Virological failure (VF) has been identified as the earliest, most predictive determinant of HIV-1 antiretroviral treatment (ART) failure. Due to the high cost and complexity of virological monitoring, VF assays are rarely performed in resource-limited settings (RLS). Rather, ART failure is determined by clinical monitoring and to a large extent immunological monitoring. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a low-cost, dried blood spot (DBS)-compatible qualitative assay to determine VF, in accordance with current WHO guideline recommendations for therapy switching in RLS. The assay described here is an internally controlled qualitative real-time PCR targeting the conserved long terminal repeat domain of HIV-1. This assay was applied to HIV-1 subtypes A to H and further evaluated on HIV-1 clinical plasma samples from South Africa (n = 191) and Tanzania (n = 42). Field evaluation was performed in Uganda using local clinical plasma samples (n = 176). Furthermore, assay performance was evaluated for DBS. This assay is able to identify VF for all major HIV-1 group M subtypes with equal specificity and has a lower detection limit of 1.00E+03 copies/ml for plasma samples and 5.00E+03 copies/ml for DBS. Comparative testing yielded accurate VF determination for therapy switching in 89% to 96% of samples compared to gold standards. The assay is robust and flexible, allowing for “open platform” applications and producing results comparable to those of commercial assays. Assay design enables application in laboratories that can accommodate real-time PCR equipment, allowing decentralization of testing to some extent. Compatibility with DBS extends access of sampling and thus access to this test to remote settings.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the balance between transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) supply and demand in retrovirus-infected cells, seeking the best targets for antiretroviral therapy based on the hypothetical tRNA Inhibition Therapy (TRIT). Codon usage and tRNA gene data were retrieved from public databases. Based on logistic principles, a therapeutic score (T-score) was calculated for all sense codons, in each retrovirus-host system. Codons that are critical for viral protein translation, but not as critical for the host, have the highest T-score values. Theoretically, inactivating the cognate tRNA species should imply a severe reduction of the elongation rate during viral mRNA translation. We developed a method to predict tRNA species critical for retroviral protein synthesis. Four of the best TRIT targets in HIV-1 and HIV-2 encode Large Hydrophobic Residues (LHR), which have a central role in protein folding. One of them, codon CUA, is also a TRIT target in both HTLV-1 and HTLV-2. Therefore, a drug designed for inactivating or reducing the cytoplasmatic concentration of tRNA species with anticodon TAG could attenuate significantly both HIV and HTLV protein synthesis rates. Inversely, replacing codons ending in UA by synonymous codons should increase the expression, which is relevant for DNA vaccine design.
codon usage; tRNA; HIV; HTLV; therapy
Motivation: Large phylogenies are being built today to study virus evolution, trace the origin of epidemics, establish the mode of transmission and survey the appearance of drug resistance. However, no tool is available to quickly inspect these phylogenies and combine them with extrinsic traits (e.g. geographic location, risk group, presence of a given resistance mutation), seeking to extract strain groups of specific interest or requiring surveillance.
Results: We propose a new method for obtaining such groups, which we call phylotypes, from a phylogeny having taxa (strains) annotated with extrinsic traits. Phylotypes are subsets of taxa with close phylogenetic relationships and common trait values. The method combines ancestral trait reconstruction using parsimony, with combinatorial and numerical criteria measuring tree shape characteristics and the diversity and separation of the potential phylotypes. A shuffling procedure is used to assess the statistical significance of phylotypes. All algorithms have linear time complexity. This results in low computing times, typically a few minutes for the larger data sets with a number of shuffling steps. Two HIV-1 data sets are analyzed, one of which is large, containing >3000 strains of HIV-1 subtype C collected worldwide, where the method shows its ability to recover known clusters and transmission routes, and to detect new ones.
