SiRNA-induced mutation in HIV-1 polypurine tract region and its influence on viral fitness.
ABSTRACT: Converting single-stranded viral RNA into double stranded DNA for integration is an essential step in HIV-1 replication. Initial polymerization of minus-strand DNA is primed from a host derived tRNA, whereas subsequent plus-strand synthesis requires viral primers derived from the 3' and central polypurine tracts (3' and cPPTs). The 5' and 3' termini of these conserved RNA sequence elements are precisely cleaved by RT-associated RNase H to generate specific primers that are used to initiate plus-strand DNA synthesis. In this study, siRNA wad used to produce a replicative HIV-1 variant contained G(-1)A and T(-16)A substitutions within/adjacent to the 3'PPT sequence. Introducing either or both mutations into the 3'PPT region or only the G(-1)A substitution in the cPPT region of NL4-3 produced infectious virus with decreased fitness relative to the wild-type virus. In contrast, introducing the T(-16)A or both mutations into the cPPT rendered the virus(es) incapable of replication, most likely due to the F185L integrase mutation produced by this nucleotide substitution. Finally, the effects of G(-1)A and T(-16)A mutations on cleavage of the 3'PPT were examined using an in vitro RNase H cleavage assay. Substrate containing both mutations was mis-cleaved to a greater extent than either wild-type substrate or substrate containing the T(-16)A mutation alone, which is consistent with the observed effects of the equivalent nucleotide substitutions on the replication fitness of NL4-3 virus. In conclusion, siRNA targeting of the HIV-1 3'PPT region can substantially suppress virus replication, and this selective pressure can be used to generate infectious virus containing mutations within or near the HIV-1 PPT. Moreover, in-depth analysis of the resistance mutations demonstrates that although virus containing a G(-1)A mutation within the 3'PPT is capable of replication, this nucleotide substitution shifts the 3'-terminal cleavage site in the 3'PPT by one nucleotide (nt) and significantly reduces viral fitness.
Project description:The HIV-1 RNA genome contains complex structures with many structural elements playing regulatory roles during viral replication. A recent study has identified multiple RNA structures with unknown functions that are conserved among HIV-1 and two simian immunodeficiency viruses. To explore the roles of these conserved RNA structures, we introduced synonymous mutations into the HIV-1 genome to disrupt each structure. These mutants exhibited similar particle production, viral infectivity, and replication kinetics relative to the parent NL4-3 virus. However, when replicating in direct competition with the wild-type NL4-3 virus, mutations of RNA structures at inter-protein domain junctions can cause fitness defects. These findings reveal the ability of HIV-1 to tolerate changes in its sequences, even in apparently highly conserved structures, which permits high genetic diversity in HIV-1 population. Our results also suggest that some conserved RNA structures may function to fine-tune viral replication.
Project description:RNA secondary structure plays a central role in the replication and metabolism of all RNA viruses, including retroviruses like HIV-1. However, structures with known function represent only a fraction of the secondary structure reported for HIV-1(NL4-3). One tool to assess the importance of RNA structures is to examine their conservation over evolutionary time. To this end, we used SHAPE to model the secondary structure of a second primate lentiviral genome, SIVmac239, which shares only 50% sequence identity at the nucleotide level with HIV-1NL4-3. Only about half of the paired nucleotides are paired in both genomic RNAs and, across the genome, just 71 base pairs form with the same pairing partner in both genomes. On average the RNA secondary structure is thus evolving at a much faster rate than the sequence. Structure at the Gag-Pro-Pol frameshift site is maintained but in a significantly altered form, while the impact of selection for maintaining a protein binding interaction can be seen in the conservation of pairing partners in the small RRE stems where Rev binds. Structures that are conserved between SIVmac239 and HIV-1(NL4-3) also occur at the 5' polyadenylation sequence, in the plus strand primer sites, PPT and cPPT, and in the stem-loop structure that includes the first splice acceptor site. The two genomes are adenosine-rich and cytidine-poor. The structured regions are enriched in guanosines, while unpaired regions are enriched in adenosines, and functionaly important structures have stronger base pairing than nonconserved structures. We conclude that much of the secondary structure is the result of fortuitous pairing in a metastable state that reforms during sequence evolution. However, secondary structure elements with important function are stabilized by higher guanosine content that allows regions of structure to persist as sequence evolution proceeds, and, within the confines of selective pressure, allows structures to evolve.
