Evolution of hepatitis C virus NS5A region in breakthrough patients during pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy*.
ABSTRACT: Investigating the evolution of the hepatitis C viral (HCV) genome in the small number of patients that experience viral breakthrough might shed light on the problem of resistance to interferon therapy. Within the HCV genome, sequence diversity of the viral nonstructural 5A protein-coding region (NS5A) has been linked to interferon responsiveness. We analysed the temporal sequence changes within NS5A in genotype 1a patients: 6 breakthrough (BT), 12 sustained virologic responders (SVR) and 12 non-responders (NR), all of whom had received full dose peg-interferon and ribavirin therapy. The entire NS5A region was amplified by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR followed by direct sequencing of serum samples from baseline and three on-treatment time points for each group. Comparing baseline sequences with week 12 and later time points, BT patients resembled SVR patients in having a higher number of amino acid substitutions at week 12 than NR patients; however, the number of amino acid substitutions in this group decreased at and after BT. Substitutions were focused in the V3 and flanking regions in BT patients but not in SVR patients. The high number of substitutions in NS5A in both BT and SVR groups suggests that selective pressure is associated with viral response to therapy. Our results provide evidence that amino acid substitutions within the NS5A coding region may reflect a host response that drives selective pressure for viral adaptation.
Project description:AIM:To evaluate the implication of substitutions in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) non-structural 5A (NS5A) protein in the resistance of HCV during mono-interferon (IFN) or combined IFN-ribavirin (IFN-R) therapy. Although NS5A has been reported to interact with the HCV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, NS5B, as well as with many cellular proteins, the function of NS5A in the life cycle of HCV remains unclear. METHODS:HCV quasispecies were studied by cloning and sequencing of sequential isolates from patients infected by HCV genotype 1b. Patients were treated by IFN-alpha2b for 3 mo followed by IFN-alpha2b alone or combined IFN-R therapy for 9 additional months. Patients were categorized into two groups based on their response to the treatments: 7 with sustained virological response (SVR) (quasispecies = 150) and 3 non-responders (NR) to IFN-R (quasispecies = 106). RESULTS:Prior to treatment, SVR patients displayed a lower complexity of quasispecies than NR patients. Most patients had a decrease in the complexity of quasispecies during therapy. Analysis of amino acids substitutions showed that the degree of the complexity of the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) and the V3 domain of NS5A protein was able to discriminate the two groups of patients. Moreover, SVR patients displayed more variability in the NS5A region than NR patients. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that detailed molecular analysis of the NS5A region may be important for understanding its function in IFN response during HCV 1b infection.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Retrospective studies suggest that subjects with chronic hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis who achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) have a lower risk of hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this prospective analysis, we compared the rate of death from any cause or liver transplantation, and of liver-related morbidity and mortality, after antiviral therapy among patients who achieved SVR, virologic nonresponders (NR), and those with initial viral clearance but subsequent breakthrough or relapse (BT/R) in the HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis) Trial. Laboratory and/or clinical outcome data were available for 140 of the 180 patients who achieved SVR. Patients with nonresponse (NR; n = 309) or who experienced breakthrough or relapse (BT/R; n = 77) were evaluated every 3 months for 3.5 years and then every 6 months thereafter. Outcomes included death, liver-related death, liver transplantation, decompensated liver disease, and HCC. Median follow-up for the SVR, BT/R, and NR groups of patients was 86, 85, and 79 months, respectively. At 7.5 years, the adjusted cumulative rate of death/liver transplantation and of liver-related morbidity/mortality in the SVR group (2.2% and 2.7%, respectively) was significantly lower than that of the NR group (21.3% and 27.2%, P < 0.001 for both) but not the BT/R group (4.4% and 8.7%). The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for time to death/liver transplantation (HR = 0.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.06-0.46) or development of liver-related morbidity/mortality (HR = 0.15, 95% CI = 0.06-0.38) or HCC (HR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.04-0.80) was significant for SVR compared to NR. Laboratory tests related to liver disease severity improved following SVR. CONCLUSION:Patients with advanced chronic hepatitis C who achieved SVR had a marked reduction in death/liver transplantation, and in liver-related morbidity/mortality, although they remain at risk for HCC.
