In recent years, increasing numbers of patients infected with HIV-1 non-B subtypes have been treated with modern antiretroviral regimens. Therefore, a better knowledge of HIV drug resistance in non-B strains is crucial. Thus, we compared the mutational pathways involved in drug resistance among the most common non-B subtypes in Italy (F, C, and CRF02_AG) and the B subtype. In total, 2234 pol sequences from 1231 virologically failing patients from Central Italy were analyzed. The prevalence of resistance mutations in protease and reverse transcriptase between non-B and B subtypes has been evaluated. Among patients treated with nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and with thymidine analogues (TA) experience, TAMs1 M41L and L210W were less prevalent in CRF02_AG, while TAMs2 T215F and K219E were more prevalent in the F subtype. In NRTI-treated patients having experience with abacavir, didanosine, tenofovir, or stavudine the K65R mutation was mostly prevalent in the C subtype. In non-NRTI (NNRTI)-treated patients infected by the C subtype the prevalence of K103N was lower than in patients infected with other subtypes, while the prevalence of Y181C and Y188L was higher compared to subtype B. The prevalence of Y181C was higher also in subtype F as compared to subtype B. In patients treated with protease inhibitors, L89V was predominantly found in CRF02_AG, while the TPV resistance mutation T74P was predominantly found in the C subtype. Some differences in the genotypic drug resistance have been found among patients infected with B, C, F, and CRF02_AG subtypes in relationship to treatment. These results may be useful for the therapeutic management of individuals infected with HIV-1 non-B strains.
The HIV-1 epidemic in Russia has been insufficiently studied, with only 11 complete genome sequences from this country currently available, only three of which are of the locally predominant genetic form, the former Soviet Union (FSU) subtype A variant (AFSU). Here we analyze 10 newly derived AFSU near full-length genome sequences from Russia. Samples were selected based on phylogenetic clustering in protease-reverse transcriptase in two of the major AFSU clusters, V77IPR (n=6), widely circulating in Russia and other FSU countries, and ASP1 (n=4), predominant in St. Petersburg. The phylogenetic analysis shows that the V77IPR genomes group in a monophyletic cluster together with 10 previously obtained AFSU genome sequences from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Cyprus, all bearing the V77I substitution in protease. Similarly, the four ASP1 genomes group in a monophyletic cluster. These results therefore show that the monophyly of V77IPR and ASP1 AFSU clusters is supported in near complete genomes.
We reported previously that the prevalence of drug-resistant HIV-1 among antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive individuals in Northern Vietnam was 2.9% in 2007 and 6.2% in 2008. To investigate the continuing trend of prevalence, we collected plasma samples from 958 individuals in Hai Phong and Hanoi in 2009, extracted viral RNA from HIV-1 antibody-positive samples, and analyzed them genetically. HIV-1 antibody prevalence was 26.8% in injecting drug users (n=302), 13.4% in female sex workers (n=284), 0.5% in blood donors (n=206), and 0.6% in pregnant women (n=166). All HIV-1 strains were CRF01_AE. Nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor resistance mutations were found in two (2.0%) of the 102 successfully analyzed cases (one case with the Y181C and one with the K101E). No nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor resistance or protease inhibitor resistance mutations were detected. The prevalence of circulating ART-resistant HIV-1 in Northern Vietnam did not increase from 2007 to 2009, although the rate of ART coverage did increase.
Cellular proteins are essential for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication and may serve as viable new targets for treating infection. Using gene trap insertional mutagenesis, a high-throughput approach based on random inactivation of cellular genes, candidate genes were found that limit virus replication when mutated. Disrupted genes (N=87) conferring resistance to lytic infection with several viruses were queried for an affect on HIV-1 replication by utilizing small interfering RNA (siRNA) screens in TZM-bl cells. Several genes regulating diverse pathways were found to be required for HIV-1 replication, including DHX8, DNAJA1, GTF2E1, GTF2E2, HAP1, KALRN, UBA3, UBE2E3, and VMP1. Candidate genes were independently tested in primary human macrophages, toxicity assays, and/or Tat-dependent β-galactosidase reporter assays. Bioinformatics analyses indicated that several host factors present in this study participate in canonical pathways and functional processes implicated in prior genome-wide studies. However, the genes presented in this study did not share identity with those found previously. Novel antiviral targets identified in this study should open new avenues for mechanistic investigation.
