Lack of detectable HIV-1 molecular evolution during suppressive antiretroviral therapy.
ABSTRACT: A better understanding of changes in HIV-1 population genetics with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is critical for designing eradication strategies. We therefore analyzed HIV-1 genetic variation and divergence in patients' plasma before cART, during suppression on cART, and after viral rebound. Single-genome sequences of plasma HIV-1 RNA were obtained from HIV-1 infected patients prior to cART (N?=?14), during suppression on cART (N?=?14) and/or after viral rebound following interruption of cART (N?=?5). Intra-patient population diversity was measured by average pairwise difference (APD). Population structure was assessed by phylogenetic analyses and a test for panmixia. Measurements of intra-population diversity revealed no significant loss of overall genetic variation in patients treated for up to 15 years with cART. A test for panmixia, however, showed significant changes in population structure in 2/10 patients after short-term cART (<1 year) and in 7/10 patients after long-term cART (1-15 years). The changes consisted of diverse sets of viral variants prior to cART shifting to populations containing one or more genetically uniform subpopulations during cART. Despite these significant changes in population structure, rebound virus after long-term cART had little divergence from pretherapy virus, implicating long-lived cells infected before cART as the source for rebound virus. The appearance of genetically uniform virus populations and the lack of divergence after prolonged cART and cART interruption provide strong evidence that HIV-1 persists in long-lived cells infected before cART was initiated, that some of these infected cells may be capable of proliferation, and that on-going cycles of viral replication are not evident.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reservoir is responsible for persistent viral infection, and a small number of mosaic latent cellular reservoirs promote viral rebound upon antiretroviral therapy interruption, which is the major obstacle to a cure. However, markers that determine effective therapy and viral rebound posttreatment interruption remain unclear. In this study, we comprehensively and longitudinally tracked dynamic decay of cell-associated viral RNA/DNA in systemic and lymphoid tissues in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques on prolonged combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) and evaluated predictors of viral rebound after treatment cessation. The results showed that suppressive ART substantially reduced plasma SIV RNA, cell-associated unspliced, and multiply spliced SIV RNA to undetectable levels, yet viral DNA remained detectable in systemic tissues and lymphoid compartments throughout cART. Intriguingly, a rapid increase of integrated proviral DNA in peripheral mononuclear cells was detected once treatment was withdrawn, accompanied by the emergence of detectable plasma viral load. Notably, the increase of peripheral proviral DNA after treatment interruption correlated with the emergence and degree of viral rebound. These findings suggest that measuring total viral DNA in SIV infection may be a relatively simple surrogate marker of reservoir size and may predict viral rebound after treatment interruption and inform treatment strategies.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Viral reservoirs are involved in persistent HIV infection, and a small number of mosaic latent cellular reservoirs promote viral rebound upon analytical treatment interruption, which is the major obstacle to a cure. However, early indicators that can predict resurgence of viremia after treatment interruption may aid treatment decisions in people living with HIV. Utilizing the rhesus macaque model, we demonstrated that increased proviral DNA in peripheral cells after treatment interruption, rather than levels of proviral DNA, was a useful marker to predict the emergence and degree of viral rebound after treatment interruption, providing a rapid approach for monitoring HIV rebound and informing decisions.
Project description:There is currently a need for proxy measures of the HIV rebound competent reservoir (RCR) that can predict viral rebound after combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) interruption. In this study, macaques infected with a barcoded SIVmac239 virus received cART beginning between 4- and 27 days post-infection, leading to the establishment of different levels of viral dissemination and persistence. Later treatment initiation led to higher SIV DNA levels maintained during treatment, which was significantly associated with an increased frequency of SIV reactivation and production of progeny capable of causing rebound viremia following treatment interruption. However, a 100-fold increase in SIV DNA in PBMCs was associated with only a 2-fold increase in the frequency of reactivation. These data suggest that the RCR can be established soon after infection, and that a large fraction of persistent viral DNA that accumulates after this time makes relatively little contribution to viral rebound.
Project description:Rapid rebound of plasma viremia in patients after interruption of long-term combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) suggests persistence of low-level replicating cells or rapid reactivation of latently infected cells. To further characterize rebounding virus, we performed extensive longitudinal clonal evolutionary studies of HIV env C2-V3-C3 regions and exploited the temporal relationships of rebounding plasma viruses with regard to pretreatment sequences in 20 chronically HIV-1-infected patients having undergone multiple 2-week structured treatment interruptions (STI). Rebounding virus during the short STI was homogeneous, suggesting mono- or oligoclonal origin during reactivation. No evidence for a temporal structure of rebounding virus in regard to pretreatment sequences was found. Furthermore, expansion of distinct lineages at different STI cycles emerged. Together, these findings imply stochastic reactivation of different clones from long-lived latently infected cells rather than expansion of viral populations replicating at low levels. After treatment was stopped, diversity increased steadily, but pretreatment diversity was, on average, achieved only >2.5 years after the start of STI when marked divergence from preexisting quasispecies also emerged. In summary, our results argue against persistence of ongoing low-level replication in patients on suppressive cART. Furthermore, a prolonged delay in restoration of pretreatment viral diversity after treatment interruption demonstrates a surprisingly sustained evolutionary bottleneck induced by punctuated antiretroviral therapy.
