We present a case of sexual transmission of HIV-1 predicted to have CXCR4-tropism during male-to-male sexual exposure. Phylogenetic analyses exclude cell-free virus in the seminal plasma of the source partner and possibly point to the seminal cells as the origin of the transmission event.
Standard methods used to estimate HIV-1 population diversity are often resource intensive (e.g., single genome amplification, clonal amplification and pyrosequencing) and not well suited for large study cohorts. Additional approaches are needed to address the relationships between intraindividual HIV-1 genetic diversity and disease. With a small cohort of individuals, we validated three methods for measuring diversity: Shannon entropy and average pairwise distance (APD) using single genome sequences, and counts of mixed bases (i.e. ambiguous nucleotides) from population-based sequences. In a large cohort, we then used the mixed base approach to determine associations between measure HIV-1 diversity and HIV associated disease. Normalized counts of mixed bases correlated with Shannon Entropy at both the nucleotide (rho=0.72, p=0.002) and amino acid level (rho=0.59, p=0.015), and APD (rho=0.75, p=0.001). Among participants who underwent neuropsychological and clinical assessments (n=187), increased HIV-1 population diversity was associated with both a diagnosis of AIDS and neuropsychological impairment.
HIV; AIDS; genetic diversity; neuropsychological impairment; viral population dynamics
The genital tract of individuals infected with HIV-1 is an anatomic compartment that supports local HIV-1 and CMV replication. This study investigated the association of seminal CMV replication with changes in HIV-1 clonal expansion, evolution and phylogenetic compartmentalization between blood and semen. Fourteen paired blood and semen samples were analyzed from four untreated subjects. Clonal sequences (n=607) were generated from extracted HIV-1 RNA (env C2-V3 region), and HIV-1 and CMV levels were measured in the seminal plasma by real-time PCR. Sequence alignments were evaluated for: (i) viral compartmentalization between semen and blood samples using Slatkin-Maddison and FST methods, (ii) different nucleotide substitution rates in semen and blood, and (iii) association between proportions of clonal HIV-1 sequences in each compartment and seminal CMV levels. Half of the semen samples had detectable CMV DNA, with at least one CMV positive sample for each patient. Seminal CMV DNA levels correlated positively with seminal HIV-1 RNA levels (Spearman p=0.05). A trend towards an association between compartmentalization of HIV-1 sequences sampled from blood and semen and presence of seminal CMV was observed (Cochran Q test p=0.12). Evolutionary rates between semen and blood HIV-1 populations did not differ significantly, and there was no significant association between seminal CMV DNA levels and the frequency of non-unique clonal HIV-1 sequences in the semen. In conclusion, the effects of CMV replication on HIV-1 viral and immunologic dynamics within the male genital tract are not significant enough to perturb evolution or disrupt compartmentalization in the genital tract.
HIV-1; Cytomegalovirus; compartmentalization; evolution; semen
To investigate the susceptibilities to and consequences of HIV-1 dual infection (DI).
We compared clinical, virologic, and immunologic factors between participants who were dually infected with HIV-1 subtype B, and monoinfected (MI) controls who were matched by ongoing HIV risk factor.
The viral load and CD4 progressions of dually and singly infected participant groups were compared with linear mixed-effects models, and individual dynamics before and after superinfection were assessed with a structural change test (Chow test). Recombination breakpoint analysis (GARD), HLA frequency analysis, and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitope mapping were also performed (HIV LANL Database).
The viral loads of DI participants increased more over 3 years of follow-up than the viral loads of MI controls, while CD4 progressions of the two groups did not differ. Viral escape from CTL responses following superinfection was observed in two participants whose superinfecting strain completely replaced the initial strain. This pattern was not seen among participants whose superinfecting virus persisted in a recombinant form with the initial virus or was only detected transiently. Several HLA types were overrepresented in DI participants as compared to MI controls.
These results identify potential factors for DI susceptibility and further define its clinical consequences.
