Initiation of antiretroviral therapy during the earliest stages of HIV-1 infection may limit the seeding of a long-lasting viral reservoir, but long-term effects of early antiretroviral treatment initiation remain unknown. Here, we analyzed immunological and virological characteristics of nine patients who started antiretroviral therapy at primary HIV-1 infection and remained on suppressive treatment for >10 years; patients with similar treatment duration but initiation of suppressive therapy during chronic HIV-1 infection served as controls. We observed that independently of the timing of treatment initiation, HIV-1 DNA in CD4 T cells decayed primarily during the initial 3 to 4 years of treatment. However, in patients who started antiretroviral therapy in early infection, this decay occurred faster and was more pronounced, leading to substantially lower levels of cell-associated HIV-1 DNA after long-term treatment. Despite this smaller size, the viral CD4 T cell reservoir in persons with early treatment initiation consisted more dominantly of the long-lasting central-memory and T memory stem cells. HIV-1-specific T cell responses remained continuously detectable during antiretroviral therapy, independently of the timing of treatment initiation. Together, these data suggest that early HIV-1 treatment initiation, even when continued for >10 years, is unlikely to lead to viral eradication, but the presence of low viral reservoirs and durable HIV-1 T cell responses may make such patients good candidates for future interventional studies aiming at HIV-1 eradication and cure.
The study of HIV-1 rapid progressors has been limited to specific case reports. Nevertheless, identification and characterization of the viral and host factors involved in rapid progression are crucial when attempting to uncover the correlates of rapid disease outcome.
Multiple genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been performed in HIV-1 infected individuals, identifying common genetic influences on viral control and disease course. Similarly, common genetic correlates of acquisition of HIV-1 after exposure have been interrogated using GWAS, although in generally small samples. Under the auspices of the International Collaboration for the Genomics of HIV, we have combined the genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data collected by 25 cohorts, studies, or institutions on HIV-1 infected individuals and compared them to carefully matched population-level data sets (a list of all collaborators appears in Note S1 in Text S1). After imputation using the 1,000 Genomes Project reference panel, we tested approximately 8 million common DNA variants (SNPs and indels) for association with HIV-1 acquisition in 6,334 infected patients and 7,247 population samples of European ancestry. Initial association testing identified the SNP rs4418214, the C allele of which is known to tag the HLA-B*57:01 and B*27:05 alleles, as genome-wide significant (p = 3.6 × 10(-11)). However, restricting analysis to individuals with a known date of seroconversion suggested that this association was due to the frailty bias in studies of lethal diseases. Further analyses including testing recessive genetic models, testing for bulk effects of non-genome-wide significant variants, stratifying by sexual or parenteral transmission risk and testing previously reported associations showed no evidence for genetic influence on HIV-1 acquisition (with the exception of CCR5?32 homozygosity). Thus, these data suggest that genetic influences on HIV acquisition are either rare or have smaller effects than can be detected by this sample size.
Human genetic variation contributes to differences in susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. To search for novel host resistance factors, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in hemophilia patients highly exposed to potentially contaminated factor VIII infusions. Individuals with hemophilia A and a documented history of factor VIII infusions before the introduction of viral inactivation procedures (1979-1984) were recruited from 36 hemophilia treatment centers (HTCs), and their genome-wide genetic variants were compared with those from matched HIV-infected individuals. Homozygous carriers of known CCR5 resistance mutations were excluded. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and inferred copy number variants (CNVs) were tested using logistic regression. In addition, we performed a pathway enrichment analysis, a heritability analysis, and a search for epistatic interactions with CCR5 ?32 heterozygosity. A total of 560 HIV-uninfected cases were recruited: 36 (6.4%) were homozygous for CCR5 ?32 or m303. After quality control and SNP imputation, we tested 1 081 435 SNPs and 3686 CNVs for association with HIV-1 serostatus in 431 cases and 765 HIV-infected controls. No SNP or CNV reached genome-wide significance. The additional analyses did not reveal any strong genetic effect. Highly exposed, yet uninfected hemophiliacs form an ideal study group to investigate host resistance factors. Using a genome-wide approach, we did not detect any significant associations between SNPs and HIV-1 susceptibility, indicating that common genetic variants of major effect are unlikely to explain the observed resistance phenotype in this population.