Availability: This method and companion tools are implemented in an interactive Web interface (www.phylotype.org), which provides a wide choice of graphical views and output formats, and allows for exploratory analyses of large data sets.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance (TDR) could reverse the gains of antiretroviral rollout. To ensure that current first-line therapies remain effective, TDR levels in recently infected treatment-naive patients need to be monitored. A literature review and data mining exercise was carried out to determine the temporal trends in TDR in South Africa. In addition, 72 sequences from seroconvertors identified from Africa Centre's 2010 HIV surveillance round were also examined for TDR. Publicly available data on TDR were retrieved from GenBank, curated in RegaDB, and analyzed using the Calibrated Population Resistance Program. There was no evidence of TDR from the 2010 rural KwaZulu Natal samples. Ten datasets with a total of 1618 sequences collected between 2000 and 2010 were pooled to provide a temporal analysis of TDR. The year with the highest TDR rate was 2002 [6.67%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.09–13.79%; n=6/90]. After 2002, TDR levels returned to <5% (WHO low-level threshold) and showed no statistically significant increase in the interval between 2002 and 2010. The most common mutations were associated with NNRTI resistance, K103N, followed by Y181C and Y188C/L. Five sequences had multiple resistance mutations associated with NNRTI resistance. There is no evidence of TDR in rural KwaZulu-Natal. TDR levels in South Africa have remained low following a downward trend since 2003. Continuous vigilance in monitoring of TDR is needed as more patients are initiated and maintained onto antiretroviral therapy.
The evolution of substitutions conferring drug resistance to HIV-1 is both episodic, occurring when patients are on antiretroviral therapy, and strongly directional, with site-specific resistant residues increasing in frequency over time. While methods exist to detect episodic diversifying selection and continuous directional selection, no evolutionary model combining these two properties has been proposed. We present two models of episodic directional selection (MEDS and EDEPS) which allow the a priori specification of lineages expected to have undergone directional selection. The models infer the sites and target residues that were likely subject to directional selection, using either codon or protein sequences. Compared to its null model of episodic diversifying selection, MEDS provides a superior fit to most sites known to be involved in drug resistance, and neither one test for episodic diversifying selection nor another for constant directional selection are able to detect as many true positives as MEDS and EDEPS while maintaining acceptable levels of false positives. This suggests that episodic directional selection is a better description of the process driving the evolution of drug resistance.
When exposed to treatment, HIV-1 and other rapidly evolving viruses have the capacity to acquire drug resistance mutations (DRAMs), which limit the efficacy of antivirals. There are a number of experimentally well characterized HIV-1 DRAMs, but many mutations whose roles are not fully understood have also been reported. In this manuscript we construct evolutionary models that identify the locations and targets of mutations conferring resistance to antiretrovirals from viral sequences sampled from treated and untreated individuals. While the evolution of drug resistance is a classic example of natural selection, existing analyses fail to detect the majority of DRAMs. We show that, in order to identify resistance mutations from sequence data, it is necessary to recognize that in this case natural selection is both episodic (it only operates when the virus is exposed to the drugs) and directional (only mutations to a particular amino-acid confer resistance while allowing the virus to continue replicating). The new class of models that allow for the episodic and directional nature of adaptive evolution performs very well at recovering known DRAMs, can be useful at identifying unknown resistance-associated mutations, and is generally applicable to a variety of biological scenarios where similar selective forces are at play.
HIV-1 CRF02_AG and subtype G (HIV-1G) account for most HIV infections in Nigeria, but their evolutionary trends have not been well documented. To better elucidate the dynamics of the epidemic in Nigeria we characterised the gag and env genes of North-Central Nigerian HIV-1 isolates from pregnant women. Of 28 samples sequenced in both genes, the predominant clades were CRF02_AG (39%) and HIV-1G (32%). Higher predicted proportion of CXCR4-tropic (X4) HIV-1G isolates was noted compared to CRF02_AG (p = 0.007, Fisher's exact test). Phylogenetic and Bayesian analysis conducted on our sequences and all the dated available Nigerian sequences on the Los Alamos data base showed that CRF02_AG and HIV-1G entered into Nigeria through multiple entries, with presence of HIV-1G dating back to early 1980s. This study underlines the genetic complexity of the HIV-1 epidemic in Nigeria, possible subtype-specific differences in co-receptor usage, and the evolutionary trends of the predominant HIV-1 strains in Nigeria, which may have implications for the design of biomedical interventions and better understanding of the epidemic.