HIV-1 dual infection; viral load; CD4 count; HLA; CTL
Purpose of review
The persistence of HIV within infected CD4+ T cells is a major obstacle to eradication, and assessment of the strategies to reduce HIV reservoirs is one of the major challenges. Measuring HIV reservoirs accurately will be necessary to assess those strategies. The objective of this review is to present the most recent studies that may help to define the best markers to measure HIV reservoirs.
Recent findings have shown that multiple assays can be used to quantify the different analytes that reflect the HIV reservoirs. They have provided new insights, but lack of standardization has made cross-comparisons of data difficult. No single best assay for measuring HIV reservoirs has been identified and these assays often address different questions, such as the size of the reservoirs, the composition of the reservoirs, or the capacity of latent reservoirs to produce virus. A consensus on what values reflect robust conclusions will have to wait for the generation of additional results.
In conclusion, there is a compelling need for investigators to optimize assays and share protocol reagents and specimens to permit the validation, comparison, and standardization of techniques. There is an important need for validated, high-throughput, sensitive, and accurate assays that can detect changes in HIV reservoir size in order to assess the impact of candidate therapies.
HIV latency; markers of HIV reservoirs; quantification
Primary central nervous system lymphomas (PCNSL) have a dramatically increased prevalence among persons living with AIDS and are known to be associated with human Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infection. Previous work suggests that in some cases, co-infection with other viruses may be important for PCNSL pathogenesis. Viral transcription in tumor samples can be measured using next generation transcriptome sequencing. We demonstrate the ability of transcriptome sequencing to identify viruses, characterize viral expression, and identify viral variants by sequencing four archived AIDS-related PCNSL tissue samples and analyzing raw sequencing reads. EBV was detected in all four PCNSL samples and cytomegalovirus (CMV), JC polyomavirus (JCV), and HIV were also discovered, consistent with clinical diagnoses. CMV was found to express three long non-coding RNAs recently reported as expressed during active infection. Single nucleotide variants were observed in each of the viruses observed and three indels were found in CMV. No viruses were found in several control tumor types including 32 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma samples. This study demonstrates the ability of next generation transcriptome sequencing to accurately identify viruses, including DNA viruses, in solid human cancer tissue samples.
Purpose of review
Measurements of HIV burden have relied upon quantification of viral nucleic acids by real-time PCR (qPCR). To develop and test strategies for eradication, new methods are needed to better characterize residual cellular reservoirs in patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). This review summarizes recent advances that may lead to clinically useful tests with improved sensitivity, reproducibility and throughput.
HIV DNA remains the most sensitive measure of residual infection, but its low levels are difficult to differentiate from assay noise by qPCR. Digital PCR has begun to improve the precision of existing real-time assays, but there remains a need to distinguish replication-competent proviruses. Rapid technological progress in single-cell analysis is beginning to offer new approaches, notably CyTOF and microengraving, which could provide vastly more information about the composition of the latent reservoir.
To investigate and assess therapies directed towards eradication, improved assays that simultaneously offer high sensitivity, precision and information content will be needed.
cytometry via time of flight; droplet digital PCR; digital PCR; eradication; HIV DNA; HIV latency; microengraving; single-cell analysis
To assess the off-target effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) in human primary CD4+ T cells.
A pharmacologically relevant concentration (340 nmol/l) of SAHA was shown to significantly increase histone hyperacetylation by 24 h and this length of treatment was selected to determine its impact on gene expression in primary CD4+ T cells.
Illumina Beadchips for microarray gene expression analysis were used to analyze differential gene expression between cells treated or not with SAHA with a paired analysis using multivariate permutation tests. Gene ontology, biological pathway and protein interaction network analyses were used to identify the higher order biological processes affected by SAHA treatment.
Modest modulation by SAHA was observed for 1847 genes with 80% confidence level of no more than 10% false positives. A thousand genes were upregulated by SAHA and 847 downregulated. Pathways and gene ontologies overrepresented in the list of differentially expressed genes included Glycolysis/Gluconeogenesis, tRNA Modification, and the Histone Acetyltransferase Complex. Protein interaction network analysis revealed that transcription factor c-Myc, which was downregulated by SAHA treatment at the mRNA level, interacts with a number of SAHA-responsive genes.