Project description:UNLABELLED: : BACKGROUND: The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) central DNA Flap is generated during reverse transcription as a result of (+) strand initiation at the central polypurine tract (cPPT) and termination after a ca. 100 bp strand displacement at the central termination sequence (CTS). The central DNA Flap is a determinant of HIV-1 nuclear import, however, neither cPPT nor CTS mutations entirely abolish nuclear import and infection. Therefore, to determine whether or not the DNA Flap is essential for HIV-1 nuclear import, we generated double mutant (DM) viruses, combining cPPT and CTS mutations to abolish DNA Flap formation. RESULTS: The combination of cPPT and CTS mutations reduced the proportion of viruses forming the central DNA Flap at the end of reverse transcription and further decreased virus infectivity in one-cycle titration assays. The most affected DM viruses were unable to establish a spreading infection in the highly permissive MT4 cell line, nor in human primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), indicating that the DNA Flap is required for virus replication. Surprisingly, we found that DM viruses still maintained residual nuclear import levels, amounting to 5-15% of wild-type virus, as assessed by viral DNA circle quantification. Alu-PCR quantification of integrated viral genome also indicated 5-10% residual integration levels compared to wild-type virus. CONCLUSION: This work establishes that the central DNA Flap is required for HIV-1 spreading infection but points to a residual DNA Flap independent nuclear import, whose functional significance remains unclear since it is not sufficient to support viral replication.
Project description:We previously showed that prototype macaque-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) acquired nonsynonymous growth-enhancing mutations within a narrow genomic region during the adaptation process in macaque cells. These adaptive mutations were clustered in the 3' region of the pol gene, encoding a small portion of the C-terminal domain of integrase (IN). Mutations in HIV-1 IN have been reported to have pleiotropic effects on both the early and late phases in viral replication. cis-acting functions in the IN-coding sequence for viral gene expression have also been reported. We here demonstrated that the adaptive mutations promoted viral growth by increasing virion production with no positive effects on the early replication phase. Synonymous codon alterations in one of the adaptive mutations influenced virion production levels, which suggested nucleotide-dependent regulation. Indeed, when the single-nucleotide natural polymorphisms observed in the 3' regions of 196 HIV-1/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVcpz) pol genes (nucleotides [nt] 4895 to 4929 for HIV-1 NL4-3) were introduced into macaque- and human-tropic HIV-1 clones, more than half exhibited altered replication potentials. Moreover, single-nucleotide mutations caused parallel increases or decreases in the expression levels of viral late proteins and viral replication potentials. We also showed that the overall expression profiles of viral mRNAs were markedly changed by single-nucleotide mutations. These results demonstrate that the 3' region of the HIV-1 pol gene (nt 4895 to 4929) can alter viral replication potential by modulating the expression pattern of viral mRNAs in a nucleotide-dependent manner.Viruses have the plasticity to adapt themselves under various constraints. HIV-1 can mutate and evolve in growth-restrictive cells by acquiring adaptive changes in its genome. We have previously identified some growth-enhancing mutations in a narrow region of the IN-coding sequence, in which a number of cis-acting elements are located. We now focus on the virological significance of this pol gene region and the mechanistic basis underlying its effects on viral replication. We have found several naturally occurring synonymous mutations within this region that alter viral replication potentials. The effects caused by these natural single-nucleotide polymorphisms are linked to the definite expression patterns of viral mRNAs. We show here that the nucleotide sequence of the pol gene (nucleotides 4895 to 4929 for HIV-1 NL4-3) plays an important role in HIV-1 replication by modulating viral gene expression.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) variants resistant to protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors may display impaired infectivity and replication capacity. The individual contributions of mutated HIV-1 PR and RT to infectivity, replication, RT activity, and protein maturation (herein referred to as "fitness") in recombinant viruses were investigated by separately cloning PR, RT, and PR-RT cassettes from drug-resistant mutant viral isolates into the wild-type NL4-3 background. Both mutant PR and RT contributed to measurable deficits in fitness of viral constructs. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells, replication rates (means +/- standard deviations) of RT recombinants were 72.5% +/- 27.3% and replication rates of PR recombinants were 60.5% +/- 33.6% of the rates of NL4-3. PR mutant deficits were enhanced in CEM T cells, with relative replication rates of PR recombinants decreasing to 15.8% +/- 23.5% of NL4-3 replication rates. Cloning of the cognate RT improved fitness of some PR mutant clones. For a multidrug-resistant virus transmitted through sexual contact, RT constructs displayed a marked infectivity and replication deficit and diminished packaging of Pol proteins (RT content in virions diminished by 56.3% +/- 10.7%, and integrase content diminished by 23.3% +/- 18.4%), a novel mechanism for a decreased-fitness phenotype. Despite the identified impairment of recombinant clones, fitness of two of the three drug-resistant isolates was comparable to that of wild-type, susceptible viruses, suggestive of extensive compensation by genomic regions away from PR and RT. Only limited reversion of mutated positions to wild-type amino acids was observed for the native isolates over 100 viral replication cycles in the absence of drug selective pressure. These data underscore the complex relationship between PR and RT adaptive changes and viral evolution in antiretroviral drug-resistant HIV-1.
