV-1 protease inhibitors
Infection of CD8-depleted rhesus macaques with the genetically heterogeneous simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)mac251 viral swarm provides a rapid-disease model for simian acquired immune deficiency syndrome and SIV-encephalitis (SIVE). The objective was to evaluate how the diversity of the swarm influences the initial seeding of the infection that may potentially affect disease progression. Plasma, lymphoid and non-lymphoid (brain and lung) tissues were collected from two infected macaques euthanized at 21 days post-infection (p.i.), as well as longitudinal specimens and post-mortem tissues from four macaques followed throughout the infection. About 1300 gp120 viral sequences were obtained from the infecting SIVmac251 swarm and the macaques longitudinal and post-mortem samples. Phylogenetic and amino acid signature pattern analyses were carried out to assess frequency, transmission dynamics and persistence of specific viral clusters. Although no significant reduction in viral heterogeneity was found early in infection (21 days p.i.), transmission and replication of SIV variants was not entirely random. In particular, two distinct motifs under-represented (<4 %) in the infecting swarm were found at high frequencies (up to 14 %) in all six macaques as early as 21 days p.i. Moreover, a macrophage tropic variant not detected in the viral swarm (<0.3 %) was present at high frequency (29–100 %) in sequences derived from the brain of two macaques with meningitis or severe SIVE. This study demonstrates the highly efficient transmission and persistence in vivo of multiple low frequency SIVmac251 founder variants, characterized by specific gp120 motifs that may be linked to pathogenesis in the rapid-disease model of neuroAIDS.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to liver cirrhosis in up to 20% of individuals, often requiring liver transplantation. Although the new liver is known to be rapidly reinfected, the dynamics and source of the reinfecting virus(es) are unclear, resulting in some confusion concerning the relationship between clinical outcome and viral characteristics. To clarify the dynamics of liver reinfection, longitudinal serum viral samples from 10 transplant patients were studied. Part of the E1/E2 region was sequenced, and advanced phylogenetic analysis methods were used in a multiparameter analysis to determine the history and ancestry of reinfecting lineages. Our results demonstrated the complexity of HCV evolutionary dynamics after liver transplantation, in which a large diverse population of viruses is transmitted and maintained for months to years. As many as 30 independent lineages in a single patient were found to reinfect the new liver. Several later posttransplant lineages were more closely related to older pretransplant viruses than to viruses detected immediately after transplantation. Although our data are consistent with a number of interpretations, the persistence of high viral genetic variation over long periods of time requires an active mechanism. We discuss possible scenarios, including frequency-dependent selection or variation in selective pressure among viral subpopulations, i.e., the population structure. The latter hypothesis, if correct, could have relevance to the success of newer direct-acting antiviral therapies.
Infecting rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is an established animal model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pathogenesis. Many studies have used various derivatives of the SIVmac251 viral swarm to investigate several aspects of the disease, including transmission, progression, response to vaccination, and SIV/HIV-associated neurological disorders. However, the lack of standardization of the infecting inoculum complicates comparative analyses. We investigated the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of the 1991 animal-titered SIVmac251 swarm, the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) passaged SIVmac251, and additional SIVmac251 sequences derived over the past 20 years. Significant sequence divergence and diversity were evident among the different viral sources. This finding highlights the importance of characterizing the exact source and genetic makeup of the infecting inoculum to achieve controlled experimental conditions and enable meaningful comparisons across studies.
The origin and evolution of HIV-1 in breast milk is unclear, despite the continuing significance of this tissue as a transmitting compartment. To elucidate the evolutionary trajectory of viral populations in a transient mucosal compartment, longitudinal sequences of the envelope gp120 region from plasma and breast milk spanning the first year after delivery were analyzed in six women infected by HIV-1 subtype C.
Multiple phylogenetic algorithms were used to elucidate the evolutionary history and spatial structure of virus populations between tissues.