The effects on transcription by SAHA were sufficiently modest to support trials to activate HIV replication as part of an eradication strategy. SAHA did not appear to modulate proliferative or apoptotic processes to a great extent, which might impact the ability of patients to eradicate the virus reservoir following activation by HDACi treatment.
gene expression; histone deacetylase inhibitor; HIV; microarrays; primary CD4+ T cells; suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid; vorinostat
The relationship between the timing of the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) after infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and the recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts is unknown.
In a prospective, observational cohort of persons with acute or early HIV-1 infection, we determined the trajectory of CD4+ counts over a 48-month period in partially overlapping study sets: study set 1 included 384 participants during the time window in which they were not receiving ART and study set 2 included 213 participants who received ART soon after study entry or sometime thereafter and had a suppressed plasma HIV viral load. We investigated the likelihood and rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter within 48 months while the participants were receiving viral-load–suppressive ART.
Among the participants who were not receiving ART, CD4+ counts increased spontaneously, soon after HIV-1 infection, from the level at study entry (median, 495 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 383 to 622), reached a peak value (median, 763 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 573 to 987) within approximately 4 months after the estimated date of infection, and declined progressively thereafter. Recovery of CD4+ counts to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was seen in approximately 64% of the participants who initiated ART earlier (≤4 months after the estimated date of HIV infection) as compared with approximately 34% of participants who initiated ART later (>4 months) (P<0.001). After adjustment for whether ART was initiated when the CD4+ count was 500 or more cells per cubic millimeter or less than 500 cells per cubic millimeter, the likelihood that the count would increase to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was lower by 65% (odds ratio, 0.35), and the rate of recovery was slower by 56% (rate ratio, 0.44), if ART was initiated later rather than earlier. There was no association between the plasma HIV RNA level at the time of initiation of ART and CD4+ T-cell recovery.
A transient, spontaneous restoration of CD4+ T-cell counts occurs in the 4-month time window after HIV-1 infection. Initiation of ART during this period is associated with an enhanced likelihood of recovery of CD4+ counts. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others.)
Characterize intra-individual HIV-1 subtype B pol evolution in antiretroviral naive individuals.
Longitudinal cohort study of individuals enrolled during primary infection.
Eligible individuals were antiretroviral naïve participants enrolled in the cohort from December 1997-December 2005 and having at least two blood samples available with the first one collected within a year of their estimated date of infection. Population-based pol sequences were generated from collected blood samples and analyzed for genetic divergence over time in respect to dual infection status, HLA, CD4 count and viral load.
93 participants were observed for a median of 1.8 years (Mean = 2.2 years, SD = 1.9 years). All participants classified as mono-infected had less than 0.7% divergence between any two of their pol sequences using the Tamura-Nei model (TN93), while individuals with dual infection had up to 7.0% divergence. The global substitution rates (substitutions/nucleotide/year) for mono and dually infected individuals were significantly different (p<0.001); however, substitution rates were not associated with HLA haplotype, CD4 or viral load.
Even after a maximum of almost 9 years of follow-up, all mono-infected participants had less than 1% divergence between baseline and longitudinal sequences, while participants with dual infection had 10 times greater divergence. These data support the use of HIV-1 pol sequence data to evaluate transmission events, networks and HIV-1 dual infection.
Specific sequence changes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the presence of specific HLA molecules may alter the composition and processing of viral peptides, leading to immune escape. Persistence of these mutations after transmission may leave the genetic fingerprint of the transmitter's HLA profile. Here, we evaluated the associations between HLA profiles and the phylogenetic relationships of HIV sequences sampled from a cohort of recently infected individuals in San Diego, California.
We identified transmission clusters within the study cohort, using phylogenetic analysis of sampled HIV pol genotypes at a genetic distance of <1.5%. We then evaluated the association of specific HLA alleles, HLA homozygosity, HLA concordance, race and ethnicity, and mutational patterns within the clustering and nonclustering groups.