Project description:The initial virus strains from as many as 12% of individuals with primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have a 50% inhibitory concentration </=0.4-fold that of HIV type 1(NL4-3) (HIV-1(NL4-3)) to ritonavir (hypersusceptibility [HS]). There is also substantial variation in replicative capacity (RC) or an in vitro assay of the contributions of protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase to viral fitness. In chronically infected antiretrovirally treated patients, amprenavir HS has been associated with the mutation N88S in PR, but this mutation is not seen in untreated patients. In this study, virus strains from 182 cases of primary HIV infection were analyzed, and a highly significant association between HS and low RC (</=10% that of HIV-1(NL4-3)) was observed (P < 10(-6)). Multivariate analysis was used to determine the genotypic basis of ritonavir HS, analyzing all polymorphic amino acid sites and insertions from p7gag through PR. Decision tree models developed on the entire Gag-plus-PR data set and on PR alone gave overall correct classifications of 73 and 72%, respectively, on cross-validation. They were also able to predict low RC, with sensitivities of 69 and 62% and specificities of 84 and 70%, respectively. The analysis shows that ritonavir HS in untreated primary HIV infection is not associated with single mutations but with combinations of amino acids at polymorphic sites and that the same genotypes which confer HS to PR inhibitors confer low RC. This supports the view that variation in PR function is directly responsible for variation in fitness among strains in primary infection.
Project description:Certain histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles are associated with improved clinical outcomes for individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), but the mechanisms for their effects remain undefined. An early CD8(+) T-cell escape mutation in the dominant HLA-B57-restricted Gag epitope TW10 (TSTLQEQIGW) has been shown to impair HIV-1 replication capacity in vitro. We demonstrate here that this T(242)N substitution in the capsid protein is associated with upstream mutations at residues H(219), I(223), and M(228) in the cyclophilin A (CypA)-binding loop in B57(+) individuals with progressive disease. In an independent cohort of epidemiologically linked transmission pairs, the presence of these substitutions in viruses encoding T(242)N was associated with significantly higher plasma viremia in donors, further suggesting that these secondary mutations compensated for the replication defect of T(242)N. Using NL4-3 constructs, we illustrate the ability of these CypA loop changes to partially restore replication of the T(242)N variant in vitro. Notably, these mutations also enhanced viral resistance to the drug cyclosporine A, indicating a reduced dependence of the compensated virus on CypA that is normally essential for optimal infectivity. Therefore, mutations in TW10 allow HIV-1 to evade a dominant early CD8(+) T-cell response, but the benefits of escape are offset by a defect in capsid function. These data suggest that TW10 escape variants undergo a postentry block that is partially overcome by changes in the CypA-binding loop and identify a mechanism for an HIV-1 fitness defect that may contribute to the slower disease progression associated with HLA-B57.