Project description:A Tat Oyi vaccine preparation was administered with informed consent to 48 long-term HIV-1 infected volunteers whose viral loads had been suppressed by antiretroviral therapy (cART). These volunteers were randomized in double-blind method into four groups (n = 12) that were injected intradermally with 0, 11, 33, or 99 µg of synthetic Tat Oyi proteins in buffer without adjuvant at times designated by month 0 (M0), M1 and M2, respectively. The volunteers then underwent a structured treatment interruption between M5 and M7.The primary outcomes of this phase I/IIa clinical trial were the safety and lowering the extent of HIV RNA rebound after cART interruption. Only one undesirable event possibly due to vaccination was observed. The 33 µg dose was most effective at lowering the extent of HIV RNA and DNA rebound (Mann and Whitney test, p = 0.07 and p = 0.001). Immune responses against Tat were increased at M5 and this correlated with a low HIV RNA rebound at M6 (p = 0.01).This study suggests in vivo that extracellular Tat activates and protects HIV infected cells. The Tat Oyi vaccine in association with cART may provide an efficient means of controlling the HIV-infected cell reservoir.
Project description:The conditioning regimen used as part of the Berlin patient's hematopoietic cell transplant likely contributed to his eradication of HIV infection. We studied the impact of conditioning in simian-human immunodeficiency virus-infected (SHIV-infected) macaques suppressed by combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The conditioning regimen resulted in a dramatic, but incomplete depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and CD20+ B cells, increased T cell activation and exhaustion, and a significant loss of SHIV-specific Abs. The disrupted T cell homeostasis and markers of microbial translocation positively correlated with an increased viral rebound after cART interruption. Quantitative viral outgrowth and Tat/rev-induced limiting dilution assays showed that the size of the latent SHIV reservoir did not correlate with viral rebound. These findings identify perturbations of the immune system as a mechanism for the failure of autologous transplantation to eradicate HIV. Thus, transplantation strategies may be improved by incorporating immune modulators to prevent disrupted homeostasis, and gene therapy to protect transplanted cells.
Project description:HIV and SIV infection dynamics are commonly investigated by measuring plasma viral loads. However, this total viral load value represents the sum of many individual infection events, which are difficult to independently track using conventional sequencing approaches. To overcome this challenge, we generated a genetically tagged virus stock (SIVmac239M) with a 34-base genetic barcode inserted between the vpx and vpr accessory genes of the infectious molecular clone SIVmac239. Next-generation sequencing of the virus stock identified at least 9,336 individual barcodes, or clonotypes, with an average genetic distance of 7 bases between any two barcodes. In vitro infection of rhesus CD4+ T cells and in vivo infection of rhesus macaques revealed levels of viral replication of SIVmac239M comparable to parental SIVmac239. After intravenous inoculation of 2.2x105 infectious units of SIVmac239M, an average of 1,247 barcodes were identified during acute infection in 26 infected rhesus macaques. Of the barcodes identified in the stock, at least 85.6% actively replicated in at least one animal, and on average each barcode was found in 5 monkeys. Four infected animals were treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) for 82 days starting on day 6 post-infection (study 1). Plasma viremia was reduced from >106 to <15 vRNA copies/mL by the time treatment was interrupted. Virus rapidly rebounded following treatment interruption and between 87 and 136 distinct clonotypes were detected in plasma at peak rebound viremia. This study confirmed that SIVmac239M viremia could be successfully curtailed with cART, and that upon cART discontinuation, rebounding viral variants could be identified and quantified. An additional 6 animals infected with SIVmac239M were treated with cART beginning on day 4 post-infection for 305, 374, or 482 days (study 2). Upon treatment interruption, between 4 and 8 distinct viral clonotypes were detected in each animal at peak rebound viremia. The relative proportions of the rebounding viral clonotypes, spanning a range of 5 logs, were largely preserved over time for each animal. The viral growth rate during recrudescence and the relative abundance of each rebounding clonotype were used to estimate the average frequency of reactivation per animal. Using these parameters, reactivation frequencies were calculated and ranged from 0.33-0.70 events per day, likely representing reactivation from long-lived latently infected cells. The use of SIVmac239M therefore provides a powerful tool to investigate SIV latency and the frequency of viral reactivation after treatment interruption.