Overall persistent mixing of viral sequences between plasma and breast milk indicated that breast milk is not a distinct genetic viral compartment. Unexpectedly, longitudinal phylogenies showed multiple lineages defined by long branches that included virus from both the breast milk and the plasma. Plasma was unlikely the anatomical origin of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in at least three of the subjects, while in other women, the temporal origin of the MRCA of the viral populations following delivery occurred well before the onset of breast milk production.
These findings suggest that during pregnancy/lactation, a viral variant distinct from the plasma virus initially seeds the breast milk, followed by subsequent gene flow between the plasma and breast milk tissues. This study indicates the potential for reactivation or re-introduction of distinct lineages during major immunological disruptions during the course of natural infection.
HIV-1; breast milk; evolution; phylogeny; compartment; reservoir
Next Generation sequencing (NGS) applied to human papilloma viruses (HPV) can provide sensitive methods to investigate the
molecular epidemiology of multiple type HPV infection. Currently a genotyping system with a comprehensive collection of
updated HPV reference sequences and a capacity to handle NGS data sets is lacking. HPV-QUEST was developed as an automated
and rapid HPV genotyping system. The web-based HPV-QUEST subtyping algorithm was developed using HTML, PHP, Perl
scripting language, and MYSQL as the database backend. HPV-QUEST includes a database of annotated HPV reference sequences
with updated nomenclature covering 5 genuses, 14 species and 150 mucosal and cutaneous types to genotype blasted query
sequences. HPV-QUEST processes up to 10 megabases of sequences within 1 to 2 minutes. Results are reported in html, text and
excel formats and display e-value, blast score, and local and coverage identities; provide genus, species, type, infection site and risk
for the best matched reference HPV sequence; and produce results ready for additional analyses.
The database is available for free at http://www.ijbcb.org/HPV/
Human papilloma virus; Genotyping; web-based; Blast search; Next Generation sequencing
The objective was to assess outcomes of IFNγ-priming upon macrophage activation by the synovial macromolecule high-molecular-weight hyaluronan [HMW-HA] in the context of rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. Human macrophages primed by IFNγ and activated by HMW-HA were evaluated for cytokine secretion by ELISA and Milliplex assay and activation profiles by nuclear transcription factor EIA. IFNγ-primed, HMW-HA-activated macrophages produced elevated levels of TNF and secreted the TH1 cytokine IL-12p70, while IFNγ suppressed HMW-HA-induced secretion of the regulatory cytokine IL-10 and activation of the transcription factor c-Jun. IFNγ modulates the HMW-HA-induced cytokine response profile promoting macrophage activation and inflammatory TH1 cytokine secretion.
Rheumatoid arthritis; inflammation; hyaluronan; macrophages; interferon gamma; interleukin-10; interleukin-12; tumor necrosis factor; c-Jun
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection perturbs the T-cell receptor (TCR) Vβ repertoire. The TCR CDR3 length diversity of individual Vβ families was examined within CD45RA and CD45RO CD4 T cells to assess the impact of the virus on clonality throughout CD4 T-cell activation and differentiation. A cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study of 13 HIV-infected and 8 age-matched healthy children and adolescents examined the Vβ CDR3 length profiles within CD4 T-cell subsets by the use of spectratyping. HIV-infected subjects demonstrated higher numbers of perturbations in CD4 CD45RA T cells (5.8 ± 4.9 Vβ families) than healthy individuals (1.6 ± 1.8 Vβ families) (P = 0.04). Surprisingly, CD4 CD45RO central memory T cells from infected subjects showed no increased perturbations compared to the perturbations for the same cells from healthy subjects (2.9 ± 3.1 and 1.1 ± 1.8 Vβ families, respectively; P = 0.11). CD4 CD45RA TCR perturbations were higher among infected subjects with >25% CD4 cells than healthy subjects (mean number of perturbed Vβ families, 6.6 ± 5.4; P = 0.04). No correlations between perturbations in CD4 subsets and pretherapy age or viral load were evident. In contrast to CD8 T cells, HIV induces TCR disruptions within CD45RA but not CD45RO CD4 T cells. Therapy-induced viral suppression resulted in increases in thymic output and the normalization of the diversity of TCR within CD45RA CD4 T cells after 2 months of treatment. Perturbations occur prior to CD4 T-cell attrition and normalize with effective antiretroviral therapy. The impact of HIV on the diversity of TCR within naïve, central memory, and effector memory CD4 T cells is distinctly different from that in CD8 T cells.
