Dynamics of viral evolution and neutralizing antibody response after HIV-1 superinfection.
ABSTRACT: Investigating the incidence and prevalence of HIV-1 superinfection is challenging due to the complex dynamics of two infecting strains. The superinfecting strain can replace the initial strain, be transiently expressed, or persist along with the initial strain in distinct or in recombined forms. Various selective pressures influence these alternative scenarios in different HIV-1 coding regions. We hypothesized that the potency of the neutralizing antibody (NAb) response to autologous viruses would modulate viral dynamics in env following superinfection in a limited set of superinfection cases. HIV-1 env pyrosequencing data were generated from blood plasma collected from 7 individuals with evidence of superinfection. Viral variants within each patient were screened for recombination, and viral dynamics were evaluated using nucleotide diversity. NAb responses to autologous viruses were evaluated before and after superinfection. In 4 individuals, the superinfecting strain replaced the original strain. In 2 individuals, both initial and superinfecting strains continued to cocirculate. In the final individual, the surviving lineage was the product of interstrain recombination. NAb responses to autologous viruses that were detected within the first 2 years of HIV-1 infection were weak or absent for 6 of the 7 recently infected individuals at the time of and shortly following superinfection. These 6 individuals had detectable on-going viral replication of distinct superinfecting virus in the env coding region. In the remaining case, there was an early and strong autologous NAb response, which was associated with extensive recombination in env between initial and superinfecting strains. This extensive recombination made superinfection more difficult to identify and may explain why the detection of superinfection has typically been associated with low autologous NAb titers.
Project description:Superinfection by a second human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strain indicates that gaps in protective immunity occur during natural infection. To define the role of HIV-1-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) in this setting, we examined NAb responses in 6 women who became superinfected between approximately 1 to 5 years following initial infection compared to 18 women with similar risk factors who did not. Although superinfected individuals had less NAb breadth than matched controls at approximately 1 year postinfection, no significant differences in the breadth or potency of NAb responses were observed just prior to the second infection. In fact, four of the six subjects had relatively broad and potent NAb responses prior to infection by the second strain. To more specifically examine the specificity of the NAbs against the superinfecting virus, these variants were cloned from five of the six individuals. The superinfecting variants did not appear to be inherently neutralization resistant, as measured against a pool of plasma from unrelated HIV-infected individuals. Moreover, the superinfected individuals were able to mount autologous NAb responses to these variants following reinfection. In addition, most superinfected individuals had NAbs that could neutralize their second viral strains prior to their reinfection, suggesting that the level of NAbs elicited during natural infection was not sufficient to block infection. These data indicate that preventing infection by vaccination will likely require broader and more potent NAb responses than those found in HIV-1-infected individuals.
Project description:Understanding whether the neutralizing antibody (NAb) response impacts HIV-1 superinfection and how superinfection subsequently modulates the NAb response can help clarify correlates of protection from HIV exposures and better delineate pathways of NAb development. We examined associations between the development of NAb and the occurrence of superinfection in a well-characterized, antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive, primary infection cohort of men who have sex with men. Deep sequencing was applied to blood plasma samples from the cohort to detect cases of superinfection. We compared the NAb activity against autologous and heterologous viruses between 10 participants with intrasubtype B superinfection and 19 monoinfected controls, matched to duration of infection and risk behavior. Three to 6 months after primary infection, individuals who would later become superinfected had significantly weaker NAb activity against tier 1 subtype B viruses (P = 0.003 for SF-162 and P = 0.017 for NL4-3) and marginally against autologous virus (P = 0.054). Lower presuperinfection NAb responses correlated with weaker gp120 binding and lower plasma total IgG titers. Soon after superinfection, the NAb response remained lower, but between 2 and 3 years after primary infection, NAb levels strengthened and reached those of controls. Superinfecting viruses were typically not susceptible to neutralization by presuperinfection plasma. These observations suggest that recently infected individuals with a delayed NAb response against primary infecting and tier 1 subtype B viruses are more susceptible to superinfection.IMPORTANCE Our findings suggest that within the first year after HIV infection, a relatively weak neutralizing antibody response against primary and subtype-specific neutralization-sensitive viruses increases susceptibility to superinfection in the face of repeated exposures. As natural infection progresses, the immune response strengthens significantly in some superinfected individuals. These findings will inform HIV vaccine design by providing testable correlates of protection from initial HIV infection.