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1/2 (HTLV-1/2) infection is endemic in Brazil but representative donor prevalence and incidence data are lacking. All blood donations (2007–2009) from three blood centers in Brazil were studied. Samples reactive on one HTLV screening test (EIA) were retested with a different EIA; dual EIA reactivity correlated strongly with a confirmatory Western blot. Prevalence, incidence, and residual transfusion risk were calculated. Among 281,760 first-time donors, 363 were positive for HTLV on both EIAs (135 per 105, 95% CI 122–150). Prevalence differed considerably by region, from 83 to 222 per 105. Overall incidence rate was 3.6/105 person-years and residual transfusion risk was 5.0/106 per blood unit transfused. The logistic regression model showed significant associations with: age [adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=5.23 for age 50+ vs. <20], female sex (aOR=1.97), black (aOR=2.70 vs. white), and mixed skin colors (aOR=1.78 vs. white), and inversely with education (aOR=0.49, college vs. less than high school). HTLV testing with a dual-EIA strategy is feasible and can be useful in areas with low resources. Incidence and residual risk of HTLV-1 transmission by transfusion were relatively high and could be reduced by improving donor recruitment and selection in high prevalence areas. Blood center data may contribute to surveillance for HTLV infection.
Untreated HIV infection is associated with endothelial dysfunction and subsequent cardiovascular disease, likely due to both direct effects of the virus and to indirect effects of systemic inflammation on the vasculature. We have recently shown that treatment with the antiinflammatory agent pentoxifylline (PTX) improved in vivo endothelial function and reduced circulating levels of the inflammatory markers vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and interferon-gamma-induced protein (IP-10) in HIV-infected patients. To delineate the mechanisms underlying this therapeutic effect, we tested whether clinically relevant concentrations of PTX suppress VCAM-1 or IP-10 release in cultivated human lung microvascular endothelial cells. Indeed, we found that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced VCAM-1 was reduced with concentrations of PTX in the low nanomolar range, comparable to plasma levels in PTX-treated groups. We also investigated the effect of HIV proteins and found that HIV transactivator of transcription (HIV-Tat) and HIV-envelope-derived recombinant gp120 enhanced TNF-α-induced VCAM-1 gene expression in lung microvascular and coronary macrovascular endothelial cells, respectively. In addition, PTX and a NF-κB-specific inhibitor reduced this enhanced VCAM-1 gene induction in microvascular and macrovascular endothelial cells. These results provide novel insights in how the antiinflammatory agent PTX can directly reduce HIV-associated proinflammatory endothelial activation, which may underlie vascular dysfunction and coronary vascular diseases.
RNASEL seems to function as an intracellular restriction factor blocking the establishment of infections caused by viral agents. Herein, we investigated whether allelic variants at the RNASEL gene might influence the susceptibility to viral infections or conditions potentially linked to viral agents. The allelic distribution at codon 462 was 139 (33.9%), 204 (49.8%), and 67 (16.3%) for RR, RQ, and QQ, respectively, in 410 individuals in Spain. There were no significant differences comparing 105 blood donors and 71 patients with HIV-1 infection, 27 with chronic hepatitis C, 67 with prostate cancer, and 107 with chronic fatigue syndrome. In contrast, two-thirds of 18 patients with HTLV-1 infection and 15 with chronic hepatitis B harbored RR. Thus, polymorphisms at the RNASEL gene do not seem to influence the susceptibility to common viral infections or conditions potentially of viral etiology. The role in influencing the susceptibility to HTLV-1 or HBV chronic infection warrants further examination in larger patient populations.
Vaginal bacterial communities play an important role in human health and have been shown to influence HIV infection. Pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) are used as an animal model of HIV vaginal infection of women. Since the bacterial microbiota could influence retrovirus infection of pigtailed macaques, the genital microbiota in 10 cycling macaques was determined by pyrosequencing. The microbiota of all macaques was polymicrobial with a median of 13 distinct genera. Strikingly, the genera Sneathia and Fusobacterium, both in the phylum Fusobacteria, accounted for 18.9% and 13.3% of sequences while the next most frequent were Prevotella (5.6%), Porphyromonas (4.1%), Atopobium (3.6%), and Parvimonas (2.6%). Sequences corresponding to Lactobacillus comprised only 2.2% of sequences on average and were essentially all L. amylovorus. Longitudinal sampling of the 10 macaques over an 8-week period, which spanned at least one full ovulatory cycle, showed a generally stable presence of the major types of bacteria with some exceptions. These studies show that the microbiota of the pigtailed macaques is substantially dissimilar to that found in most healthy humans, where the genital microbiota is usually dominated by Lactobacillus sp. The polymicrobial makeup of the macaque bacterial populations, the paucity of lactobacilli, and the specific types of bacteria present suggest that the pigtailed macaque microbiota could influence vaginal retrovirus infection.