Since recombination leads to the generation of mosaic genomes that violate the assumption of traditional phylogenetic methods that sequence evolution can be accurately described by a single tree, results and conclusions based on phylogenetic analysis of data sets including recombinant sequences can be severely misleading. Many methods are able to adequately detect recombination between diverse sequences, for example between different HIV-1 subtypes. More problematic is the identification of recombinants among closely related sequences such as a viral population within a host. We describe a simple algorithmic procedure that enables detection of intra-host recombinants based on split-decomposition networks and a robust statistical test for recombination. By applying this algorithm to several published HIV-1 datasets we conclude that intra-host recombination was significantly underestimated in previous studies and that up to one-third of the env sequences longitudinally sampled from a given subject can be of recombinant origin. The results show that our procedure can be a valuable exploratory tool for detection of recombinant sequences before phylogenetic analysis, and also suggest that HIV-1 recombination in vivo is far more frequent and significant than previously thought.
We sought to investigate the evolutionary and historical reasons for the different epidemiological patterns of HIV-1 in the early epidemic. In order to characterize the demographic history of HIV-1 subtypes A and D in east Africa, we examined molecular epidemiology, geographical and historical data.
We employed high-resolution phylodynamics to investigate the introduction of HIV-1A and D into east Africa, the geographic trends of viral spread, and the demographic growth of each subtype. We also used geographic information system data to investigate human migration trends, population growth, and human mobility.
HIV-1A and D were introduced into east Africa after 1950 and spread exponentially during the 1970s, concurrent with eastward expansion. Spatiotemporal data failed to explain the establishment and spread of HIV based on urban population growth and migration. The low prevalence of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo before and after the emergence of the pandemic was, however, consistent with regional accessibility data, highlighting the difficulty in travel between major population centers in central Africa. In contrast, the strong interconnectivity between population centers across the east African region since colonial times has likely fostered the rapid growth of the epidemic in this locale.
This study illustrates how phylodynamic analysis of pathogens informed by geospatial data can provide a more holistic and evidence-based interpretation of past epidemics. We advocate that this ‘landscape phylodynamics’ approach has the potential to provide a framework both to understand epidemics' spread and to design optimal intervention strategies.
Africa; epidemic; evolution; geographic information system; HIV-1; phylodynamics
Little is known about the HIV-1 epidemic in Balkan countries. To fill the gap, we investigated the viral genetic diversity in Bulgaria, by sequencing and phylogenetic characterization of 86 plasma samples collected between 2002 and 2006 from seropositive individuals diagnosed within 1986–2006. Analysis of pol gene sequences assigned 51% of the samples to HIV-1 subtype B and 27% to subtype A1. HIV-1 subtype C, F, G, H, and a few putative recombinant forms were also found. Phylogenetic and molecular clock analysis showed a continuous exchange of subtype A and B between Bulgaria and Western as well as other Eastern European countries. At least three separate introductions of HIV-1 subtype A and four of HIV-1 subtype B have occurred within the past 25 years in Bulgaria. The central geographic location of Bulgaria, the substantial genetic heterogeneity of the epidemic with multiple subtypes, and the significant viral flow observed to and from the Balkan countries have the potential to modify the current HIV-1 epidemiological structure in Europe and highlight the importance of more extensive and continuous monitoring of the epidemic in the Balkans.
