HIV type 1 mutational patterns in HIV type 1 subtype C-infected long-term survivors in Karonga District Malawi: further analysis and correction.
ABSTRACT: Here we present new sequence data from HIV-1 subtype C-infected long-term survivors (LTS) from Karonga District, Malawi. Gag and env sequence data were produced from nine individuals each of whom has been HIV-1 positive for more than 20 years. We show that the three amino acid deletion in gag p17 previously described from these LTS is not real and was a result of an alignment error. We find that the use of dried blood spots for DNA-based studies is limited after storage for 20 years. We also show some unlikely amino acid changes in env C2-V3 in LTS over time and different patterns of genetic divergence among LTS. Although no clear association between mutations and survival could be shown, amino acid changes that are present in more than one LTS may, in the future, be shown to be important.
Project description:The human cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has been intensely studied, and hundreds of CTL epitopes have been experimentally defined, published, and compiled in the HIV Molecular Immunology Database. Maps of CTL epitopes on HIV-1 protein sequences reveal that defined epitopes tend to cluster. Here we integrate the global sequence and immunology databases to systematically explore the relationship between HIV-1 amino acid sequences and CTL epitope distributions. CTL responses to five HIV-1 proteins, Gag p17, Gag p24, reverse transcriptase (RT), Env, and Nef, have been particularly well characterized in the literature to date. Through comparing CTL epitope distributions in these five proteins to global protein sequence alignments, we identified distinct characteristics of HIV amino acid sequences that correlate with CTL epitope localization. First, experimentally defined HIV CTL epitopes are concentrated in relatively conserved regions. Second, the highly variable regions that lack epitopes bear cumulative evidence of past immune escape that may make them relatively refractive to CTLs: a paucity of predicted proteasome processing sites and an enrichment for amino acids that do not serve as C-terminal anchor residues. Finally, CTL epitopes are more highly concentrated in alpha-helical regions of proteins. Based on amino acid sequence characteristics, in a blinded fashion, we predicted regions in HIV regulatory and accessory proteins that would be likely to contain CTL epitopes; these predictions were then validated by comparison to new sets of experimentally defined epitopes in HIV-1 Rev, Tat, Vif, and Vpr.
Project description:BACKGROUND: We conducted molecular analyses to confirm four clustering HIV-1 infections (Patient A, B, C & D) in Guangzhou, China. These cases were identified by epidemiological investigation and suspected to acquire the infection through a common heterosexual transmission chain. METHODS: Env C2V3V4 region, gag p17/p24 junction and partial pol gene of HIV-1 genome from serum specimens of these infected cases were amplified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and nucleotide sequenced. RESULTS: Phylogenetic analyses indicated that their viral nucleotide sequences were significantly clustered together (bootstrap value is 99%, 98% and 100% in env, gag and pol tree respectively). Evolutionary distance analysis indicated that their genetic diversities of env, gag and pol genes were significantly lower than non-clustered controls, as measured by unpaired t-test (env gene comparison: p < 0.005; gag gene comparison: p < 0.005; pol gene comparison: p < 0.005). CONCLUSION: Epidemiological results and molecular analyses consistently illustrated these four cases represented a transmission chain which dispersed in the locality through heterosexual contact involving commercial sex worker.
Project description:Understanding the properties of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) variants capable of establishing infection is critical to the development of a vaccine against AIDS. Previous studies of men have shown that the HIV-1 env gene is homogeneous early in infection, leading to the suggestion that infection is established by a single transmitted variant. However, we report here that all of eight homosexual men evaluated beginning 3.7 to 9 weeks following onset of symptoms of acute infection harbored diverse virus populations in their blood, with median genetic distances averaging 1.08% in the env C2V5 region and 0.81% in the gag p17 gene. Within another 4.7 to 11 weeks, the variant lineage in env became more homogeneous, while gag sequences continued to diversify. Thus, the homogenization that has been reported to characterize acute infection is actually preceded by the replication of multiple virus variants. This early selective process focuses on viral properties within Env but not Gag p17. Hence, the viral homogeneity observed early in HIV-1 infection results from a selective process that occurs during the establishment of infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:We conducted a phase I/II randomized placebo-controlled trial with the aim of exploring whether priming with a low intradermal dose of a multiclade, multigene HIV-1 DNA vaccine could improve the immunogenicity of the same vaccine given intramuscularly prior to boosting with a heterologous HIV-1 MVA among healthy adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. METHODS:Sixty HIV-uninfected volunteers were randomized to receive DNA plasmid vaccine 1mg intradermally (id), n=20, or 3.8mg intramuscularly (im), n=20, or placebo, n=20, using a needle-free injection device. DNA plasmids encoding HIV-1 genes gp160 subtype A, B, C; rev B; p17/p24 gag A, B and Rtmut B were given at weeks 0, 4 and 12. Recombinant MVA (10(8)pfu) expressing HIV-1 Env, Gag, Pol of CRF01_AE or placebo was administered im at month 9 and 21. RESULTS:The vaccines were well tolerated. Two weeks after the third HIV-DNA injection, 22/38 (58%) vaccinees had IFN-? ELISpot responses to Gag. Two weeks after the first HIV-MVA boost all 35 (100%) vaccinees responded to Gag and 31 (89%) to Env. Two to four weeks after the second HIV-MVA boost, 28/29 (97%) vaccinees had IFN-? ELISpot responses, 27 (93%) to Gag and 23 (79%) to Env. The id-primed recipients had significantly higher responses to Env than im recipients. Intracellular cytokine staining for Gag-specific IFN-?/IL-2 production showed both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses. All vaccinees had HIV-specific lymphoproliferative responses. All vaccinees reacted in diagnostic HIV serological tests and 26/29 (90%) had antibodies against gp160 after the second HIV-MVA boost. Furthermore, while all of 29 vaccinee sera were negative for neutralizing antibodies against clade B, C and CRF01_AE pseudoviruses in the TZM-bl neutralization assay, in a PBMC assay, the response rate ranged from 31% to 83% positives, depending upo