Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 genomic RNA sequences in the female genital tract and blood: compartmentalization and intrapatient recombination.
ABSTRACT: Investigation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the genital tract of women is crucial to the development of vaccines and therapies. Previous analyses of HIV-1 in various anatomic sites have documented compartmentalization, with viral sequences from each location that were distinct yet phylogenetically related. Full-length RNA genomes derived from different compartments in the same individual, however, have not yet been studied. Furthermore, although there is evidence that intrapatient recombination may occur frequently, recombinants comprising viruses from different sites within one individual have rarely been documented. We compared full-length HIV-1 RNA sequences in the plasma and female genital tract, focusing on a woman with high HIV-1 RNA loads in each compartment who had been infected heterosexually and then transmitted HIV-1 by the same route. We cloned and sequenced 10 full-length HIV-1 RNA genomes from her genital tract and 10 from her plasma. We also compared viral genomes from the genital tract and plasma of four additional heterosexually infected women, sequencing 164 env and gag clones obtained from the two sites. Four of five women, including the one whose complete viral sequences were determined, displayed compartmentalized HIV-1 genomes. Analyses of full-length, compartmentalized sequences made it possible to document complex intrapatient HIV-1 recombinants that were composed of alternating viral sequences characteristic of each site. These findings demonstrate that the genital tract and blood harbor genetically distinct populations of replicating HIV-1 and provide evidence that recombination between strains from the two compartments contributes to rapid evolution of viral sequence variation in infected individuals.
Project description:Worldwide, 90% of HIV-1 infections are transmitted heterosexually. Because the genital mucosa are the sites of initial contact with HIV-1 for most exposed individuals, study of the virus from the genital tract is critical for the development of vaccines and therapeutics. Previous analyses of HIV-1 in various tissues have documented compartmentalization of viral genomes. Whether compartmentalization was associated with viral phenotypic differences or immune status, however, was not well understood. We compared HIV-1 gp120 env sequences from the genital tract and plasma of 12 women. Eight women displayed compartmentalized HIV-1 RNA genomes, with viral sequences from each site that were clearly discrete, yet phylogenetically related. The remaining four exhibited env sequences that were intermingled between the two sites. Women with compartmentalized HIV-1 genomes had higher CD4+ cell counts than those displaying intermingled strains (P = 0.02). Intrapatient HIV-1 recombinants comprising sequences that were characteristic of both sites were identified. We next compared viral phenotypes in each compartment. HIV-1 coreceptor usage was often compartmentalized (P 0.01). The number of N-linked glycosylation sites, associated with neutralization resistance, also differed between compartments (P < 0.01). Furthermore, disparities between the density of gp120 glycosylations in each compartment correlated with higher CD4+ counts (P = 0.03). These data demonstrate that the genital tract and plasma can harbor populations of replicating HIV-1 with different phenotypes. The association of higher CD4+ cell counts with compartmentalization of viral genomes and density of gp120 glycosylations suggests that the immune response influences the development of viral genotypes in each compartment. These findings are relevant to the prevention and control of HIV-1 infection.
Project description:Multidrug-resistant (MDR) HIV-1 presents a challenge to the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART). To examine mechanisms leading to MDR variants in infected individuals, we studied recombination between single viral genomes from the genital tract and plasma of a woman initiating ART. We determined HIV-1 RNA sequences and drug resistance profiles of 159 unique viral variants obtained before ART and semiannually for 4 years thereafter. Soon after initiating zidovudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine, resistant variants and intrapatient HIV-1 recombinants were detected in both compartments; the recombinants had inherited genetic material from both genital and plasma-derived viruses. Twenty-three unique recombinants were documented during 4 years of therapy, comprising ~22% of variants. Most recombinant genomes displayed similar breakpoints and clustered phylogenetically, suggesting evolution from common ancestors. Longitudinal analysis demonstrated that MDR recombinants were common and persistent, demonstrating that recombination, in addition to point mutation, can contribute to the evolution of MDR HIV-1 in viremic individuals.
