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Epigenetic analysis of HIV-1 proviral genomes from infected individuals: Predominance of unmethylated CpG’s
Kemal, Kimdar S.
Ramirez, Christina M.
Efforts to cure HIV-1 infections aim at eliminating proviral DNA. Integrated DNA from various viruses often becomes methylated de novo and transcriptionally inactivated. We therefore investigated CpG methylation profiles of 55 of 94 CpG’s (58.5%) in HIV-1 proviral genomes including ten CpG’s in each LTR and additional CpG’s in portions of gag, env, nef, rev, and tat genes. We analyzed 33 DNA samples from PBMC’s of 23 subjects representing a broad spectrum of HIV-1 disease. In 22 of 23 HIV-1-infected individuals, there were only unmethylated CpG’s regardless of infection status. In one long term nonprogressor, however, methylation of proviral DNA varied between 0 and 75% over an 11-year period although the CD4+ counts remained stable. Hence levels of proviral DNA methylation can fluctuate. The preponderance of unmethylated CpG’s suggests that proviral methylation is not a major factor in regulating HIV-1 proviral activity in PBMC’s. Unmethylated CpG’s may play a role in HIV-1 immunopathogenesis.
Epigenetics of HIV-1 proviral DNA; Integrated HIV-1 DNA in PBMC’s from infected individuals; Wide spectrum of infection outcome; Bisulfite sequencing; Methylation analysis of integrated HIV-1 genomes; Predominance of unmethylated CpG’s in PBMC’s; Escape from proviral DNA methylation; Fluctuation of CpG methylation in one LTNP individual
Evolution and Recombination of Genes Encoding HIV-1 Drug Resistance and Tropism during Antiretroviral Therapy
Characterization of residual plasma virus during antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a high priority to improve understanding of HIV-1 pathogenesis and therapy. To understand the evolution of HIV-1 pol and env genes in viremic patients under selective pressure of ART, we performed longitudinal analyses of plasma-derived pol and env sequences from single HIV-1 genomes. We tested the hypotheses that drug resistance in pol was unrelated to changes in coreceptor usage (tropism), and that recombination played a role in evolution of viral strains. Recombinants were identified by using Bayesian and other computational methods. High-level genotypic resistance was seen in ~70% of X4 and R5 strains during ART. There was no significant association between resistance and tropism. Each patient displayed at least one recombinant encompassing env and representing a change in predicted tropism. These data suggest that, in addition to mutation, recombination can play a significant role in shaping HIV-1 evolution.
HIV-1 drug resistance; HIV-1 recombination; HIV-1 tropism
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