Assays to determine cross-sectional HIV incidence misclassify some individuals with nonrecent HIV infection as recently infected, overestimating HIV incidence. We analyzed factors associated with false-recent misclassification in five African countries. Samples from 2197 adults from Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who were HIV infected >12 months were tested using the (1) BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED), (2) avidity assay, (3) BED and avidity assays with higher assay cutoffs (BED+avidity screen), and (4) multiassay algorithm (MAA) that includes the BED+avidity screen, CD4 cell count, and HIV viral load. Logistic regression identified factors associated with misclassification. False-recent misclassification rates and 95% confidence intervals were BED alone: 7.6% (6.6, 8.8); avidity assay alone: 3.5% (2.7, 4.3); BED+avidity screen: 2.2% (1.7, 2.9); and MAA: 1.2% (0.8, 1.8). The misclassification rate for the MAA was significantly lower than the rates for the other three methods (each p<0.05). Misclassification rates were lower when the analysis was limited to subtype C-endemic countries, with the lowest rate obtained for the MAA [0.8% (0.2, 1.9)]. Factors associated with misclassification were for BED alone: country of origin, antiretroviral treatment (ART), viral load, and CD4 cell count; for avidity assay alone: country of origin; for BED+avidity screen: country of origin and ART. No factors were associated with misclassification using the MAA. In a multivariate model, these associations remained significant with one exception: the association of ART with misclassification was completely attenuated. A MAA that included CD4 cell count and viral load had lower false-recent misclassification than the BED or avidity assays (alone or in combination). Studies are underway to compare the sensitivity of these methods for detection of recent HIV infection.
A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone is a recommended component of standard highly active antiretroviral therapy (sHAART). However, long-term NRTI exposure can be limited by toxicities. NRTI class-sparing alternatives are warranted in select patient populations. This is a 48-week single-center, open-label pilot study in which 60 HIV-infected adults with plasma HIV-1 RNA (<50 copies/ml) on sHAART were randomized (2:1) to lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) 400/100 mg BID+raltegravir (RAL) 400 mg BID switch (LPV-r/RAL arm) or to continue on sHAART. The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects with HIV-RNA<50 copies/ml at week 48. Secondary efficacy and immunologic and safety endpoints were evaluated. Demographics and baseline lipid profile were similar across arms. Mean entry CD4 T cell count was 493 cells/mm3. At week 48, 92% [95% confidence interval (CI): 83–100%] of the LPV-r/RAL arm and 88% (95% CI: 75–100%) of the sHAART arm had HIV-RNA<50 copies/ml (p=0.70). Lipid profile (mean±SEM, mg/dl, LPV-r/RAL vs. sHAART) at week 24 was total-cholesterol 194±5 vs. 176±9 (p=0.07), triglycerides 234±30 vs. 133±27 (p=0.003), and LDL-cholesterol 121±6 vs. 110±8 (p=0.27). There were no serious adverse events (AEs) in either arm. Regimen change occurred in three LPV-r/RAL subjects (n=1, due to LPV-r/RAL-related AEs) vs. 0 in sHAART. There were no differences between arms in bone mineral density, total body fat composition, creatinine clearance, or CD4 T cell counts at week 48. In virologically suppressed patients on HAART, switching therapy to the NRTI-sparing LPV-r/RAL combination produced similar sustained virologic suppression and immunologic profile as sHAART. AEs were comparable between arms, but the LPV-r/RAL arm experienced higher triglyceridemia.
