Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (31)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
Document Types
1.  Genetic determinants in HIV-1 Gag and Env V3 are related to viral response to combination antiretroviral therapy with a protease inhibitor 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(13):1631-1640.
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.
PMCID: PMC3656663  PMID: 19625947
antiretroviral therapy response; coreceptors; HIV-1 Env V3; HIV-1 Gag; HIV-1 protease inhibitors
2.  Longitudinal analysis of intra-host simian immunodeficiency virus recombination in varied tissues of the rhesus macaque model for neuroAIDS 
The Journal of General Virology  2013;94(Pt 11):2469-2479.
Human immunodeficiency virus intra-host recombination has never been studied in vivo both during early infection and throughout disease progression. The CD8-depleted rhesus macaque model of neuroAIDS was used to investigate the impact of recombination from early infection up to the onset of neuropathology in animals inoculated with a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) swarm. Several lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues were collected longitudinally at 21 days post-infection (p.i.), 61 days p.i. and necropsy (75–118 days p.i.) from four macaques that developed SIV-encephalitis or meningitis, as well as from two animals euthanized at 21 days p.i. The number of recombinant sequences and breakpoints in different tissues and over time from each primate were compared. Breakpoint locations were mapped onto predicted RNA and protein secondary structures. Recombinants were found at each time point and in each primate as early as 21 days p.i. No association was found between recombination rates and specific tissue of origin. Several identical breakpoints were identified in sequences derived from different tissues in the same primate and among different primates. Breakpoints predominantly mapped to unpaired nucleotides or pseudoknots in RNA secondary structures, and proximal to glycosylation sites and cysteine residues in protein sequences, suggesting selective advantage in the emergence of specific recombinant sequences. Results indicate that recombinant sequences can become fixed very early after infection with a heterogeneous viral swarm. Features of RNA and protein secondary structure appear to play a role in driving the production of recombinants and their selection in the rapid disease model of neuroAIDS.
PMCID: PMC3809109  PMID: 23963535
3.  Multiple independent lineages of HIV-1 persist in breast milk and plasma 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(2):143-152.
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.
PMCID: PMC3032216  PMID: 21173592
HIV-1; breast milk; evolution; phylogeny; compartment; reservoir
4.  Microbial translocation induces persistent macrophage activation unrelated to HIV-1 levels or T cell activation following therapy 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(9):1281-1290.
HIV-1 replication and microbial translocation occur concomitant with systemic immune activation. This study delineates mechanisms of immune activation and CD4 T cell decline in pediatric HIV-1 infection.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal cellular and soluble plasma markers for inflammation were evaluated in 14 healthy and 33 perinatally HIV-1-infected pediatric subjects prior to and over 96 weeks of protease-inhibitor-containing combination antiretroviral treatment [ART]. All HIV-1-infected subjects reconstituted CD4 T cells either with suppression of viremia or rebound of drug-resistant virus.
Systemic immune activation was determined by polychromatic flow cytometry of blood lymphocytes and ELISA for plasma soluble CD27 [sCD27], soluble CD14 [sCD14], and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]. Microbial translocation was evaluated by limulus amebocyte lysate assay to detect bacterial lipopolysaccharide [LPS] and ELISA for anti-endotoxin core antigen IgM antibodies. Immune activation markers were compared to viral load, CD4% and LPS by regression models. Comparisons between healthy and HIV-1 infected or between different viral outcome groups were performed by non-parametric rank sum.
Microbial translocation was detected in healthy infants but resolved with age (P<0.05). LPS and sCD14 levels were elevated in all HIV-1 infected subjects (P<0.05 and P<0.0001, respectively) and persisted even if CD4 T cells were fully reconstituted, virus optimally suppressed, and lymphocyte activation resolved by ART. Children with CD4 T cell reconstitution but viral rebound following ART continued to display high levels of sCD27.
Microbial translocation in pediatric HIV-1-infection is associated with persistent monocyte/macrophage activation independent of viral replication or T cell activation.
PMCID: PMC2888494  PMID: 20559035
HIV-1; microbial translocation; monocyte/macrophage; systemic immune activation; children and adolescents; lipopolysaccharide; inflammation
5.  Concordance between self-reported substance use and toxicology among HIV-infected and uninfected at risk youth 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;134:376-382.
Substance use by youth living with HIV (YLWH) is a concern, given potential interactions with virus-associated immune suppression and adverse effects on risk behaviors, neurocognition, and adherence. Self-report substance use measures provide efficient cost-effective assessments. Analyses describe self-reported substance use among YLWH and examine agreement with toxicology assays.
Seventy-eight youth age 18–24 years (87% male, 71% African–American) with behaviorally acquired HIV-1 infection and 55 uninfected youth completed the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test to assess drug use frequency, including tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, over the prior three months. Elisa-based toxicology assays were used to detect 27 substances in plasma. Chi-square tests compared substance use between YLWH and uninfected youth; Kappa statistics compared agreement between self-report and toxicology.