Project description:This report describes the identification of a genetically confirmed linked heterosexual human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) superinfection (HIV-SI) in a woman with chronic HIV infection who acquired a second strain of the virus from her husband. Serum neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses against their homologous and heterologous viruses, including the superinfecting strain, in the woman and her husband were examined before and after onset of HIV-SI. The woman displayed a moderately potent and broad anti-HIV NAb response prior to superinfection but did not possess NAb activity against the superinfecting strain. This case highlights the unique potential of linked HIV-SI studies to examine natural protection from HIV infection.
Project description:HIV superinfection describes the sequential infection of an individual with two or more unrelated HIV strains. Intersubtype superinfection has been shown to cause a broader and more potent heterologous neutralizing antibody response when compared to singly infected controls, yet the effects of intrasubtype superinfection remain controversial. Longitudinal samples were analyzed phylogenetically for pol and env regions using Next-Generation Sequencing and envelope cloning. The impact of CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection was assessed for heterologous neutralization and antibody binding responses. We compared two cases of CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection that revealed complete replacement of the initial virus by superinfecting CRF02_AG variants with signs of recombination. NYU6564, who became superinfected at an early time point, exhibited greater changes in antibody binding profiles and generated a more potent neutralizing antibody response post-superinfection compared to NYU6501. In contrast, superinfection occurred at a later time point in NYU6501 with strains harboring significantly longer V1V2 regions with no observable changes in neutralization patterns. Here we show that CRF02_AG intrasubtype superinfection can induce a cross-subtype neutralizing antibody response, and our data suggest timing and/or superinfecting viral envelope characteristics as contributing factors. These results highlight differential outcomes in intrasubtype superinfection and provide the first insight into cases with CRF02_AG, the fourth most prevalent HIV-1 strain worldwide.
Project description:Eliciting broad and potent HIV-specific neutralizing antibody responses represents the holy grail of HIV vaccine efforts. Data from singly infected individuals with broad and potent plasma neutralizing activity targeting one epitope have guided our understanding of how these responses develop. However, far less is known about responses developed by superinfected individuals who acquire two distinct HIV strains. Here, we isolated HIV-specific mAbs from a superinfected individual with a broad plasma response. In this superinfection case, neutralizing activity resulted from multiple distinct B cell lineages that arose in response to either the initial or the superinfecting virus, including an antibody that targets the N332 supersite. This nAb, QA013.2, was specific to the superinfecting virus and was associated with eventual reemergence of the initial infecting virus. The complex dynamic between viruses in superinfection may drive development of a unique collection of polyclonal nAbs that present a higher barrier to escape than monoclonal responses.
Project description:HIV-1 superinfection occurs at varying frequencies in different at risk populations. Though seroincidence is decreased, in the negative partner of HIV-discordant couples after joint testing and counseling in the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZEHRP) cohort, the annual infection rate remains relatively high at 7-8%. Based on sequencing within the gp41 region of each partner's virus, 24% of new infections between 2004 and 2008 were the result of transmission from a non-spousal partner. Since these seroconvertors and their spouses have disparate epidemiologically-unlinked viruses, there is a risk of superinfection within the marriage. We have, therefore, investigated the incidence and viral origin of superinfection in these couples.Superinfection was detected by heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA), degenerate base counting of the gp41 sequence, or by phylogenetic analysis of the longitudinal sequences. It was confirmed by full-length env single genome amplification and phylogenetic analysis. In 22 couples (44 individuals), followed for up to five years, three of the newly infected (initially HIV uninfected) partners became superinfected. In each case superinfection occurred during the first 12 months following initial infection of the negative partner, and in each case the superinfecting virus was derived from a non-spousal partner. In addition, one probable case of intra-couple HIV-1 superinfection was observed in a chronically infected partner at the time of his seroconverting spouse's initial viremia. Extensive recombination within the env gene was observed following superinfection.In this subtype-C discordant couple cohort, superinfection, during the first year after HIV-1 infection of the previously negative partner, occurred at a rate similar to primary infection (13.6% [95% CI 5.2-34.8] vs 7.8% [7.1-8.6]). While limited intra-couple superinfection may in part reflect continued condom usage within couples, this and our lack of detecting newly superinfected individuals after one year of primary infection raise the possibility that immunological resistance to intra-subtype superinfection may develop over time in subtype C infected individuals.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) superinfection refers to the acquisition of another strain by an already infected individual. Here we report a comprehensive genetic analysis of an HIV-1 superinfection acquired heterosexually. The infected individual was in a high-risk cohort in Tanzania, was exposed to multiple subtypes, and was systematically evaluated every 3 months with a fluorescent multi-region genotyping assay. The subject was identified in the window period and was first infected with a complex ACD recombinant strain, became superinfected 6 to 9 months later with an AC recombinant, and was monitored for >2.5 years. The plasma viral load exceeded 400,000 copies/ml during the first 9 months of infection but resolved to the set point of 67,000 copies/ml by 3 months after superinfection; the CD4 cell count was 377 cells/mul at 30 months. Viral diversity was evaluated with techniques designed to fully sample the quasi-species, permitting direct observation of the evolution, temporal fluctuation, and intercompartment dynamics of the initial and superinfecting strains and recombinants derived from them. Within 3 months of superinfection, seven different molecular forms were detected in gag and six were detected in env. The proportions of forms fluctuated widely over time in plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells, illustrating how challenging the detection of dually infected individuals can be. Strain-specific nested PCR confirmed that the superinfecting strain was not present until the 9 month follow-up. This study further defines the parameters and dynamics of superinfection and will foster appropriate studies and approaches to gain a more complete understanding of risk factors for superinfection and its impact on clinical progression, epidemiology, and vaccine design.