The distribution of HIV-1 subtypes and genetic characterization of CRF01_AE in Guangxi, southern China were identified. The distribution of HIV-1 genotypes based on gag, pol, and partial env sequences (n=349) was as follows: CRF01_AE (66.5%), CRF08_BC (19.2%), CRF07_BC (7.2%), URF (4.6%), subtype B (1.7%), and subtype B′ (0.9%). CRF01_AE predominated in all geographic regions and risk populations and there were multiple introductions of CRF01_AE strains in Guangxi. We found a peculiar CRF01_AE monophyletic lineage distinct from other CRF01_AE viruses, and we designated it “CRF01_AE-v” for convenience. CRF01_AE-v circulating in both heterosexuals and injecting drug users (IDUs) had accounted for 39.7% of CRF01_AE. It showed a selective advantage in the Guangxi population and formed its own characteristic compared with all the CRF01_AE references. Our results suggested that CRF01_AE-v was a new variant of CRF01_AE and it might lead to a new epidemic in Guangxi.
After screening a large number of clinical samples of HIV-1 subtype C in India, a subset of viral strains containing sequence insertions upstream of the viral enhancer has been identified. The sequence insertions contained binding sites for at least two different transcription factors NF-κB and RBEIII, importantly, in a mutually exclusive fashion. Furthermore, while some of the viral strains contained insertions of κB-like sites, a few others contained dual insertions of the RBEIII and κB sites together but only one of the two was intact. NF-κB acquisition appears to be the most common phenotype unique for subtype C with nearly half of the variant strains containing such insertions. Given that subtype C already contains three functional NF-κB sites in the viral enhancer, acquisition of a fourth NF-κB motif in some variant viral strains is intriguing. Further investigation is warranted to examine the significance of the sequence insertions for the replicative fitness of the variant viral strains.
Thirty HIV-1 URF_01AE/ B′ complete or nearly full-length genome sequences sampled within Southeast Asia were obtained from the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. Phylogenetic and recombinant analyses revealed that three sequences indeed displayed the identical recombinant structure. Of note, the three subjects, harboring novel CRF01_AE/B recombinants, did not have apparent epidemiological linkage. They fulfilled the criteria for the designation of a new circulating recombinant form (CRF) and constituted the 52nd CRF identified in the worldwide HIV-1 pandemic. In this chimera, two short subtype B segments were inserted into a backbone of CRF_01AE. The breakpoints corresponded to HXB2 nucleotide positions 2930, 3251, 8521, and 9004 approximately. This CRF is the first one identified by neatening and analyzing the sequences already presented in the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. This indicates that we should pay attention not only to explicit subtype sequences but also to those classified as a unique recombinant form (URF) so far.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a critical role in innate immunity against pathogens. Their stimulation induces the activation of NF-κB, an important inducer of HIV-1 replication. In recent years, an increasing number of studies using several cells types from HIV-infected patients indicate that TLRs play a key role in regulating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and viral pathogenesis. In the present study, the effect of HIV-1 stimulation of monocyte-derived macrophage (MDM) and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) subpopulations from healthy donors on the expression and functions of TLR2 and TLR4 was examined. In addition, and to complete the in vitro study, the expression pattern of TLR2 and TLR4 in 49 HIV-1-infected patients, classified according to viral load and the use of HAART, was determined and compared with 25 healthy subjects. An increase of TLR expression and production of proinflammatory cytokines were observed in MDMs and PBMCs infected with HIV-1 in vitro and in response to TLR stimulation, compared to the mock. In addition, an association between TLR expression and up-regulation of CD80 in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) was observed. The ex vivo analysis indicated increased expression of TLR2 and TLR4 in myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs), but only of TLR2 in monocytes obtained from HIV-1-infected patients, compared to healthy subjects. Remarkably, the expression was higher in cells from patients who do not use HAART. In monocytes, there was a positive correlation between both TLRs and viral load, but not CD4+ T cell numbers. Together, our in vitro and ex vivo results suggest that TLR expression and function can be up-regulated in response to HIV-1 infection and could affect the inflammatory response. We propose that modulation of TLRs represents a mechanism to promote HIV-1 replication or AIDS progression in HIV-1-infected patients.