YLWH reported marijuana (49%), tobacco (56%), and alcohol (87%) use, with 20%, 28% and 3% reporting daily use of each substance, respectively; other substance use was uncommon. Uninfected youth reported less tobacco use but otherwise similar substance use. All youth who reported daily use of marijuana or tobacco had positive plasma toxicology results, while concordance decreased with less frequent self-reported use. Among youth reporting no substance use, few tested positive (4% YLWH, 2% uninfected youth for cannabis; 8%YLWH for tobacco).
Youth report high rates of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use. Concordance between self-report and toxicology for marijuana and tobacco use, particularly for daily users, supports self-report as a valid indicator of substance use in research studies of youth with or without HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC4006963  PMID: 24309297
HIV; Adolescent; Substance use; Marijuana; Self-report; Toxicology
6.  Empirical validation of viral quasispecies assembly algorithms: state-of-the-art and challenges 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2837.
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.
PMCID: PMC3789152  PMID: 24089188
7.  Antiretroviral Therapy Corrects HIV-1 Induced Expansion of CD8+ CD45RA+ CD27− CD11abright Activated T cells 
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.
Clinical Implications
Multi-parameter flow cytometry accurately measures thymic output and viral induced T cell expansions within HIV-infected children.
PMCID: PMC3713492  PMID: 18538835
HIV-1; children; T cell receptor; T cell receptor rearrangement excision circles; immune reconstitution; flow cytometry; T cells
8.  Drug-Associated Changes in Amino Acid Residues in Gag p2, p7NC, and p6Gag/p6Pol in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Display a Dominant Effect on Replicative Fitness and Drug Response 
Virology  2008;378(2):272-281.
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.
PMCID: PMC3706456  PMID: 18599104
Fitness; Protease; PI Resistance
9.  Efficient transmission and persistence of low-frequency SIVmac251 variants in CD8-depleted rhesus macaques with different neuropathology 
The Journal of General Virology  2012;93(Pt 5):925-938.
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.
PMCID: PMC3541805  PMID: 22302881
10.  Unexpected Maintenance of Hepatitis C Viral Diversity following Liver Transplantation 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(16):8432-8439.
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.
PMCID: PMC3421713  PMID: 22623804
11.  High-resolution deep sequencing reveals biodiversity, population structure, and persistence of HIV-1 quasispecies within host ecosystems 
Retrovirology  2012;9:108.
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.
PMCID: PMC3531307  PMID: 23244298
HIV-1 envelope V3; Biodiversity; Population structure; Quasispecies; Fitness; Pyrosequencing; Founder virus persistence; Most recent common ancestor
12.  Significant Genetic Heterogeneity of the SIVmac251 Viral Swarm Derived from Different Sources 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(12):1327-1332.
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.
PMCID: PMC3227245  PMID: 21524235
13.  Molecular Epidemiology of HIV Type 1 CRF02_AG in Cameroon and African Patients Living in Italy 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(11):1173-1182.
HIV-1 CRF02_AG accounts for >50% of infected individuals in Cameroon. CRF02_AG prevalence has been increasing both in Africa and Europe, particularly in Italy because of migrations from the sub-Saharan region. This study investigated the molecular epidemiology of CRF02_AG in Cameroon by employing Bayesian phylodynamics and analyzed the relationship between HIV-1 CRF02_AG isolates circulating in Italy and those prevalent in Africa to understand the link between the two epidemics. Among 291 Cameroonian reverse transcriptase sequences analyzed, about 70% clustered within three distinct clades, two of which shared a most recent common ancestor, all related to sequences from Western Africa. The major Cameroonian clades emerged during the mid-1970s and slowly spread during the next 30 years. Little or no geographic structure was detected within these clades. One of the major driving forces of the epidemic was likely the high accessibility between locations in Southern Cameroon contributing to the mobility of the population. The remaining Cameroonian sequences and the new strains isolated from Italian patients were interspersed mainly within West and Central African sequences in the tree, indicating a continuous exchange of CRF02_AG viral strains between Cameroon and other African countries, as well as multiple independent introductions in the Italian population. The evaluation of the spread of CRF02_AG may provide significant insight about the future dynamics of the Italian and European epidemic.
PMCID: PMC3206741  PMID: 21453131
14.  HPV-QUEST: A highly customized system for automated HPV sequence analysis capable of processing Next Generation sequencing data set 
Bioinformation  2012;8(8):388-390.
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
PMCID: PMC3346025  PMID: 22570520
Human papilloma virus; Genotyping; web-based; Blast search; Next Generation sequencing
15.  IFNγ primes macrophages for inflammatory activation by high molecular weight hyaluronan 
Cellular immunology  2010;262(2):84-88.
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.
PMCID: PMC2891046  PMID: 20299009
Rheumatoid arthritis; inflammation; hyaluronan; macrophages; interferon gamma; interleukin-10; interleukin-12; tumor necrosis factor; c-Jun
16.  Antiretroviral Therapy Restores Diversity in the T-Cell Receptor Vβ Repertoire of CD4 T-Cell Subpopulations among Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Children and Adolescents▿  
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.