Project description:Presenting episodes of intermittent viremia (EIV) under combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is frequent, but there exists some controversy about their consequences. They have been described as inducing changes in immune responses potentially associated with a better control of HIV infection. Conversely, it has been suggested that EIV increases the risk of virological failure. A retrospective analysis of a prospective, randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled study was performed. Twenty-six successfully treated HIV-infected adults were randomized to receive an immunization schedule or placebo, and after 1 year of follow-up cART was discontinued. The influence of EIV on T cell subsets, HIV-1-specific T cell immune responses, and viral load rebound, and the risk of developing genotypic mutations were evaluated, taking into account the immunization received. Patients with EIV above 200 copies/ml under cART had a lower proportion of CD4(+) and CD4(+)CD45RA(+)RO(-) T cells, a higher proportion of CD8(+) and CD4(+)CD38(+)HLADR(+) T cells, and higher HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses compared to persistently undetectable patients. After cART interruption, patients with EIV presented a significantly higher viral rebound (p=0.007), associated with greater increases in HIV-specific lymphoproliferative responses and T cell populations with activation markers. When patients with EIV between 20 and 200 copies/ml were included, most of the differences disappeared. Patients who present EIV above 200 copies/ml showed a lower CD4(+) T cell count and higher activation markers under cART. After treatment interruption, they showed greater specific immune responses against HIV, which did not prevent a higher virological rebound. EIV between 20 and 200 copies/ml did not have this deleterious effect.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) establishes a chronic infection that can be well controlled, but not cured, by combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Interventions have been explored to accomplish a functional cure, meaning that a patient remains infected but HIV is undetectable in the blood, with the aim of allowing patients to live without cART. Tat, the viral transactivator of transcription protein, plays a critical role in controlling HIV transcription, latency, and viral rebound following the interruption of cART treatment. Therefore, a logical approach for controlling HIV would be to block Tat. Tackling Tat with inhibitors has been a difficult task, but some recent discoveries hold promise. Two anti-HIV proteins, Nullbasic (a mutant of Tat) and HT1 (a fusion of HEXIM1 and Tat functional domains) inhibit viral transcription by interfering with the interaction of Tat and cellular factors. Two small molecules, didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA) and triptolide, inhibit Tat by different mechanisms: dCA through direct binding and triptolide through enhanced proteasomal degradation. Finally, two Tat-based vaccines under development elicit Tat-neutralizing antibodies. These vaccines have increased the levels of CD4+ cells and reduced viral loads in HIV-infected people, suggesting that the new vaccines are therapeutic. This review summarizes recent developments of anti-Tat agents and how they could contribute to a functional cure for HIV.
Project description:To characterize the host response to dendritic cell-based immunotherapy and subsequent combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) interruption in HIV-1-infected individuals at the plasma protein level.An autologous dendritic cell (DC) therapeutic vaccine was administered to HIV-infected individuals, stable on cART. The effect of vaccination was evaluated at the plasma protein level during the period preceding cART interruption, during analytical therapy interruption and at viral reactivation. Healthy controls and post-exposure prophylactically treated healthy individuals were included as controls.Plasma marker ('analyte') levels including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and hormones were measured in trial participants and control plasma samples using a multiplex immunoassay. Analyte levels were analysed using principle component analysis, cluster analysis and limma. Blood neutrophil counts were analysed using linear regression.Plasma analyte levels of HIV-infected individuals are markedly different from those of healthy controls and HIV-negative individuals receiving post-exposure prophylaxis. Viral reactivation following cART interruption also affects multiple analytes, but cART interruption itself only has only a minor effect. We find that Thyroxine-Binding Globulin (TBG) levels and late-stage neutrophil numbers correlate with the time off cART after DC vaccination. Furthermore, analysis shows that cART alters several regulators of blood glucose levels, including C-peptide, chromogranin-A and leptin. HIV reactivation is associated with the upregulation of CXCR3 ligands.Chronic HIV infection leads to a change in multiple plasma analyte levels, as does virus reactivation after cART interruption. Furthermore, we find evidence for the involvement of TBG and neutrophils in the response to DC-vaccination in the setting of HIV-infection.
Project description:Cholesterol-PIE12-trimer (CPT31) is a potent d-peptide HIV entry inhibitor that targets the highly conserved gp41 N-peptide pocket region. CPT31 exhibited strong inhibitory breadth against diverse panels of primary virus isolates. In a simian-HIV chimeric virus AD8 (SHIVAD8) macaque model, CPT31 prevented infection from a single high-dose rectal challenge. In chronically infected animals, CPT31 monotherapy rapidly reduced viral load by ?2 logs before rebound occurred due to the emergence of drug resistance. In chronically infected animals with viremia initially controlled by combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), CPT31 monotherapy prevented viral rebound after discontinuation of cART. These data establish CPT31 as a promising candidate for HIV prevention and treatment.