Project description:Because certain regions of the gag gene, such as p24, are highly conserved among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) isolates, many therapeutic strategies have been directed at gag gene targets. Although intrapatient variation of segments of gag have been determined, little is known about the variability of the full-length gag gene for HIV isolated from a single individual. To evaluate intrapatient full-length gag variability, we derived the nucleotide sequences of at least 10 cDNA gag clones of virion RNA isolated from plasma for each of four asymptomatic HIV type 1-infected patients with relatively high CD4+ T-cell counts (300 to 450 cells per mm3). Mean values of intrapatient gag nucleotide variation obtained by pairwise comparisons ranged from 0.55 to 2.86%. For three subjects, this value was equivalent to that reported for intrapatient full-length env variation. The greatest range of intrapatient mean nucleotide variation for individual protein-coding regions was observed for p7. We did not detect any G-to-A hypermutation, as A-to-G and G-to-A transitions occurred at similar frequencies, accounting for 29 and 25%, respectively, of the changes. Mean variation values and phylogenetic analysis suggested that the extent of nucleotide variation correlated with the length of viral infection. Furthermore, no distinct subpopulations of quasispecies were detectable within an individual. The predicted amino acid sequences indicated that there were no regions within a gag protein that were comprised of clustered changes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Compartmentalization of HIV-1 between the genital tract and blood was noted in half of 57 women included in 12 studies primarily using cell-free virus. To further understand differences between genital tract and blood viruses of women with chronic HIV-1 infection cell-free and cell-associated virus populations were sequenced from these tissues, reasoning that integrated viral DNA includes variants archived from earlier in infection, and provides a greater array of genotypes for comparisons. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Multiple sequences from single-genome-amplification of HIV-1 RNA and DNA from the genital tract and blood of each woman were compared in a cross-sectional study. Maximum likelihood phylogenies were evaluated for evidence of compartmentalization using four statistical tests. Genital tract and blood HIV-1 appears compartmentalized in 7/13 women by >/=2 statistical analyses. These subjects' phylograms were characterized by low diversity genital-specific viral clades interspersed between clades containing both genital and blood sequences. Many of the genital-specific clades contained monotypic HIV-1 sequences. In 2/7 women, HIV-1 populations were significantly compartmentalized across all four statistical tests; both had low diversity genital tract-only clades. Collapsing monotypic variants into a single sequence diminished the prevalence and extent of compartmentalization. Viral sequences did not demonstrate tissue-specific signature amino acid residues, differential immune selection, or co-receptor usage. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:In women with chronic HIV-1 infection multiple identical sequences suggest proliferation of HIV-1-infected cells, and low diversity tissue-specific phylogenetic clades are consistent with bursts of viral replication. These monotypic and tissue-specific viruses provide statistical support for compartmentalization of HIV-1 between the female genital tract and blood. However, the intermingling of these clades with clades comprised of both genital and blood sequences and the absence of tissue-specific genetic features suggests compartmentalization between blood and genital tract may be due to viral replication and proliferation of infected cells, and questions whether HIV-1 in the female genital tract is distinct from blood.
Project description:Whether unique human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV) genotypes occur in the genital tract is important for vaccine development and management of drug resistant viruses. Multiple cross-sectional studies suggest HIV is compartmentalized within the female genital tract. We hypothesize that bursts of HIV replication and/or proliferation of infected cells captured in cross-sectional analyses drive compartmentalization but over time genital-specific viral lineages do not form; rather viruses mix between genital tract and blood.Eight women with ongoing HIV replication were studied during a period of 1.5 to 4.5 years. Multiple viral sequences were derived by single-genome amplification of the HIV C2-V5 region of env from genital secretions and blood plasma. Maximum likelihood phylogenies were evaluated for compartmentalization using 4 statistical tests.In cross-sectional analyses compartmentalization of genital from blood viruses was detected in three of eight women by all tests; this was associated with tissue specific clades containing multiple monotypic sequences. In longitudinal analysis, the tissues-specific clades did not persist to form viral lineages. Rather, across women, HIV lineages were comprised of both genital tract and blood sequences.The observation of genital-specific HIV clades only in cross-sectional analysis and an absence of genital-specific lineages in longitudinal analyses suggest a dynamic interchange of HIV variants between the female genital tract and blood.