To investigate the origins and evolutionary history of subtype C HIV-1 in Zimbabwe in a context of regional conflict and migration.
HIV-1C pol sequence datasets were generated from four sequential cohorts of antenatal women in Harare, Zimbabwe sampled over 15 years (1991–2006).
One hundred and seventy-seven HIV-1C pol sequences were obtained from four successive cohorts in Zimbabwe. Maximum-likelihood methods were used to explore phylogenetic relationships between Zimbabwean HIV-1C sequences and subtype C strains from other regions. A Bayesian coalescent-based framework was used to estimate evolutionary parameters for HIV-1C in Zimbabwe, including origin and demographic growth patterns.
Zimbabwe HIV-1C pol demonstrated increasing sequence divergence over the 15-year period. Nearly all Zimbabwe sequences clustered phylogenetically with subtype C strains from neighboring countries. Bayesian evolutionary analysis indicated a most recent common ancestor date of 1973 with three epidemic growth phases: an initial slow phase (1970s) followed by exponential growth (1980s), and a linearly expanding epidemic to the present. Bayesian trees provided evidence for multiple HIV-1C introductions into Zimbabwe during 1979–1981, corresponding with Zimbabwean national independence following a period of socio-political instability.
The Zimbabwean HIV-1C epidemic likely originated from multiple introductions in the late 1970s and grew exponentially during the 1980s, corresponding to changing political boundaries and rapid population influx from neighboring countries. The timing and phylogenetic clustering of the Zimbabwean sequences is consistent with an origin in southern Africa and subsequent expansion. HIV-1 sequence data contain important epidemiological information, which can help focus treatment and prevention strategies in light of more recent political volatility in Zimbabwe.
epidemiology; evolutionary history; HIV-1; origin; subtype C; Zimbabwe
Despite the existence of over 50 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1), subtype-C dominates the heterosexual pandemic causing 56% of all infections.
To evaluate whether viral genetic factors may contribute to the observed subtype-C predominance.
Chimeric viruses were generated using V1-V3 envelope fragments from a subtype-A/C dually-infected woman with preferential genital replication of subtype-C. Viral adaptation, spread and cell fusion ability were evaluated in vitro using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and HeLa-CD4-CCR5 cell lines, sequencing and cloning. Structural modeling was performed using a crystal structure of gp120-CD4-X5. Phylogenetic analysis was done using subtype-A, -B and -C sequences from blood and cervix of 37 infected women and database sequences.
We identified two envelope motifs, compact V1-V2 loops and V3-316T, which are found at high frequency throughout subtype-C evolution, and affect gp120 interactions with CD4 and CCR5, respectively. When a V1-Δ5 deletion or V3-A316T was incorporated into subtype-A, each increased viral fusion and spread in PBMC and cell-lines with low CCR5-expression several fold. Structural modeling suggested the formation of an additional hydrogen bond between V3 and CCR5. Moreover, we found preferential selection of HIV with 316T and/or extremely short V1-V2 loops in cervices of three women infected with subtype-A/C, -B or −C.
As CD4+-CCR5+-T-cells are key targets for genital HIV infection, and cervical selection can favor compact V1-V2 loops and 316T, which increase viral infectivity, we propose that these conserved subtype-C motifs may contribute to transmission and spread of this subtype.
HIV-1; subtype-C; subtype-A; evolution; CCR5; cervix; transmission; phylogeny
The global spread of HIV-1 has been accompanied by the emergence of genetically distinct viral strains. Over the past two decades subtype C viruses, which predominate in Southern and Eastern Africa, have spread rapidly throughout parts of South America. Phylogenetic studies indicate that subtype C viruses were introduced to South America through a single founder event that occurred in Southern Brazil. However, the external route via which subtype C viruses spread to the South American continent has remained unclear.
We used automated genotyping to screen 8,309 HIV-1 subtype C pol gene sequences sampled within the UK for isolates genetically linked to the subtype C epidemic in South America. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches were used to explore the phylogenetic relationships between 54 sequences identified in this screen, and a set of globally sampled subtype C reference sequences. Phylogenetic trees disclosed a robustly supported relationship between sequences from Brazil, the UK and East Africa. A monophyletic cluster comprised exclusively of sequences from the UK and Brazil was identified and dated to approximately the early 1980s using a Bayesian coalescent-based method. A sub-cluster of 27 sequences isolated from homosexual men of UK origin was also identified and dated to the early 1990s.