Increased lymphocyte death is a hallmark of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Although virological factors have been linked to this phenomenon, increased cell death rates are still observed in treated individuals in which viral replication is halted. To understand the nature of this remaining altered cell death, we have developed a simple and fast assay to assess major cell death pathways in lymphocytes isolated from HIV-infected individuals. The combination of three factors: (i) antibody staining to identify CD3(+) CD4(+) and CD3(+) CD8(+) cells, (ii) assessment of mitochondrial and plasma membrane function using DiOC6(3) or JC-1 probes and vital dyes, and (iii) caspase inhibition, allowed for the quantification of caspase-independent and -dependent cell death in CD4 and CD8 T cells. The latter mechanism was divided in intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways according to the sensitivity of the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential to Z-VAD-fmk or Q-VD-oPH treatment. Our data show similar results for both caspase inhibitors in treated infected individuals, whereas Q-VD-oPH showed a more potent inhibition in viremic individuals, yielding lower levels of intrinsic apoptosis. Comparison of DiOC6(3) and JC-1 probes yielded similar results in CD4 T cells, allowing for a clear definition of death mechanism in these cells. However, in CD8 T-cells, JC-1 showed heterogeneous staining and detected significantly lower levels of cell death with a higher contribution of intrinsic apoptosis. In conclusion, we provide a simple method to assess CD4 T-cell death mechanisms in HIV-infected individuals. The reasons and consequences of mitochondrial heterogeneity in CD8 T-cells require further evaluation.
HIV-1 sequence diversity is affected by selection pressures arising from host genomic factors. Using paired human and viral data from 1071 individuals, we ran >3000 genome-wide scans, testing for associations between host DNA polymorphisms, HIV-1 sequence variation and plasma viral load (VL), while considering human and viral population structure. We observed significant human SNP associations to a total of 48 HIV-1 amino acid variants (p<2.4 × 10(-12)). All associated SNPs mapped to the HLA class I region. Clinical relevance of host and pathogen variation was assessed using VL results. We identified two critical advantages to the use of viral variation for identifying host factors: (1) association signals are much stronger for HIV-1 sequence variants than VL, reflecting the intermediate phenotype nature of viral variation; (2) association testing can be run without any clinical data. The proposed genome-to-genome approach highlights sites of genomic conflict and is a strategy generally applicable to studies of host-pathogen interaction. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01123.001.
Technically, HIV-1 tropism can be evaluated in plasma or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). However, only tropism testing of plasma HIV-1 has been validated as a tool to predict virological response to CCR5 antagonists in clinical trials. The preferable tropism testing strategy in subjects with undetectable HIV-1 viremia, in whom plasma tropism testing is not feasible, remains uncertain.
This study provides a detailed description and characterization of the preparation of individualized lots of autologous heat inactivated HIV-1 virions used as immunogen in a clinical trial designed to test an autologous dendritic-cell-based therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine (Clinical Trial DCV-2, NCT00402142). For each participant, ex vivo isolation and expansion of primary virus were performed by co-culturing CD4-enriched PBMCs from the HIV-1-infected patient with PBMC from HIV-seronegative unrelated healthy volunteer donors. The viral supernatants were heat-inactivated and concentrated to obtain 1 mL of autologous immunogen, which was used to load autologous dendritic cells of each patient. High sequence homology was found between the inactivated virus immunogen and the HIV-1 circulating in plasma at the time of HIV-1 isolation. Immunogens contained up to 10? HIV-1 RNA copies/mL showed considerably reduced infectivity after heat inactivation (median of 5.6 log??), and were free of specified adventitious agents. The production of individualized lots of immunogen based on autologous inactivated HIV-1 virus fulfilling clinical-grade good manufacturing practice proved to be feasible, consistent with predetermined specifications, and safe for use in a clinical trial designed to test autologous dendritic cell-based therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine.
In order to design strategies for eradication of HIV-1 from infected individuals, detailed insight into the HIV-1 reservoirs that persist in patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) is required. In this regard, most studies have focused on integrated (proviral) HIV-1 DNA forms in cells circulating in blood. However, the majority of proviral DNA is replication-defective and archival, and as such, has limited ability to reveal the dynamics of the viral population that persists in patients on suppressive ART. In contrast, extrachromosomal (episomal) viral DNA is labile and as a consequence is a better surrogate for recent infection events and is able to inform on the extent to which residual replication contributes to viral reservoir maintenance. To gain insight into the diversity and compartmentalization of HIV-1 under suppressive ART, we extensively analyzed longitudinal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) samples by deep sequencing of episomal and integrated HIV-1 DNA from patients undergoing raltegravir intensification. Reverse-transcriptase genes selectively amplified from episomal and proviral HIV-1 DNA were analyzed by deep sequencing 0, 2, 4, 12, 24 and 48 weeks after raltegravir intensification. We used maximum likelihood phylogenies and statistical tests (AMOVA and Slatkin-Maddison (SM)) in order to determine molecular compartmentalization. We observed low molecular variance (mean variability ?0.042). Although phylogenies showed that both DNA forms were intermingled within the phylogenetic tree, we found a statistically significant compartmentalization between episomal and proviral DNA samples (P<10(-6) AMOVA test; P?=?0.001 SM test), suggesting that they belong to different viral populations. In addition, longitudinal analysis of episomal and proviral DNA by phylogeny and AMOVA showed signs of non-chronological temporal compartmentalization (all comparisons P<10(-6)) suggesting that episomal and proviral DNA forms originated from different anatomical compartments. Collectively, this suggests the presence of a chronic viral reservoir in which there is stochastic release of infectious virus and in which there are limited rounds of de novo infection. This could be explained by the existence of different reservoirs with unique pharmacological accessibility properties, which will require strategies that improve drug penetration/retention within these reservoirs in order to minimise maintenance of the viral reservoir by de novo infection.