Project description:Liver disease is now a major cause of morbidity and mortality among persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). An increasing body of evidence suggests that HIV infection is associated with exacerbated liver fibrosis and that HIV has the ability to infect several hepatic cell types. Despite the recognized existence of genetically distinct subpopulations of HIV in the central nervous system and genital tract, viral diversity and compartmentalization in the liver have not been explored extensively. Therefore, phylogenetic analysis was performed on full-length env and nef sequences for four patients. Distinct clustering of viral variants was observed for all patients in both areas of the genome. Statistical evidence of HIV compartmentalization in the liver was demonstrated in 85.4% of comparisons. Signature sequence analysis identified several liver-specific amino acids in all patients. Thus, the current study demonstrates statistically significant evidence for HIV compartmentalization in the liver. Additionally, these data suggest that the hepatic microenvironment harbors unique selective pressures that drive viral adaptation.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the male genital tract may comprise virus produced locally in addition to virus transported from the circulation. Virus produced in the male genital tract may be genetically distinct, due to tissue-specific cellular characteristics and immunological pressures. HIV-1 env sequences derived from paired blood and semen samples from the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database were analyzed to ascertain a male genital tract-specific viral signature. Machine learning algorithms could predict seminal tropism based on env sequences with accuracies exceeding 90%, suggesting that a strong genetic signature does exist for virus replicating in the male genital tract. Additionally, semen-derived viral populations exhibited constrained diversity (P < 0.05), decreased levels of positive selection (P < 0.025), decreased CXCR4 coreceptor utilization, and altered glycosylation patterns. Our analysis suggests that the male genital tract represents a distinct selective environment that contributes to the apparent genetic bottlenecks associated with the sexual transmission of HIV-1.
Project description:Concurrent sexually transmitted infections (STI) can increase the probability of HIV-1 transmission primarily by increasing the viral load present in semen. In this study, we explored the relationship of HIV-1 in blood and seminal plasma in the presence and absence of urethritis and after treatment of the concurrent STI. Primer ID deep sequencing of the V1/V3 region of the HIV-1 <i>env</i> gene was done for paired blood and semen samples from antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive men living in Malawi with (<i>n</i>?=?19) and without (<i>n</i>?=?5) STI-associated urethritis; for a subset of samples, full-length <i>env</i> genes were generated for sequence analysis and to test entry phenotype. Cytokine concentrations in the blood and semen were also measured, and a reduction in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines was observed following STI treatment. We observed no difference in the prevalence of diverse compartmentalized semen-derived lineages in men with or without STI-associated urethritis, and these viral populations were largely stable during STI treatment. Clonal amplification of one or a few viral sequences accounted for nearly 50% of the viral population, indicating a recent bottleneck followed by limited viral replication. We conclude that the male genital tract is a site where virus can be brought in from the blood, where localized sustained replication can occur, and where specific genotypes can be amplified, perhaps initially by cellular proliferation but further by limited viral replication.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> HIV-1 infection is a sexually transmitted infection that coexists with other STI. Here, we examined the impact of a concurrent STI resulting in urethritis on the HIV-1 population within the male genital tract. We found that viral populations remain largely stable even with treatment of the STI. These results show that viral populations within the male genital tract are defined by factors beyond transient inflammation associated with a concurrent STI.