Project description:Reports of HIV-1 superinfection (re-infection) have demonstrated that the immune response generated against one strain of HIV-1 does not always protect against other strains. However, studies to determine the incidence of HIV-1 superinfection have yielded conflicting results. Furthermore, few studies have attempted to identify superinfection cases occurring more than a year after initial infection, a time when HIV-1-specific immune responses would be most likely to have developed. We screened a cohort of high-risk Kenyan women for HIV-1 superinfection by comparing partial gag and envelope sequences over a 5-y period beginning at primary infection. Among 36 individuals, we detected seven cases of superinfection, including cases in which both viruses belonged to the same HIV-1 subtype, subtype A. In five of these cases, the superinfecting strain was detected in only one of the two genome regions examined, suggesting that recombination frequently occurs following HIV-1 superinfection. In addition, we found that superinfection occurred throughout the course of the first infection: during acute infection in two cases, between 1-2 y after infection in three cases, and as late as 5 y after infection in two cases. Our results indicate that superinfection commonly occurs after the immune response against the initial infection has had time to develop and mature. Implications from HIV-1 superinfection cases, in which natural re-exposure leads to re-infection, will need to be considered in developing strategies for eliciting protective immunity to HIV-1.
Project description:After acute HIV infection, CD8(+) T cells are able to control viral replication to a set point. This control is often lost after superinfection, although the mechanism behind this remains unclear. In this study, we illustrate in an HLA-B27(+) subject that loss of viral control after HIV superinfection coincides with rapid recombination events within two narrow regions of Gag and Env. Screening for CD8(+) T cell responses revealed that each of these recombination sites (approximately 50 aa) encompassed distinct regions containing two immunodominant CD8 epitopes (B27-KK10 in Gag and Cw1-CL9 in Env). Viral escape and the subsequent development of variant-specific de novo CD8(+) T cell responses against both epitopes were illustrative of the significant immune selection pressures exerted by both responses. Comprehensive analysis of the kinetics of CD8 responses and viral evolution indicated that the recombination events quickly facilitated viral escape from both dominant WT- and variant-specific responses. These data suggest that the ability of a superinfecting strain of HIV to overcome preexisting immune control may be related to its ability to rapidly recombine in critical regions under immune selection pressure. These data also support a role for cellular immune pressures in driving the selection of new recombinant forms of HIV.
Project description:Eliciting antibodies that neutralize a broad range of circulating HIV strains (broadly neutralizing antibodies [bnAbs]) represents a key priority for vaccine development. HIV superinfection (re-infection with a second strain following an established infection) has been associated with neutralization breadth, and can provide insights into how the immune system responds to sequential exposure to distinct HIV envelope glycoproteins (Env). Characterizing the neutralizing antibody (nAb) responses in four superinfected women revealed that superinfection does not boost memory nAb responses primed by the first infection or promote nAb responses to epitopes conserved in both infecting viruses. While one superinfected individual developed potent bnAbs, superinfection was likely not the driver as the nAb response did not target an epitope conserved in both viruses. Rather, sequential exposure led to nAbs specific to each Env but did not promote bnAb development. Thus, sequential immunization with heterologous Envs may not be sufficient to focus the immune response onto conserved epitopes.