A theoretical concern exists that atazanavir (ATV) use during pregnancy may exacerbate physiologic neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The aim of this substudy was to evaluate patterns of neonatal bilirubin following ATV/ritonavir (RTV) treatment of pregnant mothers and clinical and pharmacogenetic factors that may correlate. The design involved a subanalysis of study AI424182, a multicenter, open-label, prospective, single-arm Phase I study. The study had two treatment arms: (1) ATV/RTV 300/100 mg once daily or (2) ATV/RTV 400/100 mg once daily, both in combination with zidovudine/lamivudine 300/150 mg twice daily. Total bilirubin was assessed at baseline, each visit, and delivery day for mothers and on days 1 (delivery day), 3, 5, and 7 and weeks 2 and 6 for neonates. Blood samples were obtained for UGT1A1 genotyping and ATV cord blood concentration. Bilirubin elevation of any grade occurred in 14/40 neonates (35%). All Grade 3 to 4 bilirubin abnormalities (n=7) occurred after day 14. The pattern of neonatal bilirubin levels reported was consistent with neonatal physiologic elevations of bilirubin. Little correlation was observed between either maternal bilirubin levels over the last 4 weeks of pregnancy (including delivery) or ATV cord concentration and neonatal bilirubin. There was a significant association between UGT1A1 genotype and bilirubin grade in the maternal population (p=0.0006) but not neonates (p=0.49). Neither neonatal UGT1A1 genotype nor cord blood ATV concentration is a good predictor of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. ATV/RTV treatment of mothers does not appear to exacerbate neonatal physiologic hyperbilirubinemia.
The exposure to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) does not always result in infection. Indeed, there are individuals who have been repeatedly exposed to HIV-1 but do not exhibit clinical or serological evidence of infection; they are known as HIV-exposed seronegative individuals (HESN). To determine if secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), a soluble factor secreted by epithelial cells lining mucosal surfaces that showed anti-HIV activity in vitro, was associated with natural resistance to HIV infection, we measured by real time RT-PCR the expression of SLPI in oral mucosa of a cohort of Colombian HESN, in chronically HIV-1-infected individuals and in healthy controls. The HESN expressed significantly higher levels of SLPI mRNA than healthy controls (p=0.033) and chronically infected subjects (p=0.011). These findings suggest an association between SLPI expression and the natural resistance to HIV-1 infection exhibited by our HESN cohort.
HIV subtype C has previously been shown to infect hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) at a significantly higher rate than subtype B. To better understand the subtype-specific nature of HPC infection, we examined the prevalence of HPC infection in vivo by HIV-1 subtypes A and D. HIV-1 infection of HPC was examined in 40 individuals, 19 infected with subtype A and 21 with subtype D, using a single colony assay format. DNA from 1177 extracted colonies was tested for integrated viral DNA of the p24 gene. Four colonies were found to be stably infected, three of 462 colonies (0.65%) from HIV-1A-infected individuals (1/19 individuals) and one of 715 colonies (0.14%) from HIV-1D-infected individuals (1/22 individuals). These rates of colony infection were comparable to the rates observed in PBMCs from the same subjects. Additionally, no correlation was observed between cell colony density and circulating viral load or proviral load. Our findings suggest that HIV-1 subtypes A and D do not preferentially infect colony-forming HPCs over mature HIV target cells in vivo.
The Tshepo study was the first clinical trial to evaluate outcomes of adults receiving nevirapine (NVP)-based versus efavirenz (EFV)-based combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in Botswana. This was a 3 year study (n=650) comparing the efficacy and tolerability of various first-line cART regimens, stratified by baseline CD4+: <200 (low) vs. 201-350 (high). Using targeted maximum likelihood estimation (TMLE), we retrospectively evaluated the causal effect of assigned NNRTI on time to virologic failure or death [intent-to-treat (ITT)] and time to minimum of virologic failure, death, or treatment modifying toxicity [time to loss of virological response (TLOVR)] by sex and baseline CD4+. Sex did significantly modify the effect of EFV versus NVP for both the ITT and TLOVR outcomes with risk differences in the probability of survival of males versus the females of approximately 6% (p=0.015) and 12% (p=0.001), respectively. Baseline CD4+ also modified the effect of EFV versus NVP for the TLOVR outcome, with a mean difference in survival probability of approximately 12% (p=0.023) in the high versus low CD4+ cell count group. TMLE appears to be an efficient technique that allows for the clinically meaningful delineation and interpretation of the causal effect of NNRTI treatment and effect modification by sex and baseline CD4+ cell count strata in this study. EFV-treated women and NVP-treated men had more favorable cART outcomes. In addition, adults initiating EFV-based cART at higher baseline CD4+ cell count values had more favorable outcomes compared to those initiating NVP-based cART.