Project description:Mutations in several subgenomic regions of hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been implicated in influencing the response to interferon (IFN) therapy. Sequences within HCV NS5A (PKR binding domain [PKRBD], IFN sensitivity-determining region [ISDR], and variable region 3 [V3]) were analyzed for the pretreatment serum samples of 60 HCV genotype 1-infected patients treated with pegylated IFN plus ribavirin (1b, n = 47; 1a, n = 13) but with different treatment outcomes, those with sustained virologic responses (SVR; n = 36) or nonresponders (NR; n = 24). Additionally, the sequence of the PKR/eIF-2alpha phosphorylation homology domain (E2-PePHD) region was determined for 23 patients (11 SVR and 12 NR). The presence of > 4 mutations in the PKRBD region was associated with SVR (P = 0.001) and early virologic responses (EVR; 12 weeks) (P = 0.037) but not rapid virologic responses (4 weeks). In the ISDR, the difference was almost statistically significant (68% of SVR patients with mutations versus 45% without mutations; P = 0.07). The V3 region had a very high genetic variability, but this was not related to SVR. Finally, the E2-PePHD (n = 23) region was well conserved. The presence of > 4 mutations in the PKRBD region (odds ratio [OR] = 9.9; P = 0.006) and an age of < or = 40 years (OR = 3.2; P = 0.056) were selected in a multivariate analysis as predictive factors of SVR. NS5A sequences from serum samples taken after 1 month of treatment and posttreatment were examined for 3 SVR and 15 NR patients to select treatment-resistant viral subpopulations, and it was found that in the V3 and flanking regions, the mutations increased significantly in posttreatment sera (P = 0.05). The genetic variability in the PKRBD (> 4 mutations) is a predictive factor of SVR and EVR in HCV genotype 1 patients treated with pegylated IFN and ribavirin.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patients infected with genotype 2b hepatitis C virus (HCV) generally can achieve favorable responses to pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin therapy (PEG-IFN/RBV). However, a proportion of patients show poorer responses and the correlation between viral sequence variation and treatment outcome remains unclear. METHODS: The pretreatment complete open reading frame (ORF) sequences of genotype 2b HCV determined by direct sequencing were investigated for correlation with the final outcome in a total of 60 patients. RESULTS: In this study group, 87.5% (14/16) of non-sustained virological response (non-SVR) patients (n?=?16) were relapsers. Compared to sustained virological response (SVR) patients (n?=?44), non-SVR patients were older and could not achieve prompt viral clearance after the therapy induction. Comparing each viral protein between the two groups, viral sequences were more diverse in SVR patients and that diversity was found primarily in the E1, p7, and NS5A proteins. In searching for specific viral regions associated with the final outcome, several regions in E2, p7, NS2, NS5A, and NS5B were extracted. Among these regions, part of the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) was included. In these regions, amino acid substitutions were associated with the final outcome in an incremental manner, depending upon the number of substitutions. CONCLUSIONS: Viral sequences are more diverse in SVR patients than non-SVR patients receiving PEG-IFN/RBV therapy for genotype-2b HCV infection. Through systematic comparison of viral sequences, several specific regions, including part of the ISDR, were extracted as having significant correlation with the final outcome.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 3a is known to show comparatively better response to combination therapy than genotype 1 and 4. Mutations within NS5A gene of HCV have earlier been implicated with response to interferon (IFN) therapies in chronic HCV patients among various populations. As response to therapy are available in different populations because of the ethnic and viral factors and there was no study available on the phenomenon of resistivity to IFN. RESULTS: Chronic HCV 3a infected Pakistani patients were kept on IFN-α and ribavirin therapy for six months. NS5A gene of HCV was amplified and sequenced in the case of all the patients prior to therapy and the sequences were analysed for mutations. Out of the total 27 patients, 20 (74.07%) were observed with sustained virological response (SVR), 4 (14.81%) patients were non responder (NR) while 3 (11.11%) patients exhibited in end of treatment response (ETR). Three (3/20) (15%) SVR patients and two (2/3) ETR patients had mutations (ranging from I-V amino acids) within the NS5A ISDR regions. While the rest of the SVR patients (85%) and the NR had no mutations at ISDR region when compared with HCV K3a ISDR. CONCLUSIONS: Mutations within the NS5A gene of HCV 3a genotype may not influence the outcome of combination therapy in Pakistani populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The quasispecies nature of HCV may have important implications for viral persistence, pathogenicity and resistance to antiviral agents. The variability of one of the viral proteins, NS5A, is believed to be related to the response to IFN therapy, the standard treatment for infection. In this study we analyzed the quasispecies composition of NS5A protein in patients infected with HCV genotype 3a, before IFN therapy. METHODS: Viral RNA was isolated from samples of 12 patients: four sustained virological responders (SVR), four non-responders (NR), and four end-of-treatment responders (ETR). cDNA was synthesized, the NS5A region was amplified and the fragments obtained were cloned. Fifteen clones from each patient were sequenced with eight primers, generating 179 contigs. RESULTS: Higher values for substitution (either synonymous or non-synonymous) and for distance were found in the SVR group. However, the NR group showed relatively more non-synonymous mutations than the other groups, owing to the higher values of dN/dS in complete NS5A and most specific regions. Overall, NS5A protein is undergoing purifying selection, since all dN/dS ratios values are below 0.5. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides an overview of the genetic variability of complete NS5A protein in HCV genotype 3a.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) response to direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) may be influenced by the presence of resistance-associated substitutions (RASs). This study aimed to assess if NS5A baseline RAS-guided treatment enhances the rate of sustained viral response (SVR) in naïve HCV-infected patients in clinical practice. All HCV-infected patients who initiated treatment with interferon (IFN)-free DAA-based regimens between March 2016 and May 2017 in 17 Spanish hospitals and who had evaluable SVR 12 weeks (SVR12) after the end of therapy were included. Patients had to be DAA naïve, with the exception of sofosbuvir with/without IFN. In one hospital, participants received therapy guided by the presence of NS5A-RASs (RGT population). Patients enrolled in the remaining hospitals, without baseline RASs testing, constituted the control population. A total of 120 and 512 patients were included in the RGT and control populations, respectively. Nine (7.5%) individuals in the RGT population showed baseline NS5A-RASs. All of them achieved SVR12. The SVR12 rate in the RGT population was 97.2% (three relapses) whereas it was 98.8% (six relapses) in the control population (p?=?0.382). Our findings suggest that testing for baseline NS5A-RASs in naïve HCV-infected patients does not enhance the rate of SVR to DAA-based IFN-free therapy in clinical practice.