Phylogenetic, demographic and temporal data support the conclusion that the UK was a crucial staging post in the spread of subtype C from East Africa to South America. This unexpected finding demonstrates the role of diffuse international networks in the global spread of HIV-1 infection, and the utility of globally sampled viral sequence data in revealing these networks. Additionally, we show that subtype C viruses are spreading within the UK amongst men who have sex with men.
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.
Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1), hepatitis B and C and other rapidly evolving viruses are characterized by extremely high levels of genetic diversity. To facilitate diagnosis and the development of prevention and treatment strategies that efficiently target the diversity of these viruses, and other pathogens such as human T-lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1), human herpes virus type-8 (HHV8) and human papillomavirus (HPV), we developed a rapid high-throughput-genotyping system. The method involves the alignment of a query sequence with a carefully selected set of pre-defined reference strains, followed by phylogenetic analysis of multiple overlapping segments of the alignment using a sliding window. Each segment of the query sequence is assigned the genotype and sub-genotype of the reference strain with the highest bootstrap (>70%) and bootscanning (>90%) scores. Results from all windows are combined and displayed graphically using color-coded genotypes. The new Virus-Genotyping Tools provide accurate classification of recombinant and non-recombinant viruses and are currently being assessed for their diagnostic utility. They have incorporated into several HIV drug resistance algorithms including the Stanford (http://hivdb.stanford.edu) and two European databases (http://www.umcutrecht.nl/subsite/spread-programme/ and http://www.hivrdb.org.uk/) and have been successfully used to genotype a large number of sequences in these and other databases. The tools are a PHP/JAVA web application and are freely accessible on a number of servers including:
The human polynucleotide cytidine deaminases APOBEC3G (hA3G) and APOBEC3F (hA3F) are antiviral restriction factors capable of inducing extensive plus-strand guanine-to-adenine (G-to-A) hypermutation in a variety of retroviruses and retroelements, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). They differ in target specificity, favoring plus-strand 5′GG and 5′GA dinucleotide motifs, respectively. To characterize their mutational preferences in detail, we analyzed single-copy, near-full-length HIV-1 proviruses which had been hypermutated in vitro by hA3G or hA3F. hA3-induced G-to-A mutation rates were significantly influenced by the wider sequence context of the target G. Moreover, hA3G, and to a lesser extent hA3F, displayed clear tetranucleotide preference hierarchies, irrespective of the genomic region examined and overall hypermutation rate. We similarly analyzed patient-derived hypermutated HIV-1 genomes using a new method for estimating reference sequences. The majority of these, regardless of subtype, carried signatures of hypermutation that strongly correlated with those induced in vitro by hA3G. Analysis of genome-wide hA3-induced mutational profiles confirmed that hypermutation levels were reduced downstream of the polypurine tracts. Additionally, while hA3G mutations were found throughout the genome, hA3F often intensely mutated shorter regions, the locations of which varied between proviruses. We extended our analysis to human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) from the HERV-K(HML2) family, finding two elements that carried clear footprints of hA3G activity. This constitutes the most direct evidence to date for hA3G activity in the context of natural HERV infections, demonstrating the involvement of this restriction factor in defense against retroviral attacks over millions of years of human evolution.
The RNA Virus Database is a database and web application describing the genome organization and providing analytical tools for the 938 known species of RNA virus. It can identify submitted nucleotide sequences, can place them into multiple whole-genome alignments (in species where more than one isolate has been fully sequenced) and contains translated genome sequences for all species. It has been created for two main purposes: to facilitate the comparative analysis of RNA viruses and to become a hub for other, more specialised virus Web sites. It is available at the following four mirrored sites.