Crystals of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 subtype C protease complexed with indinavir and nelfinavir have been grown in the monoclinic space group P21 and shown to diffract X-rays to 2.3 Å resolution.
Crystals of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) subtype C protease (PR) complexed with the clinically used inhibitors indinavir (IDV) and nelfinavir (NFV) have been grown in the monoclinic space group P21, with mean unit-cell parameters a = 46.7 (±0.1), b = 59.8 (±0.3), c = 87.0 (±0.4) Å, β = 95.2 (±0.5)°. The crystals of both complexes have been shown to diffract X-rays to 2.3 Å resolution. The diffraction data for the subtype C PR complexes with IDV and NFV were subsequently processed and reduced, with overall R
sym values of 8.4 and 11.4%, respectively. Based on the unit-cell volumes, molecular-replacement results and packing considerations, there are two protease homodimers per crystallographic asymmetric unit in each of the complexes. The data were initially phased using a model based on the crystal structure of HIV-1 subtype B PR; the structures have been determined and further refinement and analysis are in progress. These structures and subsequent studies with other inhibitors will greatly aid in correlating the amino-acid variation between the different HIV PRs and understanding their differential sensitivity and resistance to current drug therapy.
HIV-1; subtype C protease; indinavir; nelfinavir
Macrophages provide an interface between innate and adaptive immunity and are important long-lived reservoirs for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1). Multiple genetic networks involved in regulating signal transduction cascades and immune responses in macrophages are coordinately modulated by HIV-1 infection.
To evaluate complex interrelated processes and to assemble an integrated view of activated signaling networks, a systems biology strategy was applied to genomic and proteomic responses by primary human macrophages over the course of HIV-1 infection. Macrophage responses, including cell cycle, calcium, apoptosis, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), and cytokines/chemokines, to HIV-1 were temporally regulated, in the absence of cell proliferation. In contrast, Toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways remained unaltered by HIV-1, although TLRs 3, 4, 7, and 8 were expressed and responded to ligand stimulation in macrophages. HIV-1 failed to activate phosphorylation of IRAK-1 or IRF-3, modulate intracellular protein levels of Mx1, an interferon-stimulated gene, or stimulate secretion of TNF, IL-1β, or IL-6. Activation of pathways other than TLR was inadequate to stimulate, via cross-talk mechanisms through molecular hubs, the production of proinflammatory cytokines typical of a TLR response. HIV-1 sensitized macrophage responses to TLR ligands, and the magnitude of viral priming was related to virus replication.
HIV-1 induced a primed, proinflammatory state, M1HIV, which increased the responsiveness of macrophages to TLR ligands. HIV-1 might passively evade pattern recognition, actively inhibit or suppress recognition and signaling, or require dynamic interactions between macrophages and other cells, such as lymphocytes or endothelial cells. HIV-1 evasion of TLR recognition and simultaneous priming of macrophages may represent a strategy for viral survival, contribute to immune pathogenesis, and provide important targets for therapeutic approaches.
A series of HIV-1 protease mutants have been designed to analyze the contribution to drug resistance provided by natural polymorphisms as well as therapy-selective (active and non-active site) mutations in the HIV-1 CRF_01 A/E (AE) protease when compared to the subtype-B (B) protease. Kinetic analysis of these variants using chromogenic substrates showed differences in substrate specificity between pre-therapy B and AE proteases. Inhibition analysis with ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, amprenavir, saquinavir, lopinavir, and atazanavir revealed that the natural polymorphisms found in A/E can influence inhibitor resistance. It was also apparent that a high level of resistance in the A/E protease, as with B protease, is due to aquiring a combination of active site and non-active site mutations. Structural analysis of atazanavir bound to a pre-therapy B protease showed that the ability of atazanavir to maintain its binding affinity to variants containing some resistance mutations is due to its unique interactions with flap residues. This structure also explains why the I50L and I84V mutations are important in decreasing the binding affinity of atazanavir.