Project description:Objective:Mutations in HCV nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) play a vital role in virus resistance. The aim of this study was to develop a correlation between NS5A mutations (genotype 3a) and virological response towards interferon alpha (IFN-?) plus ribavirin therapy. Methods:In this study, which was conducted from 09-02-2013 to 25-11-2015 in the rural area of Province Sindh - Pakistan, total patients' responses to peg-IFN therapy were investigated. Patients were given peg-IFN therapy for 24 to 48 weeks and categorized as sustained virologic responders (SVR) or non-responders (NR) to HCV infection. HCV NS5A region (2215-2335) of genotype 3a was identified in both responders and non-responders. Results:Twenty-four NR with 24 SVR isolates showed significant mutations within the nonstructural protein 5A region in HCV genotype 3a. The New Zealand (NZL1) (GenBank D17763) differences were observed by using gene. The ISDR mutations for nonstructural protein 5A in non-responders have been reported as a possible explanation of HCV interferon resistance. Conclusion:Based on these results, it is suggested that decreased SVR is caused by the increased mutations in nonstructural protein 5A sequences. When the sequence outside the Protein kinases R binding domain (PKRBD) (2281-2335) was examined, significant differentiations were observed among the SVR and NR classes at few amino acid strains.
Project description:Interleukin-28B (IL28B) polymorphisms are associated with viral response to peginterferon and ribavirin (RBV) in chronic hepatitis C (HCV). Their recognition represents a breakthrough in the understanding of the role of the host in viral eradication. How these polymorphisms determine viral eradication is unknown. The IL-28B variants are hypothesized to have a differential impact on HCV quasispecies evolution during treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and RBV. In this study, HCV RNA levels were measured at early time points in 33 naïve genotype 1 hepatitis C patients and clonal analysis of the entire NS5A region was performed on sera from baseline and Day 7. Site rs12979860 polymorphisms were determined by direct sequencing of PCR products and classified into CC, CT, and TT and were identified in 13, 11, and 9 patients, respectively. The CC polymorphism more commonly was seen in Whites versus Blacks [12/21 (57%) vs. 1/12 (8%), P = 0.009] and HIV-infected versus mono-infected [13/25 (52%) vs. 0/8 (0%), P = 0.009]. Patients with CC and non-CC had similar baseline viral loads. More patients with the CC polymorphism had amino acid substitutions in NS5A compared to non-CC patients. Despite similar baseline viral diversity, by Day 7, significantly more patients with CC had higher non-synonymous substitution values compared to non-CC (P = 0.02). Chronic hepatitis C patients with the CC IL28B polymorphism have a higher number of amino acid substitutions in the NS5A region and early viral evolution due to greater interferon induced selective pressure during this critical period of treatment.
Project description:Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are either part of the current standard of care or are in advanced clinical development for the treatment of patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, but concern exists with respect to the patients who fail these regimens with emergent drug-resistant variants. In the present study, ultradeep sequencing was performed to analyze resistance to daclatasvir (DCV), which is a highly selective nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) inhibitor. Eight patients with HCV genotype 1b, who were either treatment naive or prior nonresponders to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (Rebetol; Schering-Plough) (PEG-IFN/RBV) therapy, were treated with DCV combined with PEG-IFN alpha-2b (Pegintron; Schering-Plough, Kenilworth, NJ) and RBV. To identify the cause of viral breakthrough, the preexistence and emergence of DCV-resistant variants at NS5A amino acids were analyzed by ultradeep sequencing. Sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 6 of 8 patients (75%), with viral breakthrough occurring in the other 2 patients (25%). DCV-resistant variant Y93H preexisted as a minor population at higher frequencies (0.1% to 0.5%) in patients who achieved SVR. In patients with viral breakthrough, DCV-resistant variant mixtures emerged at NS5A-31 over time that persisted posttreatment with Y93H. Although enrichment of DCV-resistant variants was detected, the preexistence of a minor population of the variant did not appear to be associated with virologic response in patients treated with DCV/PEG-IFN/RBV. Ultradeep sequencing results shed light on the complexity of DCV-resistant quasispecies emerging over time, suggesting that multiple resistance pathways are possible within a patient who does not rapidly respond to a DCV-containing regimen. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01016912.).