From 350 cohort participants, we identified 162 clustering individuals and 188 nonclustering individuals. We identified trends for enrichment of particular alleles within individual clusters and evidence of viral escape within those clusters. We also found that discordance of HLA alleles was significantly associated with clustering individuals.
Some transmission clusters demonstrate HLA enrichment, and viruses in these HLA-associated clusters often show evidence of escape to enriched alleles. Interestingly, HLA discordance was associated with clustering in our predominantly MSM population.
There is intense interest in developing curative interventions for HIV. How such a cure will be quantified and defined is not known. We applied a series of measurements of HIV persistence to the study of an HIV-infected adult who has exhibited evidence of cure after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant from a homozygous CCR5Δ32 donor. Samples from blood, spinal fluid, lymph node, and gut were analyzed in multiple laboratories using different approaches. No HIV DNA or RNA was detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), spinal fluid, lymph node, or terminal ileum, and no replication-competent virus could be cultured from PBMCs. However, HIV RNA was detected in plasma (2 laboratories) and HIV DNA was detected in the rectum (1 laboratory) at levels considerably lower than those expected in ART-suppressed patients. It was not possible to obtain sequence data from plasma or gut, while an X4 sequence from PBMC did not match the pre-transplant sequence. HIV antibody levels were readily detectable but declined over time; T cell responses were largely absent. The occasional, low-level PCR signals raise the possibility that some HIV nucleic acid might persist, although they could also be false positives. Since HIV levels in well-treated individuals are near the limits of detection of current assays, more sensitive assays need to be developed and validated. The absence of recrudescent HIV replication and waning HIV-specific immune responses five years after withdrawal of treatment provide proof of a clinical cure.
There is intense interest in developing a cure for HIV. How such a cure will be quantified and defined is not known. We applied a series of measurements of HIV persistence to the study of an HIV+ adult who has exhibited evidence of cure after a stem cell transplant. Samples from blood, spinal fluid, lymph node, and gut were analyzed in multiple laboratories using different approaches. No HIV was detected in blood cells, spinal fluid, lymph node, or small intestine, and no infectious virus was recovered from blood. However, HIV was detected in plasma (2 laboratories) and HIV DNA was detected in the rectum (1 laboratory) at levels considerably lower than those expected in antiretroviral treated patients. The occasional, low-level HIV signals might be due to persistent HIV or might reflect false positives. The sensitivity of the current generation of assays to detect HIV RNA, HIV DNA, and infectious virus are close to the limits of detection. Improvements in these tests will be needed for future curative studies. The lack of rebounding virus after five years without therapy, the failure to isolate infectious virus, and the waning HIV-specific immune responses all indicate that the Berlin Patient has been effectively cured.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) provides the most sensitive measurement of residual infection in patients on effective combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) has recently been shown to provide highly accurate quantification of DNA copy number, but its application to quantification of HIV DNA, or other equally rare targets, has not been reported. This paper demonstrates and analyzes the application of ddPCR to measure the frequency of total HIV DNA (pol copies per million cells), and episomal 2-LTR (long terminal repeat) circles in cells isolated from infected patients. Analysis of over 300 clinical samples, including over 150 clinical samples assayed in triplicate by ddPCR and by real-time PCR (qPCR), demonstrates a significant increase in precision, with an average 5-fold decrease in the coefficient of variation of pol copy numbers and a >20-fold accuracy improvement for 2-LTR circles. Additional benefits of the ddPCR assay over qPCR include absolute quantification without reliance on an external standard and relative insensitivity to mismatches in primer and probe sequences. These features make digital PCR an attractive alternative for measurement of HIV DNA in clinical specimens. The improved sensitivity and precision of measurement of these rare events should facilitate measurements to characterize the latent HIV reservoir and interventions to eradicate it.