Host cell range, or tropism, combined with coreceptor usage defines viral phenotypes as macrophage tropic using CCR5 (M-R5), T-cell-line tropic using CXCR4 (T-X4), or dually lymphocyte and macrophage tropic using CXCR4 alone or in combination with CCR5 (D-X4 or D-R5X4). Although envelope gp120 V3 is necessary and sufficient for M-R5 and T-X4 phenotypes, the clarity of V3 as a dominant phenotypic determinant diminishes in the case of dualtropic viruses. We evaluated D-X4 phenotype, pathogenesis, and emergence of D-X4 viruses in vivo and mapped genetic determinants in gp120 that mediate use of CXCR4 on macrophages ex vivo. Viral quasispecies with D-X4 phenotypes were associated significantly with advanced CD4+-T-cell attrition and commingled with M-R5 or T-X4 viruses in postmortem thymic tissue and peripheral blood. A D-X4 phenotype required complex discontinuous genetic determinants in gp120, including charged and uncharged amino acids in V3, the V5 hypervariable domain, and novel V1/V2 regions distinct from prototypic M-R5 or T-X4 viruses. The D-X4 phenotype was associated with efficient use of CXCR4 and CD4 for fusion and entry but unrelated to levels of virion-associated gp120, indicating that gp120 conformation contributes to cell-specific tropism. The D-X4 phenotype describes a complex and heterogeneous class of envelopes that accumulate multiple amino acid changes along an evolutionary continuum. Unique gp120 determinants required for the use of CXCR4 on macrophages, in contrast to cells of lymphocytic lineage, can provide targets for development of novel strategies to block emergence of X4 quasispecies of human immunodeficiency virus type 1.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) impacts multiple lineages of hematopoietic cells, including lymphocytes and macrophages, either by direct infection or indirectly by perturbations of cell networks, leading to generalized immune deficiency. We designed a study to discover, in primary human macrophages, sentinel genetic targets that are impacted during replication over the course of 7 days by a CCR5-using virus. Expression of mRNA and proteins in virus- or mock-treated macrophages from multiple donors was evaluated. Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis grouped into distinct temporal expression patterns >900 known human genes that were induced or repressed at least fourfold by virus. Expression of more than one-third of the genes was induced rapidly by day 2 of infection, while other genes were induced at intermediate (day 4) or late (day 7) time points. More than 200 genes were expressed exclusively in either virus- or mock-treated macrophage cultures, independent of the donor, providing an unequivocal basis to distinguish an effect by virus. HIV-1 altered levels of mRNA and/or protein for diverse cellular programs in macrophages, including multiple genes that can contribute to a transition in the cell cycle from G1 to G2/M, in contrast to expression in mock-treated macrophages of genes that maintain G0/G1. Virus treatment activated mediators of cell cycling, including PP2A, which is impacted by Vpr, as well as GADD45 and BRCA1, potentially novel targets for HIV-1. The results identify interrelated programs conducive to optimal HIV-1 replication and expression of genes that can contribute to macrophage dysfunction.
The proteases of retroviruses are key enzymes in viral propagation and are initially synthesized as polyprotein precursors that are subsequently cleaved at specific sites. Active retroviral proteases are homodimers, with each dimer structurally related to the larger class of single-chain aspartic peptidases. The need to develop new drugs against HIV will continue to be a driving force behind further characterization of retroviral proteases.
The proteases of retroviruses, such as leukemia viruses, immunodeficiency viruses (including the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV), infectious anemia viruses, and mammary tumor viruses, form a family with the proteases encoded by several retrotransposons in Drosophila and yeast and endogenous viral sequences in primates. Retroviral proteases are key enzymes in viral propagation and are initially synthesized with other viral proteins as polyprotein precursors that are subsequently cleaved by the viral protease activity at specific sites to produce mature, functional units. Active retroviral proteases are homodimers, with each dimer structurally related to the larger class of single-chain aspartic peptidases. Each monomer has four structural elements: two distinct hairpin loops, a wide loop containing the catalytic aspartic acid and an α helix. Retroviral gene sequences can vary between infected individuals, and mutations affecting the binding cleft of the protease or the substrate cleavage sites can alter the response of the virus to therapeutic drugs. The need to develop new drugs against HIV will continue to be, to a large extent, the driving force behind further characterization of retroviral proteases.