Project description:The nef gene is important for the pathogenicity associated with simian immunodeficiency virus infection in rhesus monkeys and with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in humans. The mechanisms by which nef contributes to pathogenesis in vivo remain unclear. We investigated the contribution of nef to HIV-1 replication in human lymphoid tissue ex vivo by studying infection with parental HIV-1 strain NL4-3 and with a nef mutant (DeltanefNL4-3). In human tonsillar histocultures, NL4-3 replicated to higher levels than DeltanefNL4-3 did. Increased virus production with NL4-3 infection was associated with increased numbers of productively infected cells and greater loss of CD4(+) T cells over time. While the numbers of productively infected T cells were increased in the presence of nef, the levels of viral expression and production per infected T cell were similar whether the nef gene was present or not. Exogenous interleukin-2 (IL-2) increased HIV-1 production in NL4-3-infected tissue in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, DeltanefNL4-3 production was enhanced only marginally by IL-2. Thus, Nef can facilitate HIV-1 replication in human lymphoid tissue ex vivo by increasing the numbers of productively infected cells and by increasing the responsiveness to IL-2 stimulation.
Project description:The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Vif protein blocks incorporation of two host cell cytidine deaminases, APOBEC3F and 3G, into the budding virion. Not surprisingly, on a vif background nascent minus strand DNA can be extensively edited leaving multiple uracil residues. Editing occurs preferentially in the context of TC (GA on the plus strand) and CC (GG) depending on the enzyme. To explore the distribution of APOBEC3F and -3G editing across the genome, a product/substrate ratio (AA + AG)/(GA + GG) was computed for a series of 30 edited genomes present in the data bases. Two highly polarized gradients were noted each with maxima just 5' to the central polypurine tract (cPPT) and LTR proximal polypurine tract (3'PPT). The gradients are in remarkable agreement with the time the minus strand DNA remains single stranded. In vitro analyses of APOBEC3G deamination of nascent cDNA spanning the two PPTs showed no pronounced dependence on the PPT RNA:DNA heteroduplex ruling out the competing hypothesis of a PPT orientation effect. The degree of hypermutation varied smoothly among genomes indicating that the number of APOBEC3 molecules packaged varied considerably.
Project description:VIRIP has been identified as natural HIV-1 inhibitor targeting the gp41 fusion peptide. An optimized analogue (VIR-576) was effective in a phase I/II clinical trial and initial studies showed that HIV-1 resistance to VIRIP-based inhibitors has a high genetic barrier. Partially resistant CXCR4 (X4)-tropic HIV-1 NL4-3 variants could be obtained, however, after more than 15 months of passaging in MT-4 cells in the presence of another derivative (VIR-353). Sequence analyses identified the accumulation of seven mutations across the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein but outside the gp41 fusion peptide. The authors suggested that the three initial alterations conferred resistance, while subsequent changes restored viral fitness. Here, we introduced these mutations individually and in combination into X4- and CCR5 (R5)-tropic HIV-1 constructs and determined their impact on VIR-353 and VIR-576 susceptibility, viral infectivity, replication fitness, and fusogenicity. We found that essentially all seven mutations contribute to reduced susceptibility to VIRIP-based inhibitors. HIV-1 constructs containing ≥4 changes were substantially more resistant to both VIRIP-based inhibitors and the VRC34.01 antibody targeting the fusion peptide. However, they were also much less infectious and fusogenic than those harboring only the three initial alterations. Furthermore, the additional changes attenuated rather than rescued HIV-1 replication in primary human cells. Thus, the genetic barrier to HIV-1 resistance against VIRIP-based inhibitors is higher than previously suggested, and mutations reducing viral susceptibility come at a severe fitness cost that was not rescued during long-term cell culture passage.IMPORTANCE Many viral pathogens are critically dependent on fusion peptides (FPs) that are inserted into the cellular membrane for infection. Initially, it was thought that FPs cannot be targeted for therapy because they are hardly accessible. However, an optimized derivative (VIR-576) of an endogenous fragment of α1-antitrypsin, named VIRIP, targeting the gp41 FP reduced viral loads in HIV-1-infected individuals. Characterization of HIV-1 variants selected during long-term cell-culture passage in the presence of a VIRIP derivative suggested that just three mutations in the HIV-1 Env protein might be sufficient for VIRIP resistance and that four subsequent changes restored viral fitness. Here, we show that all seven mutations contribute to reduced viral susceptibility to VIRIP-based inhibitors and demonstrate that the additional changes strongly impair rather than rescue HIV-1 infectivity, fusogenicity, and replication fitness. High genetic barrier to resistance and severe fitness cost support further clinical development of this class of antiviral agents.