PMCID: PMC2745006  PMID: 19605599
17.  An exploratory algorithm to identify intra-host recombinant viral sequences 
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.
PMCID: PMC2615825  PMID: 18801446
18.  Spatial phylodynamics of HIV-1 epidemic emergence in east Africa 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(14):F9-F17.
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.
PMCID: PMC2742553  PMID: 19644346
Africa; epidemic; evolution; geographic information system; HIV-1; phylodynamics
19.  The HIV Type 1 Epidemic in Bulgaria Involves Multiple Subtypes and Is Sustained by Continuous Viral Inflow from West and East European Countries 
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.
PMCID: PMC2927039  PMID: 18544022
20.  Expression, purification and preliminary X-ray crystallographic studies of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 subtype C protease 
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.
PMCID: PMC2330223  PMID: 17401206
HIV-1; subtype C protease; indinavir; nelfinavir
21.  HIV-1 Activates Macrophages Independent of Toll-Like Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3664.
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
PMCID: PMC2585009  PMID: 19048100
22.  Analysis of HIV-1 CRF_01 A/E Protease Inhibitor Resistance: Structural determinants for maintaining sensitivity and developing resistance to atazanavir 
Biochemistry  2006;45(17):5468-5477.
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.
PMCID: PMC2518317  PMID: 16634628
23.  High-Resolution Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary History of HIV-1 Subtypes in Albania 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(1):e1390.
HIV-1 epidemic in Western Europe is largely due to subtype B. Little is known about the HIV-1 in Eastern Europe, but a few studies have shown that non-B subtypes are quite common. In Albania, where a recent study estimated a ten-fold increase of AIDS incidence during the last six years, subtype A and B account for 90% of the know infections.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the demographic history of HIV-1 subtype A and B in Albania by using a statistical framework based on coalescent theory and phylogeography. High-resolution phylogenetic and molecular clock analysis showed a limited introduction to the Balkan country of subtype A during the late 1980s followed by an epidemic outburst in the early 1990s. In contrast, subtype B was apparently introduced multiple times between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. Both subtypes are growing exponentially, although the HIV-1A epidemic displays a faster growth rate, and a significantly higher basic reproductive number R0. HIV-1A gene flow occurs primarily from the capital Tirane, in the center of the country, to the periphery, while HIV-1B flow is characterized by a balanced exchange between center and periphery. Finally, we calculated that the actual number of infections in Albania is at least two orders of magnitude higher than previously thought.
Our analysis demonstrates the power of recently developed computational tools to investigate molecular epidemiology of pathogens, and emphasize the complex factors involved in the establishment of HIV-1 epidemics. We suggest that a significant correlation exists between HIV-1 exponential spread and the socio-political changes occurred during the Balkan wars. The fast growth of a relatively new non-B epidemic in the Balkans may have significant consequences for the evolution of HIV-1 epidemiology in neighboring countries in Eastern and Western Europe.
PMCID: PMC2148102  PMID: 18167549
24.  Phylodynamics of HIV-1 in Lymphoid and Non-Lymphoid Tissues Reveals a Central Role for the Thymus in Emergence of CXCR4-Using Quasispecies 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(9):e950.
During HIV-1 infection coreceptor switch from CCR5- (R5)- to CXCR4 (X4)-using viruses is associated with disease progression. X4 strains of HIV-1 are highly cytopathic to immature thymocytes. Virtually no studies have evaluated the HIV-1 quasispecies present in vivo within thymic and lymphoid tissues or the evolutionary relationship between R5 and X4 viruses in tissues and peripheral blood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
High-resolution phylodynamic analysis was applied to virus envelope quasispecies in longitudinal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues collected post mortem from therapy naïve children with AIDS. There were three major findings. First, continued evolution of R5 viruses in PBMCs, spleen and lymph nodes involved multiple bottlenecks, independent of coreceptor switch, resulting in fitter quasispecies driven by positive selection. Second, evolution of X4 strains appeared to be a sequential process requiring the initial fixation of positively selected mutations in V1-V2 and C2 domains of R5 variants before the emergence of high charge V3 X4 variants. Third, R5 viruses persisted after the emergence of CXCR4-using strains, which were found predominantly but not exclusively in the thymus.
Our data indicate that the evolution of X4 strains is a multi-step, temporally structured process and that the thymus may play an important role in the evolution/amplification of coreceptor variants. Development of new therapeutic protocols targeting virus in the thymus could be important to control HIV-1 infection prior to advanced disease.
PMCID: PMC1978532  PMID: 17895991
25.  Complex Determinants in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Envelope gp120 Mediate CXCR4-Dependent Infection of Macrophages 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(21):13250-13261.
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.
PMCID: PMC1262568  PMID: 16227248

Results 1-25 (31)