Evaluation of the T-cell immune response following primary antigenic challenge with a neoantigen is a critical aspect of assessment of the cellular immune response. While many antigens can be used to accurately assess in vitro T-cell proliferation to a recall antigen, only a few neoantigens have been tested for their capacities to measure T-cell responses in vitro to a primary immunization. Rabies vaccination is an excellent candidate for the testing of T-cell proliferation responses to a primary immunization because few individuals have been exposed to rabies virus antigens. In the present study 14 rabies vaccine-naïve, healthy adult volunteers were immunized against rabies virus, and T-cell proliferation and antibody responses were measured before and after vaccination. Optimal lymphocyte proliferation to soluble rabies virus antigen occurred after 8 days in culture. The average level of uptake of tritiated thymidine postimmunization was 29,620 ± 4,448 cpm, whereas preimmunization levels were 12,660 ± 3,448 cpm (P = 0.002). All individuals showed increases in rabies virus antibody titers from <0.05 to 5.59 ± 1.64 IU/ml. The degree of proliferation to tetanus toxoid as a recall antigen was similar to the response to rabies virus antigen among the cohort. Due to high levels of preimmunization proliferation, four subjects failed to demonstrate a twofold increase in response to rabies virus antigen. The high levels of T-cell responses may be due to a viral superantigen effect in some individuals. Rabies vaccination offers a safe and effective means for measurement of both T- and B-cell immune responses to a neoantigen in healthy and immune suppressed individuals.
The T-cell receptor (TCR) CDR3 length heterogeneity is formed during recombination of individual Vβ gene families. We hypothesized that CDR3 length diversity could be used to assess the fundamental differences within the TCR repertoire of CD45RA and CD45RO T-cell subpopulations. By using PCR-based spectratyping, nested primers for all 24 human Vβ families were developed to amplify CDR3 lengths in immunomagnetically selected CD45RA and CD45RO subsets within both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell populations. Umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells or peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from healthy newborns, infants, and children, as well as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children, were analyzed. All T-cell subsets from newborn and healthy children demonstrated a Gaussian distribution of CDR3 lengths in separated T-cell subsets. In contrast, HIV-infected children had a high proportion of predominant CDR3 lengths within both CD45RA and CD45RO T-cell subpopulations, most commonly in CD8+ CD45RO T cells. Sharp differences in clonal dominance and size distributions were observed when cells were separated into CD45RA or CD45RO subpopulations. These differences were not apparent in unfractionated CD4+ or CD8+ T cells from HIV-infected subjects. Sequence analysis of predominant CDR3 lengths revealed oligoclonal expansion within individual Vβ families. Analysis of the CDR3 length diversity within CD45RA and CD45RO T cells provides a more accurate measure of disturbances in the TCR repertoire than analysis of unfractionated CD4 and CD8 T cells.