Despite the availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-infected drug users, particularly crack cocaine users, continue to have high HIV-related morbidity and mortality. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the baseline data for hospitalized HIV-infected crack cocaine users recruited for Project HOPE (Hospital Visit Is an Opportunity for Prevention and Engagement with HIV-Positive Crack Users) in Atlanta and Miami who were eligible for ART (reported any lifetime use of ART or CD4 <350 cells/μl). Among 350 eligible participants, whose mean age was 44.9 years (SD 7.0), 49% were male, 90% were black, and 81% were heterosexual. The median CD4 count was 144 cells/μl, and 78 of 350 (22%) were taking ART. We conducted a multivariable logistic regression to examine individual, interpersonal, and structural factors as potential correlates of ART use. Reporting ≥2 visits to outpatient HIV care in the past 6 months (AOR 7.55, 95% CI 3.80–14.99), drug or alcohol treatment in the past 6 months (AOR 2.29, 95% CI 1.06–4.94), and study site being Miami (AOR 2.99, 95% CI 1.56–5.73) were associated with ART use. Current homelessness (AOR 0.41, 95% CI 0.20–0.84) and CD4 <200 cells/μl (AOR 0.29, 95% CI 0.15–0.55) were negatively associated with ART use. Among those taking ART, 60% had an HIV-1 viral load <400 copies/ml; this represented 9% of the eligible population. For HIV-infected crack cocaine users, structural factors may be as important as individual and interpersonal factors in facilitating ART utilization. Few HIV+ crack cocaine users had viral suppression, but among those on ART, viral suppression was achievable.
We report for the first time the genetic and biological characterization of 10 HIV-1 primary isolates representing CRF28_BF and CRF29_BF together with additional unique BF recombinant forms (URFs) obtained by PBMC cocultivation. Recombination is an important factor promoting the increase in the genetic diversity of HIV-1. Notably, more than 20% of HIV-1 sequences worldwide were recombinants. Several recombinant viruses were reported in Brazil, and six circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) have been identified (CRF28_BF, CRF29_BF, CRF31_BC, CRF39_BF, CRF40_BF, and CRF46_BF). CRF28_BF and CRF29_BF were found to infect almost 30% of the patients in São Paulo State. The near full-length genomes of these 10 primary isolates were amplified by nested PCR in three overlapping segments, purified, and sequenced. Three samples were related to CRF28_BF, three to CRF29_BF, and four were unique recombinant forms (URFs), as determined by their breakpoint profile determined with the jpHMM program. Additionally, the coreceptor usage of these isolates was investigated in vitro using GHOST assays, which revealed three dual-tropic (X4/R5) viruses, four lymphotropic (X4) viruses, and three macrophage-tropic (R5) viruses with different V3-loop motifs, which challenges the notion that GWGR-carrying viruses are macrophage-tropic only. In sum, we report a much-anticipated well-characterized panel of viruses representing CRF28_BF, CRF29_BF, and URFs from São Paulo State, Brazil.
Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan province, where severe HIV prevalence was found in former paid plasma donors. In recent years, the HIV epidemic in men who have sex with men (MSM) increased rapidly in the city. To explore the subtype distribution and genetic characterization of HIV in MSM in Zhengzhou city, phylogenetic analysis was fulfilled based on the full-length gag, pol, and partial env gene. A total of 31 HIV-1-seropositive MSM individuals were enrolled. The full length gag, pol, and partial env gene were amplified and sequenced. Multiple subtypes, including CRF01_AE (45.2%), subtype B (38.7%), and CRF07_BC (16.1%), were identified. Close phylogenetic relationships among our strains with strains from the Henan local area, Hebei MSM population, Beijing area, and Liaoning area were found, suggesting a multiple introduction of HIV into the population. The results will provide clues for prevention and for changes in behavior in the Henan MSM population and also detailed sequence data for vaccine design.