With ongoing generation of viral genetic diversity and increasing levels of migration, the global human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic is becoming increasingly heterogeneous. In this study, we investigate the epidemiological characteristics of 5,675 HIV-1 pol gene sequences sampled from distinct infections in the United Kingdom. These sequences were phylogenetically analyzed in conjunction with 976 complete-genome and 3,201 pol gene reference sequences sampled globally and representing the broad range of HIV-1 genetic diversity, allowing us to estimate the probable geographic origins of the various strains present in the United Kingdom. A statistical analysis of phylogenetic clustering in this data set identified several independent transmission chains within the United Kingdom involving recently introduced strains and indicated that strains more commonly associated with infections acquired heterosexually in East Africa are spreading among men who have sex with men. Coalescent approaches were also used and indicated that the transmission chains that we identify originated in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Similar changes in the epidemiological structuring of HIV epidemics are likely to be taking in place in other industrialized nations with large immigrant populations. The framework implemented here takes advantage of the vast amount of routinely generated HIV-1 sequence data and can provide epidemiological insights not readily obtainable through standard surveillance methods.
Most Internet online resources for investigating HIV biology contain either bioinformatics tools, protein information or sequence data. The objective of this study was to develop a comprehensive online proteomics resource that integrates bioinformatics with the latest information on HIV-1 protein structure, gene expression, post-transcriptional/post-translational modification, functional activity, and protein-macromolecule interactions. The BioAfrica HIV-1 Proteomics Resource is a website that contains detailed information about the HIV-1 proteome and protease cleavage sites, as well as data-mining tools that can be used to manipulate and query protein sequence data, a BLAST tool for initiating structural analyses of HIV-1 proteins, and a proteomics tools directory. The Proteome section contains extensive data on each of 19 HIV-1 proteins, including their functional properties, a sample analysis of HIV-1HXB2, structural models and links to other online resources. The HIV-1 Protease Cleavage Sites section provides information on the position, subtype variation and genetic evolution of Gag, Gag-Pol and Nef cleavage sites. The HIV-1 Protein Data-mining Tool includes a set of 27 group M (subtypes A through K) reference sequences that can be used to assess the influence of genetic variation on immunological and functional domains of the protein. The BLAST Structure Tool identifies proteins with similar, experimentally determined topologies, and the Tools Directory provides a categorized list of websites and relevant software programs. This combined database and software repository is designed to facilitate the capture, retrieval and analysis of HIV-1 protein data, and to convert it into clinically useful information relating to the pathogenesis, transmission and therapeutic response of different HIV-1 variants. The HIV-1 Proteomics Resource is readily accessible through the BioAfrica website at:
Naturally occurring polymorphisms in the protease of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C would be expected to lead to adaptive (compensatory) changes in protease cleavage sites. To test this hypothesis, we examined the prevalences and patterns of cleavage site polymorphisms in the Gag, Gag-Pol, and Nef cleavage sites of C compared to those in non-C subtypes. Codon-based maximum-likelihood methods were used to assess the natural selection and evolutionary history of individual cleavage sites. Seven cleavage sites (p17/p24, p24/p2, NC/p1, NC/TFP, PR/RT, RT/p66, and p66/IN) were well conserved over time and in all HIV-1 subtypes. One site (p1/p6gag) exhibited moderate variation, and four sites (p2/NC, TFP/p6pol, p6pol/PR, and Nef) were highly variable, both within and between subtypes. Three of the variable sites are known to be major determinants of polyprotein processing and virion production. P2/NC controls the rate and order of cleavage, p6gag is an important phosphoprotein required for virion release, and TFP/p6pol, a novel cleavage site in the transframe domain, influences the specificity of Gag-Pol processing and the activation of protease. Overall, 58.3% of the 12 HIV-1 cleavage sites were significantly more diverse in C than in B viruses. When analyzed as a single concatenated fragment of 360 bp, 96.0% of group M cleavage site sequences fell into subtype-specific phylogenetic clusters, suggesting that they coevolved with the virus. Natural variation at C cleavage sites may play an important role, not only in regulation of the viral cycle but also in disease progression and response to therapy.