HIV-1 reservoirs preclude virus eradication in patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The best characterized reservoir is a small, difficult-to-quantify pool of resting memory CD4+ T cells carrying latent but replication-competent viral genomes. Because strategies targeting this latent reservoir are now being tested in clinical trials, well-validated high-throughput assays that quantify this reservoir are urgently needed. Here we compare eleven different approaches for quantitating persistent HIV-1 in 30 patients on HAART, using the original viral outgrowth assay for resting CD4+ T cells carrying inducible, replication-competent viral genomes as a standard for comparison. PCR-based assays for cells containing HIV-1 DNA gave infected cell frequencies at least 2 logs higher than the viral outgrowth assay, even in subjects who started HAART during acute/early infection. This difference may reflect defective viral genomes. The ratio of infected cell frequencies determined by viral outgrowth and PCR-based assays varied dramatically between patients. Although strong correlations with the viral outgrowth assay could not be formally excluded for most assays, correlations achieved statistical significance only for integrated HIV-1 DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and HIV-1 RNA/DNA ratio in rectal CD4+ T cells. Residual viremia was below the limit of detection in many subjects and did not correlate with the viral outgrowth assays. The dramatic differences in infected cell frequencies and the lack of a precise correlation between culture and PCR-based assays raise the possibility that the successful clearance of latently infected cells may be masked by a larger and variable pool of cells with defective proviruses. These defective proviruses are detected by PCR but may not be affected by reactivation strategies and may not require eradication to accomplish an effective cure. A molecular understanding of the discrepancy between infected cell frequencies measured by viral outgrowth versus PCR assays is an urgent priority in HIV-1 cure research.
Efforts to cure HIV-1 infection have focused on a small pool of CD4+ T cells that carry viral genetic information in a latent form. These cells persist even in patients on optimal antiretroviral therapy. Novel therapeutic strategies targeting latently infected cells are being developed, and therefore practical assays for measuring latently infected cells are urgently needed. These cells were discovered using a virus culture assay in which the cells are induced to release virus particles that are then expanded in culture. This assay is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Here we evaluate alternative approaches for measuring persistent HIV-1, all of which rely on the detection of viral genetic information using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). None of the PCR-based assays correlated precisely with the virus culture assay. The fundamental problem is that infected cell frequencies determined by PCR are at least 2 logs higher than frequencies determined by the culture assay. Much of this difference may be due to cells carrying defective forms of the virus. These cells may not be eliminated by strategies designed to target latently infected cells. In this situation, successful clearance of latently infected cells might be masked by a large unchanging pool of cells carrying defective HIV-1.
Since HIV-1 Tat has been associated with neurocognitive dysfunction, we investigated 60 HIV-1 subtype B infected individuals who were characterized for neurocognitive functioning and had paired CSF and blood plasma samples available. To avoid issues with repeated sampling, we generated population-based HIV-1 tat sequences from each compartment and evaluated these data using a battery of phylogenetic, statistical and machine learning tools. These analyses identified position HXB2 5905 within the cysteine-rich domain of tat as a signature of CSF-derived HIV-1, and a higher number of mixed bases in CSF, measure of diversity, was associated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. Since identified mutations were synonymous, we evaluated the predicted secondary RNA structures, which showed that this mutation altered secondary structure. As a measure of divergence, the genetic distance between the blood and CSF derived tat was inversely correlated with current and nadir CD4+ T cell counts. These data suggest that specific HIV-1 features of tat influence neurotropism and neurocognitive impairment.