Studies on drug interruption have provided new insights on the adaptive evolution of rebounding HIV-1 during antiretroviral pressure. We investigated the origin of new viral variants after discontinuation of protease (PR) inhibitors as a treatment remained exclusively based on reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and whether drug susceptibility, viral fitness, and neutralizing antibodies could be major driving forces for the evolution of virus populations.
High levels of HIV-1 replication during the chronic phase of infection usually correlate with rapid progression to severe immunodeficiency. However, a minority of highly viremic individuals remains asymptomatic and maintains high CD4? T cell counts. This tolerant profile is poorly understood and reminiscent of the widely studied nonprogressive disease model of SIV infection in natural hosts. Here, we identify transcriptome differences between rapid progressors (RPs) and viremic nonprogressors (VNPs) and highlight several genes relevant for the understanding of HIV-1-induced immunosuppression. RPs were characterized by a specific transcriptome profile of CD4? and CD8? T cells similar to that observed in pathogenic SIV-infected rhesus macaques. In contrast, VNPs exhibited lower expression of interferon-stimulated genes and shared a common gene regulation profile with nonpathogenic SIV-infected sooty mangabeys. A short list of genes associated with VNP, including CASP1, CD38, LAG3, TNFSF13B, SOCS1, and EEF1D, showed significant correlation with time to disease progression when evaluated in an independent set of CD4? T cell expression data. This work characterizes 2 minimally studied clinical patterns of progression to AIDS, whose analysis may inform our understanding of HIV pathogenesis.
A double-blinded, controlled study of vaccination of untreated patients with chronic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection with 3 doses of autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MD-DCs) pulsed with heat inactivated autologous HIV-1 was performed. Therapeutic vaccinations were feasible, safe, and well tolerated. At week 24 after first vaccination (primary end point), a modest significant decrease in plasma viral load was observed in vaccine recipients, compared with control subjects (P = .03). In addition, the change in plasma viral load after vaccination tended to be inversely associated with the increase in HIV-specific T cell responses in vaccinated patients but tended to be directly correlated with HIV-specific T cell responses in control subjects.
To extend the understanding of host genetic determinants of HIV-1 control, we performed a genome-wide association study in a cohort of 2,554 infected Caucasian subjects. The study was powered to detect common genetic variants explaining down to 1.3% of the variability in viral load at set point. We provide overwhelming confirmation of three associations previously reported in a genome-wide study and show further independent effects of both common and rare variants in the Major Histocompatibility Complex region (MHC). We also examined the polymorphisms reported in previous candidate gene studies and fail to support a role for any variant outside of the MHC or the chemokine receptor cluster on chromosome 3. In addition, we evaluated functional variants, copy-number polymorphisms, epistatic interactions, and biological pathways. This study thus represents a comprehensive assessment of common human genetic variation in HIV-1 control in Caucasians.
During acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, high viral loads and the induction of host immune responses typically coincide with the onset of clinical symptoms. However, clinically severe presentations during acute HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection, including AIDS-defining symptoms, are unusual.
The use of in vitro models to unravel the phenotypic characteristics of circulating viral variants is key to understanding HIV-1 pathogenesis but limited by the availability of primary viral isolates from biological samples. However, overall in vivo genetic variability of HIV-1 within a subject may not be reflected in the viable viral population obtained after isolation. Although several studies have tried to determine whether viral populations expanded in vitro are representative of in vivo findings, the answer remains unclear due to the reduced number of clonal sequences analyzed or samples compared. In order to overcome previous experimental limitations, here we applied Deep Pyrosequencing (DPS) technology in combination with phenotypic experiments to analyze and compare with unprecedented detail the composition of viral isolates and in vivo quasispecies.
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