To clarify the origin and evolution of the primate lentiviruses (PLVs), which include human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 as well as their simian relatives, simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs), isolated from several host species, we investigated the phylogenetic relationships among the six supposedly nonrecombinant PLV lineages for which the full genome sequences are available. Employing bootscanning as an exploratory tool, we located several regions in the PLV genome that seem to have uncertain or conflicting phylogenetic histories. Phylogeny reconstruction based on distance and maximum-likelihood algorithms followed by a number of statistical tests confirms the existence of at least five putative recombinant fragments in the PLV genome with different clustering patterns. Split decomposition analysis also shows that phylogenetic relationships among PLVs may be better represented by network-based graphs, such as the ones produced by SplitsTree. Our findings not only imply that the six so-called pure PLV lineages have in fact mosaic genomes but also make more unlikely the hypothesis of cospeciation of SIVs and their simian hosts.
Integrated into the sheep genome are 15 to 20 copies of type D endogenous loci that are highly related to two exogenous oncogenic viruses, jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) and enzootic nasal tumor virus (ENTV). The exogenous viruses cause infectious neoplasms of the respiratory tract in small ruminants. In this study, we molecularly cloned three intact type D endogenous retroviruses of sheep (enJS56A1, enJS5F16, and enJS59A1; collectively called enJRSVs) and analyzed their genomic structures, their phylogenies with respect to their exogenous counterparts, their capacity to form viral particles, and the expression specificities of their long terminal repeats (LTRs). In addition, the pattern of expression of enJSRVs in vivo was studied by in situ hybridization. All of the three enJSRV proviruses had open reading frames for at least one of the structural genes. In particular, enJS56A1 had open reading frames for all structural genes, but it could not assemble viral particles when highly expressed in human 293T cells. We localized the defect for viral assembly in the first two-thirds of the gag gene by making a series of chimeras between enJS56A1 and the exogenous infectious molecular clone JSRV21. Phylogenetic analysis distinguished five ovine type D retroviruses: enJSRV groups A and B, ENTV, and two exogenous JSRV groups (African versus United Kingdom/North America isolates). Transient transfection assays indicated that the LTRs of the three enJSRVs were not preferentially active in differentiated lung epithelial cells. This suggests that the pulmonary tropic JSRV developed from a type D retrovirus that did not have lung specificity. Consistent with this, in situ hybridization of a panel of normal ovine tissues revealed high expression of enJSRV mRNA in the luminal epithelium and glandular epithelium of the uterus; lower expression was localized in the lamina propria of the gut and in the bronchiolar epithelium of the lungs.
To determine the frequency and patterns of acquired antiretroviral drug resistance in a rural primary health care programme in South Africa.
Cross-sectional study nested within HIV treatment programme.
Adult (≥18 years) HIV-infected individuals initially treated with a first-line stavudine- or zidovudine-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen and with evidence of virological failure (one viral load >1000 copies/ml) were enrolled from 17 rural primary health care clinics. Genotypic resistance testing was performed using the in-house SATuRN/Life Technologies system. Sequences were analysed and genotypic susceptibility scores (GSS) for standard second-line regimens were calculated using the Stanford HIVDB 6.0.5 algorithms.
A total of 222 adults were successfully genotyped for HIV drug resistance between December 2010 and March 2012. The most common regimens at time of genotype were stavudine, lamivudine and efavirenz (51%); and stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine (24%). Median duration of ART was 42 months (interquartile range (IQR) 32–53) and median duration of antiretroviral failure was 27 months (IQR 17–40). One hundred and ninety one (86%) had at least one drug resistance mutation. For 34 individuals (15%), the GSS for the standard second-line regimen was <2, suggesting a significantly compromised regimen. In univariate analysis, individuals with a prior nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) substitution were more likely to have a GSS <2 than those on the same NRTIs throughout (odds ratio (OR) 5.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.60–12.49).
There are high levels of drug resistance in adults with failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy in this rural primary health care programme. Standard second-line regimens could potentially have had reduced efficacy in about one in seven adults involved.
South Africa’s national antiretroviral (ARV) treatment program expanded in 2010 to include the nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NRTI) tenofovir (TDF) for adults and abacavir (ABC) for children. We investigated the associated changes in genotypic drug resistance patterns in patients with first-line ARV treatment failure since the introduction of these drugs, and protease inhibitor (PI) resistance patterns in patients who received ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (LPV/r)-containing therapy.