HIV; central nervous system; tat; compartmentalization
Human and chimpanzee CD4+ T cells differ markedly in expression of the inhibitory receptor Siglec-5, which contributes towards differential responses to activating stimuli. While CD4+ T cells from both species are equally susceptible to HIV-1 infection, chimpanzee cells survive better, suggesting a cell-intrinsic difference. We hypothesized that Siglec-5 expression protects T cells from activation-induced and HIV-1-induced cell death. Transduction of human CEM T cells with Siglec-5 decreased cell responses to stimulation. Following HIV-1 infection, a higher percentage of Siglec-5-positive cells survived, suggesting relative resistance to virus-induced cell death. Consistent with this, we observed an increase in percentage of Siglec-5-positive cells surviving in mixed infected cultures. Siglec-5-transduced cells also showed decreased expression of apoptosis-related proteins following infection and reduced susceptibility to Fas-mediated cell death. Similar Siglec-5-dependent differences were seen when comparing infection outcomes in primary CD4+ T cells from humans and chimpanzees. A protective effect of Siglec-5 was further supported by observing greater proportions of circulating CD4+ T cells expressing Siglec-5 in acutely infected HIV-1 patients, compared to controls. Taken together, our results suggest that Siglec-5 expression protects T cells from HIV-1- and apoptosis-induced cell death and contributes to the different outcomes of HIV-1 infection in humans and chimpanzees.
HIV-1 infection; CD4; Siglec-5
To determine the influence of asymptomatic genital viral infections on the cellular components of semen and blood, we evaluated the associations between the numbers and activation statuses of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in both compartments and the seminal levels of cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV). Paired blood and semen samples were collected from 36 HIV-infected antiretroviral-naïve individuals and from 40 HIV-uninfected participants. We performed multiparameter flow cytometry analysis (CD45, CD45RA, CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD38) of seminal and blood cellular components and measured HIV RNA and CMV and HSV DNA levels in seminal and blood plasma by real-time PCR. Compared to HIV-uninfected participants, in the seminal compartment HIV-infected participants had higher levels of CMV (P < 0.05), higher numbers of total CD3+ (P < 0.01) and CD8+ subset (P < 0.01) T lymphocytes, and higher CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocyte activation (RA-CD38+) (P < 0.01). Seminal CMV levels positively correlated with absolute numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in semen (P < 0.05) and with the activation status of CD4+ T cells in semen and in blood (P < 0.01). HIV levels in semen (P < 0.05) and blood (P < 0.01) were positively associated with T-cell activation in blood. Activation of CD8+ T cells in blood remained an independent predictor of HIV levels in semen in multivariate analysis. The virologic milieu in the male genital tract strongly influences the recruitment and activation of immune cells in semen and may also modulate T-cell immune activation in blood. These factors likely influence replication dynamics, sexual transmission risk, and disease outcomes for all three viruses.
(S)-1-[3-hydroxy-2-(phosphonomethoxy)propyl]cytosine (HPMPC [cidofovir]) and (S)-9-[3-hydroxy-2-(phosphonomethoxy)propyl]adenine (HPMPA) are potent inhibitors of a variety of DNA viruses. These drugs possess a 3′-hydroxyl equivalent which could support chain extension from an incorporated drug molecule. HPMPC and HPMPA were initially reported to lack activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1); more recent results have shown that the octadecyloxyethyl (ODE) and hexadecyloxypropyl (HDP) esters of HPMPA are potent inhibitors of the virus. We have synthesized the ODE esters of a series of (S)-[3-hydroxy-2-(phosphonomethoxy)propyl] (HPMP) nucleosides, including HPMPC, HPMP-guanine (HPMPG), HPMP-thymine (HPMPT), and HPMP-diaminopurine (HPMPDAP), as well as the ODE ester of the obligate chain terminator (S)-9-[3-methoxy-2-(phosphonomethoxy)-propyl]adenine (MPMPA). All compounds except ODE-HPMPT were inhibitors of HIV-1 replication at low nanomolar concentrations. These compounds were also inhibitors of the replication of HIV-1 variants that are resistant to various nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors at concentrations several times lower than would be expected to be achieved in vivo. To investigate the mechanism of the antiviral activity, the active metabolites of HPMPC and HPMPA were studied for their effects on reactions catalyzed by HIV-1 RT. Incorporation of HPMPC and HPMPA into a DNA primer strand resulted in multiple inhibitory effects exerted on the enzyme and showed that neither compound acts as an absolute chain terminator. Further, inhibition of HIV-1 RT also occurred when these drugs were located in the template strand. These results indicate that HPMPC and HPMPA inhibit HIV-1 by a complex mechanism and suggest that this class of drugs has a broader spectrum of activity than previously shown.