Project description:To better understand the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the genetic characteristics of blood and genital viruses from males were compared to those of the imputed founding virus population in their female partners. Initially serodiscordant heterosexual African couples with sequence-confirmed male-to-female HIV-1 transmission and blood and genital specimens collected near the time of transmission were studied. Single viral templates from blood plasma and genital tract RNA and DNA were sequenced across HIV-1 env gp160. Eight of 29 couples examined yielded viral sequences from both tissues. Analysis of these couples' sequences demonstrated, with one exception, that the women's founding viral populations arose from a single viral variant and were CCR5 tropic, even though CXCR4 variants were detected within four males. The median genetic distance of the imputed most recent common ancestor of the women's founder viruses showed that they were closer to the semen viruses than to the blood viruses of their transmitting male partner, but this finding was biased by detection of a greater number of viral clades in the blood. Using multiple assays, the blood and genital viruses were consistently found to be compartmentalized in only two of eight men. No distinct amino acid signatures in the men's viruses were found to link to the women's founders, nor did the women's env sequences have shorter variable loops or fewer N-linked glycosylation sites. The lack of selective factors, except for coreceptor tropism, is consistent with others' findings in male-to-female and high-risk transmissions. The infrequent compartmentalization between the transmitters' blood and semen viruses suggests that cell-free blood virus likely includes HIV-1 sequences representative of those of viruses in semen.IMPORTANCE Mucosal transmissions account for the majority of HIV-1 infections. Identification of the viral characteristics associated with transmission would facilitate vaccine design. This study of HIV strains from transmitting males and their seroconverting female partners found that the males' genital tract viruses were rarely distinct from the blood variants. The imputed founder viruses in women were genetically similar to both the blood and genital tract variants of their male partners, indicating a lack of evidence for genital tract-specific lineages. These findings suggest that targeting vaccine responses to variants found in blood are likely to also protect from genital tract variants.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is characterized by persistent replication of a complex mixture of viruses termed a "quasispecies." Transmission is generally associated with a stringent population bottleneck characterized by infection by limited numbers of "transmitted/founder" (T/F) viruses. Characterization of T/F genomes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has been integral to studies of transmission, immunopathogenesis, and vaccine development. Here, we describe the identification of complete T/F genomes of HCV by single-genome sequencing of plasma viral RNA from acutely infected subjects. A total of 2,739 single-genome-derived amplicons comprising 10,966,507 bp from 18 acute-phase and 11 chronically infected subjects were analyzed. Acute-phase sequences diversified essentially randomly, except for the poly(U/UC) tract, which was subject to polymerase slippage. Fourteen acute-phase subjects were productively infected by more than one genetically distinct virus, permitting assessment of recombination between replicating genomes. No evidence of recombination was found among 1,589 sequences analyzed. Envelope sequences of T/F genomes lacked transmission signatures that could distinguish them from chronic infection viruses. Among chronically infected subjects, higher nucleotide substitution rates were observed in the poly(U/UC) tract than in envelope hypervariable region 1. Fourteen full-length molecular clones with variable poly(U/UC) sequences corresponding to seven genotype 1a, 1b, 3a, and 4a T/F viruses were generated. Like most unadapted HCV clones, T/F genomes did not replicate efficiently in Huh 7.5 cells, indicating that additional cellular factors or viral adaptations are necessary for in vitro replication. Full-length T/F HCV genomes and their progeny provide unique insights into virus transmission, virus evolution, and virus-host interactions associated with immunopathogenesis. IMPORTANCE:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects 2% to 3% of the world's population and exhibits extraordinary genetic diversity. This diversity is mirrored by HIV-1, where characterization of transmitted/founder (T/F) genomes has been instrumental in studies of virus transmission, immunopathogenesis, and vaccine development. Here, we show that despite major differences in genome organization, replication strategy, and natural history, HCV (like HIV-1) diversifies essentially randomly early in infection, and as a consequence, sequences of actual T/F viruses can be identified. This allowed us to capture by molecular cloning the full-length HCV genomes that are responsible for infecting the first hepatocytes and eliciting the initial immune responses, weeks before these events could be directly analyzed in human subjects. These findings represent an enabling experimental strategy, not only for HCV and HIV-1 research, but also for other RNA viruses of medical importance, including West Nile, chikungunya, dengue, Venezuelan encephalitis, and Ebola viruses.