We analysed ARV treatment histories and HIV-1 RT and protease mutations in plasma samples submitted to the Tygerberg Academic Hospital National Health Service Laboratory.
Between 2006 and 2012, 1,667 plasma samples from 1,416 ARV-treated patients, including 588 children and infants, were submitted for genotypic resistance testing. Compared with 720 recipients of a d4T or AZT-containing first-line regimen, the 153 recipients of a TDF-containing first-line regimen were more likely to have the RT mutations K65R (46% vs 4.0%; p<0.001), Y115F (10% vs. 0.6%; p<0.001), L74VI (8.5% vs. 1.8%; p<0.001), and K70EGQ (7.8% vs. 0.4%) and recipients of an ABC-containing first-line regimen were more likely to have K65R (17% vs 4.0%; p<0.001), Y115F (30% vs 0.6%; p<0.001), and L74VI (56% vs 1.8%; p<0.001). Among the 490 LPV/r recipients, 55 (11%) had ≥1 LPV-resistance mutations including 45 (9.6%) with intermediate or high-level LPV resistance. Low (20 patients) and intermediate (3 patients) darunavir (DRV) cross resistance was present in 23 (4.6%) patients.
Among patients experiencing virological failure on a first-line regimen containing two NRTI plus one NNRTI, the use of TDF in adults and ABC in children was associated with an increase in four major non- thymidine analogue mutations. In a minority of patients, LPV/r-use was associated with intermediate or high-level LPV resistance with predominantly low-level DRV cross-resistance.
Summary: RegaDB is a free and open source data management and analysis environment for infectious diseases. RegaDB allows clinicians to store, manage and analyse patient data, including viral genetic sequences. Moreover, RegaDB provides researchers with a mechanism to collect data in a uniform format and offers them a canvas to make newly developed bioinformatics tools available to clinicians and virologists through a user friendly interface.
Availability and implementation: Source code, binaries and documentation are available on http://rega.kuleuven.be/cev/regadb. RegaDB is written in the Java programming language, using a web-service-oriented architecture.
There is evidence that immune-activated macrophages infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are associated with tissue damage and serve as a long-lived viral reservoir during therapy. In this study, we analyzed 780 HIV genetic sequences generated from 53 tissues displaying normal and abnormal histopathology. We found up to 50% of the sequences from abnormal lymphoid and macrophage rich non-lymphoid tissues were intra-host viral recombinants. The presence of extensive recombination, especially in non-lymphoid tissues, implies that HIV-1 infected macrophages may significantly contribute to the generation of elusive viral genotypes in vivo. Because recombination has been implicated in immune evasion, the acquisition of drug-resistance mutations, and alterations of viral co-receptor usage, any attempt towards the successful eradication of HIV-1 requires therapeutic approaches targeting tissue macrophages.
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.
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.
Antigen-specific CTL responses are thought to play a central role in containment of HIV-1 infection, but no consistent correlation has been found between the magnitude and/or breadth of response and viral load changes during disease progression.
Methods and Findings
We undertook a detailed investigation of longitudinal CTL responses and HIV-1 evolution beginning with primary infection in 11 untreated HLA-A2 positive individuals. A subset of patients developed broad responses, which selected for consensus B epitope variants in Gag, Pol, and Nef, suggesting CTL-induced adaptation of HIV-1 at the population level. The patients who developed viral escape mutations and broad autologous CTL responses over time had a significantly higher increase in viral load during the first year of infection compared to those who did not develop viral escape mutations.
A continuous dynamic development of CTL responses was associated with viral escape from temporarily effective immune responses. Our results suggest that broad CTL responses often represent footprints left by viral CTL escape rather than effective immune control, and help explain earlier findings that fail to show an association between breadth of CTL responses and viral load. Our results also demonstrate that CTL pressures help to maintain certain elements of consensus viral sequence, which likely represent viral escape from common HLA-restricted CTL responses. The ability of HIV to evolve to escape CTL responses restricted by a common HLA type highlights the challenges posed to development of an effective CTL-based vaccine.