To develop a low cost method to screen for virologic failure of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV-1 drug resistance, we performed a retrospective evaluation of a screening assay using serial dilutions of HIV-1 RNA-spiked blood plasma and samples from patients receiving >6 months of first-line ART.
Serial dilution testing was used to assess sensitivity of a simple PCR-based assay (targeted at ≥1,000 HIV RNA copies/mL). We created blood plasma minipools of five samples, extracted HIV RNA from the pools, PCR amplified the reverse transcriptase (RT) coding region of the HIV-1 pol gene from extracted RNA, sequenced PCR product of positive pools, and used sequences to determine drug resistance. Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were determined for different levels of virologic failure based on maximum viral loads of individual samples within a pool.
Of 295 samples analyzed, 43 (15%) had virologic failure at ≥50 copies/mL (range 50–10,500 copies/mL, four at ≥1,000 copies/mL). The assay demonstrated 100% sensitivity to detect virus from these four samples, requiring only one round of PCR, and 56% and 89% sensitivity to detect samples with ≥50 and ≥500 copies/mL using two rounds. Amplified PCR products of all positive pools were successfully sequenced and 30% harbored ≥1 major resistance mutation. This method would have cost 10% of the combined costs of individual viral load and resistance testing.
We present a novel method that can screen for both virologic failure of first-line ART and drug resistance. The method is much less expensive than current methods, which may offer sustainability in resource-limited settings.
According to the multi-process theory of prospective memory (ProM), time-based tasks rely more heavily on strategic processes dependent on prefrontal systems than do event-based tasks. Given the prominent frontostriatal pathophysiology of HIV infection, one would expect HIV-infected individuals to demonstrate greater deficits in time-based versus event-based ProM. However, the two prior studies examining this question have produced variable results. We evaluated this hypothesis in 143 individuals with HIV infection and 43 demographically similar seronegative adults (HIV−) who completed the research version of the Memory for Intentions Screening Test, which yields parallel subscales of time- and event-based ProM. Results showed main effects of HIV serostatus and cue type, but no interaction between serostatus and cue. Planned pair-wise comparisons showed a significant effect of HIV on time-based ProM and a trend-level effect on event-based ProM that was driven primarily by the subset of participants with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Nevertheless, time-based ProM was more strongly correlated with measures of executive functions, attention/working memory, and verbal fluency in HIV-infected persons. Although HIV-associated deficits in time- and event-based ProM appear to be of comparable severity, the cognitive architecture of time-based ProM may be more strongly influenced by strategic monitoring and retrieval processes.
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment
The interferon-inducible antiviral factor BST-2 prevents several enveloped viruses, including HIV, from escaping infected cells. The HIV protein Vpu antagonizes this host defense. Little is known about the expression of BST-2 during HIV infection in vivo and whether it can be modulated to the host's advantage. We studied the expression of BST-2 on blood cells from HIV-infected patients during the acute and chronic phases of disease as well as after antiretroviral treatment (ART). The expression of BST-2 was increased on mononuclear leukocytes, including CD4-positive T lymphocytes from HIV-positive patients, compared to that on cells of uninfected controls. The expression of BST-2 was highest during acute infection and decreased to levels similar to those of uninfected individuals after ART. Treatment of primary blood mononuclear cells in vitro with alpha interferon or with Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists increased the expression of BST-2 to levels similar to those found during infection in vivo. The interferon-induced levels were sufficient to overcome the Vpu protein in vitro, reducing the release of wild-type HIV. These data show that BST-2 is upregulated during HIV infection, consistent with its role as an interferon-stimulated gene. The data further suggest that this upregulation is sufficient to saturate the activity of Vpu and inhibit wild-type HIV.
Similar to other resource-limited settings, cost restricts availability of viral load monitoring for most patients receiving antiretroviral therapy in Tijuana, Mexico. We evaluated if a pooling method could improve efficiency and reduce costs while maintaining accuracy.