We have examined the nature of V3 sequence variability among subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequences from plasma-derived viral RNA present in infected men from Malawi. Sequence variability was assessed by direct sequence analysis of the V3 reverse transcription-PCR products, examination of virus populations by a subtype C V3-specific heteroduplex tracking assay (V3-HTA), and selected sequence analysis of molecular clones derived from the PCR products. Sequence variability in V3 among the subtype C viruses was not associated with the presence of basic amino acid substitutions. This observation is in contrast to that for subtype B HIV-1, where sequence variability is associated with such substitutions, and these substitutions are determinants of altered coreceptor usage. Evolutionary variants in subtype C V3 sequences, as defined by the V3-HTA, were not correlated with the CD4 level in the infected person, while such a correlation was found with subtype B V3 sequences. Viruses were isolated from a subset of the subjects; all isolates used CCR5 and not CXCR4 as a coreceptor, and none was able to grow in MT-2 cells, a hallmark of the syncytium-inducing phenotype that is correlated with CXCR4 usage. The overall sequence variability of the subtype C V3 region was no greater than that of the conserved regions of gp120. This limited sequence variability was also a feature of subtype B V3 sequences that do not carry the basic amino acid substitutions associated with altered coreceptor usage. Our results indicate that altered coreceptor usage is rare in subtype C HIV-1 isolates in sub-Saharan Africa and that sequence variability is not a feature of the V3 region of env in the absence of altered coreceptor usage.
The stage of differentiation and the lineage of CD4+ cells profoundly affect their susceptibility to infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). While CD4+ T lymphocytes in patients are readily susceptible to HIV-1 infection, peripheral blood monocytes are relatively resistant during acute or early infection, even though monocytes also express CD4 and viral strains with macrophage (M)-tropic phenotypes predominate. CCR5, the main coreceptor for M-tropic viruses, clearly contributes to the ability of CD4+ T cells to be infected. To determine whether low levels of CCR5 expression account for the block in infection of monocytes, we examined primary monocyte lineage cells during differentiation. Culturing of blood monocytes for 5 days led to an increase in the mean number of CCR5-positive cells from <20% of monocytes to >80% of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). Levels of CCR5 expression per monocyte were generally lower than those on MDM, perhaps below a minimum threshold level necessary for efficient infection. Productive infection may be restricted to the small subset of monocytes that express relatively high levels of CCR5. Steady-state CCR5 mRNA levels also increased four- to fivefold during MDM differentiation. Infection of MDM by M-tropic HIV-1JRFL resulted in >10-fold-higher levels of p24, and MDM harbored >30-fold more HIV-1 DNA copies than monocytes. In the presence of the CCR5-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) 2D7, virus production and cellular levels of HIV-1 DNA were decreased by >80% in MDM, indicating a block in viral entry. There was a direct association between levels of CCR5 and differentiation of monocytes to macrophages. Levels of CCR5 were related to monocyte resistance and macrophage susceptibility to infection because infection by the M-tropic strain HIV-1JRFL could be blocked by MAb 2D7. These results provide direct evidence that CCR5 functions as a coreceptor for HIV-1 infection of primary macrophages.
Deep sequencing provides the basis for analysis of biodiversity of taxonomically similar organisms in an environment. While extensively applied to microbiome studies, population genetics studies of viruses are limited. To define the scope of HIV-1 population biodiversity within infected individuals, a suite of phylogenetic and population genetic algorithms was applied to HIV-1 envelope hypervariable domain 3 (Env V3) within peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a group of perinatally HIV-1 subtype B infected, therapy-naïve children.
Biodiversity of HIV-1 Env V3 quasispecies ranged from about 70 to 270 unique sequence clusters across individuals. Viral population structure was organized into a limited number of clusters that included the dominant variants combined with multiple clusters of low frequency variants. Next generation viral quasispecies evolved from low frequency variants at earlier time points through multiple non-synonymous changes in lineages within the evolutionary landscape. Minor V3 variants detected as long as four years after infection co-localized in phylogenetic reconstructions with early transmitting viruses or with subsequent plasma virus circulating two years later.
Deep sequencing defines HIV-1 population complexity and structure, reveals the ebb and flow of dominant and rare viral variants in the host ecosystem, and identifies an evolutionary record of low-frequency cell-associated viral V3 variants that persist for years. Bioinformatics pipeline developed for HIV-1 can be applied for biodiversity studies of virome populations in human, animal, or plant ecosystems.
HIV-1 envelope V3; Biodiversity; Population structure; Quasispecies; Fitness; Pyrosequencing; Founder virus persistence; Most recent common ancestor