The vast diversity of HIV-1 infections has greatly impeded the development of a successful HIV-1/AIDS vaccine. Previous vaccine work has demonstrated limited levels of protection against SHIV/SIV infection, but protection was observed only when the challenge virus was directly matched to the vaccine strain. As it is likely impossible to directly match the vaccine strain to all infecting strains in nature, it is necessary to develop an HIV-1 vaccine that can protect against a heterologous viral challenge. In this study we investigated the ability of polyvalent and consensus vaccines to protect against a heterologous clade B challenge. Rhesus macaques were vaccinated with ConB or PolyB virus-like particle vaccines. All vaccines were highly immunogenic with high titers of antibody found in all vaccinated groups against SIV Gag. Antibody responses were also observed against a diverse panel of clade B envelopes. Following vaccination nonhuman primates (NHPs) were challenged via the vaginal route with SHIVSF162p4. The PolyB vaccine induced a 66.7% reduction in the rate of infection as well as causing a two log reduction in viral burden if infection was not blocked. ConB vaccination had no effect on either the infection rate or viral burden. These results indicate that a polyvalent clade-matched vaccine is better able to protect against a heterologous challenge as compared to a consensus vaccine.
In the late 1980s an HIV-1 epidemic emerged in Romania that was dominated by subtype F1. The main route of infection is believed to be parenteral transmission in children. We sequenced partial pol coding regions of 70 subtype F1 samples from children and adolescents from the PENTA-EPPICC network of which 67 were from Romania. Phylogenetic reconstruction using the sequences and other publically available global subtype F sequences showed that 79% of Romanian F1 sequences formed a statistically robust monophyletic cluster. The monophyletic cluster was epidemiologically linked to parenteral transmission in children. Coalescent-based analysis dated the origins of the parenteral epidemic to 1983 [1981–1987; 95% HPD]. The analysis also shows that the epidemic's effective population size has remained fairly constant since the early 1990s suggesting limited onward spread of the virus within the population. Furthermore, phylogeographic analysis suggests that the root location of the parenteral epidemic was Bucharest.
Because mucosal inflammation contributes to colorectal carcinogenesis, we studied the impact of intestinal infections on risk of this malignancy among people with AIDS (PWA). Using the population-based HIV/AIDS Cancer Match, which includes approximately half of all PWA in the United States, the cancer registries ascertained colorectal cancers (ICD-O3 codes C180-C189, C199, C209, and C260). During 4–120 months after AIDS onset, risk of cancer occurring after AIDS-defining intestinal infections (considered as time-dependent exposures) was estimated with hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) calculated by Cox regression. Analyses included cancers overall and by histology and anatomic site. After excluding 118 squamous cell rectal cancers (possible anal cancers), we analyzed 320 incident colorectal cancer cases that occurred among 471,909 PWA. Colorectal cancer risk was marginally elevated following cryptosporidiosis (HR=2.08, 95% CI=0.93–4.70, p=0.08) and mucocutaneous herpes (HR=1.69, 95% CI=0.97–2.95, p=0.07) but not with Pneumocystis pneumonia (HR=0.79, 95% CI=0.57–1.10). Cryptosporidiosis was associated with rare colon squamous cell carcinoma [N=8, HR=13, 95% CI=1.5–110] and uncommon histologies [HR=4.4, 95% CI=1.1–18, p=0.04], but it was not associated with colorectal adenocarcinoma (N=269, HR=1.3, 95% CI=0.4–3.9, p=0.70). Mucocutaneous herpes was associated with colon squamous cell carcinoma (HR=13, 95% CI=2.4–67, p=0.003) but not with colorectal adenocarcinoma (HR=1.3, 95% CI=0.6–2.6, p=0.52) or uncommon histologies (HR=2.5, 95% CI=0.8–8.2, p=0.13). Colon squamous cell carcinoma risk was significantly elevated among PWA who had cryptosporidiosis or mucocutaneous herpes. These findings might suggest that HPV or inflammation from other infection may contribute to carcinogenesis.
The trans-activator of transcription (Tat) of HIV-1 plays an important role in viral infection and pathogenesis. We examined the genetic characteristics of exon 1 of the tat gene derived from 102 seropositive subjects from southern India. Database-derived Indian (n=105) and global (n=413) HIV-1C sequences were also used for viral epidemiological signature pattern analysis in the Tat open reading frame (ORF). We identified HIV-1C as the most predominant genetic subtype (99%) and the presence of a novel A1C recombinant strain in one study participant. After examining all the available HIV-1C Indian sequences from primary clinical isolates and database-derived sequences, we found a high level of sequence conservation (92.6±12%) within Tat amino acid residues. Furthermore, signature pattern analysis identified five amino acid positions in Tat that contained signature residues unique for Indian HIV-1C consisting of 21A, 24N, 29K, 40K, and 60Q. Our data have direct relevance for subunit-based Tat HIV-1 vaccine development.