We evaluated 700 patient blood plasma specimens at a reference laboratory in Tijuana for detectable viremia, individually and in 10 × 10 matrix pools. Thresholds for virologic failure were set at ≥500, ≥1000 and ≥1500 HIV RNA copies per milliliter. Detectable pools were deconvoluted using pre-set algorithms. Accuracy and efficiency of the pooling method were compared with individual testing. Quality assurance (QA) measures were evaluated after 1 matrix demonstrated low efficiency relative to individual testing.
Twenty-two percent of the cohort had detectable HIV RNA (≥50 copies/mL). Pooling methods saved approximately one third of viral load assays over individual testing, while maintaining negative predictive values of >90% to detect samples with virologic failure (≥50 copies/mL). One matrix with low relative efficiency would have been detected earlier using the developed QA measures, but its exclusion would have only increased relative efficiency from 39% to 42%. These methods would have saved between $13,223 and $14,308 for monitoring this cohort.
Despite limited clinical data, high prevalence of detectable viral loads and a contaminated matrix, pooling greatly improved efficiency of virologic monitoring while maintaining accuracy. By improving cost-effectiveness, these methods could provide sustainability of virologic monitoring in resource-limited settings, and incorporation of developed QA measures will most likely maximize pooling efficiency in future uses.
HIV; pooling; resource-limited settings; viral loads; virologic failure
Background. It is unknown whether sex and race influence clinical outcomes following primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection.
Methods. Data were evaluated from an observational, multicenter, primarily North American cohort of HIV-1 seroconverters.
Results. Of 2277 seroconverters, 5.4% were women. At enrollment, women averaged .40 log10 fewer copies/mL of HIV-1 RNA (P < .001) and 66 more CD4+ T cells/μL (P = .006) than men, controlling for age and race. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) was less likely to be initiated at any time point by nonwhite women and men compared to white men (P < .005), and by individuals from the southern United States compared to others (P = .047). Sex and race did not affect responses to ART after 6 months (P > .73). Women were 2.17-fold more likely than men to experience >1 HIV/AIDS-related event (P < .001). Nonwhite women were most likely to experience an HIV/AIDS-related event compared to all others (P = .035), after adjusting for intravenous drug use and ART. Eight years after diagnosis, >1 HIV/AIDS-related event had occurred in 78% of nonwhites and 37% of whites from the southern United States, and 24% of whites and 17% of nonwhites from other regions (P < .001).
Conclusions. Despite more favorable clinical parameters initially, female HIV-1-seroconverters had worse outcomes than did male seroconverters. Elevated morbidity was associated with being nonwhite and residing in the southern United States.
Reports of a high frequency of the transmission of minority viral populations with drug-resistant mutations (DRM) are inconsistent with evidence that HIV-1 infections usually arise from mono- or oligoclonal transmission. We performed ultradeep sequencing (UDS) of partial HIV-1 gag, pol, and env genes from 32 recently infected individuals. We then evaluated overall and per-site diversity levels, selective pressure, sequence reproducibility, and presence of DRM and accessory mutations (AM). To differentiate biologically meaningful mutations from those caused by methodological errors, we obtained multinomial confidence intervals (CI) for the proportion of DRM at each site and fitted a binomial mixture model to determine background error rates for each sample. We then examined the association between detected minority DRM and the virologic failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART). Similar to other studies, we observed increased detection of DRM at low frequencies (average, 0.56%; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.69; expected UDS error, 0.21 ± 0.08% mutations/site). For 8 duplicate runs, there was variability in the proportions of minority DRM. There was no indication of increased diversity or selection at DRM sites compared to other sites and no association between minority DRM and AM. There was no correlation between detected minority DRM and clinical failure of first-line ART. It is unlikely that minority viral variants harboring DRM are transmitted and maintained in the recipient host. The majority of low-frequency DRM detected using UDS are likely errors inherent to UDS methodology or a consequence of error-prone HIV-1 replication.