Neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) are a high priority for vaccines that aim to prevent the acquisition of HIV-1 infection. Vaccine effectiveness will depend on the extent to which induced antibodies neutralize the global diversity of circulating HIV-1 variants. Using large panels of genetically and geographically diverse HIV-1 Env-pseudotyped viruses and chronic infection plasma samples, we unambiguously show that cross-clade nAb responses are commonly induced in response to infection by any virus clade. Nonetheless, neutralization was significantly greater when the plasma clade matched the clade of the virus being tested. This within-clade advantage was diminished in older, more-diverse epidemics in southern Africa, the United States, and Europe compared to more recent epidemics in Asia. It was most pronounced for circulating recombinant form (CRF) 07_BC, which is common in China and is the least-divergent lineage studied; this was followed by the slightly more diverse Asian CRF01_AE. We found no evidence that transmitted/founder viruses are generally more susceptible to neutralization and are therefore easier targets for vaccination than chronic viruses. Features of the gp120 V1V2 loop, in particular, length, net charge, and number of N-linked glycans, were associated with Env susceptibility and plasma neutralization potency in a manner consistent with neutralization escape being a force that drives viral diversification and plasma neutralization breadth. The overall susceptibility of Envs and potencies of plasma samples were highly predictive of the neutralization outcome of any single virus-plasma combination. These findings highlight important considerations for the design and testing of candidate HIV-1 vaccines that aim to elicit effective nAbs.
We report on the first lattice calculation of the QCD phase transition using chiral fermions with physical quark masses. This calculation uses 2+1 quark flavors, spatial volumes between (4 fm)(3) and (11 fm)(3) and temperatures between 139 and 196 MeV. Each temperature is calculated at a single lattice spacing corresponding to a temporal Euclidean extent of N(t) = 8. The disconnected chiral susceptibility, ?(disc) shows a pronounced peak whose position and height depend sensitively on the quark mass. We find no metastability near the peak and a peak height which does not change when a 5 fm spatial extent is increased to 10 fm. Each result is strong evidence that the QCD "phase transition" is not first order but a continuous crossover for m(?) = 135 MeV. The peak location determines a pseudocritical temperature T(c) = 155(1)(8) MeV, in agreement with earlier staggered fermion results. However, the peak height is 50% greater than that suggested by previous staggered results. Chiral SU(2)(L) × SU(2)(R) symmetry is fully restored above 164 MeV, but anomalous U(1)(A) symmetry breaking is nonzero above T(c) and vanishes as T is increased to 196 MeV.
Human APOBEC3 proteins are cytidine deaminases that contribute broadly to innate immunity through the control of exogenous retrovirus replication and endogenous retroelement retrotransposition. As an intrinsic antiretroviral defense mechanism, APOBEC3 proteins induce extensive guanosine-to-adenosine (G-to-A) mutagenesis and inhibit synthesis of nascent human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) cDNA. Human APOBEC3 proteins have additionally been proposed to induce infrequent, potentially non-lethal G-to-A mutations that make subtle contributions to sequence diversification of the viral genome and adaptation though acquisition of beneficial mutations. Using single-cycle HIV-1 infections in culture and highly parallel DNA sequencing, we defined trinucleotide contexts of the edited sites for APOBEC3D, APOBEC3F, APOBEC3G, and APOBEC3H. We then compared these APOBEC3 editing contexts with the patterns of G-to-A mutations in HIV-1 DNA in cells obtained sequentially from ten patients with primary HIV-1 infection. Viral substitutions were highest in the preferred trinucleotide contexts of the edited sites for the APOBEC3 deaminases. Consistent with the effects of immune selection, amino acid changes accumulated at the APOBEC3 editing contexts located within human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-appropriate epitopes that are known or predicted to enable peptide binding. Thus, APOBEC3 activity may induce mutations that influence the genetic diversity and adaptation of the HIV-1 population in natural infection.
BackgroundFitness costs and slower disease progression are associated with a cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutation T242N in Gag in HIV-1-infected individuals carrying HLA-B*57/5801 alleles. However, the impact of different context in diverse HIV-1 strains on the fitness costs due to the T242N mutation has not been well characterized. To better understand the extent of fitness costs of the T242N mutation and the repair of fitness loss through compensatory amino acids, we investigated its fitness impact in different transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses.ResultsThe T242N mutation resulted in various levels of fitness loss in four different T/F viruses. However, the fitness costs were significantly compromised by preexisting compensatory amino acids in (Isoleucine at position 247) or outside (glutamine at position 219) the CTL epitope. Moreover, the transmitted T242N escape mutant in subject CH131 was as fit as the revertant N242T mutant and the elimination of the compensatory amino acid I247 in the T/F viral genome resulted in significant fitness cost, suggesting the fitness loss caused by the T242N mutation had been fully repaired in the donor at transmission. Analysis of the global circulating HIV-1 sequences in the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database showed a high prevalence of compensatory amino acids for the T242N mutation and other T cell escape mutations.ConclusionsOur results show that the preexisting compensatory amino acids in the majority of circulating HIV-1 strains could significantly compromise the fitness loss due to CTL escape mutations and thus increase challenges for T cell based vaccines.
Immune escape mutations that revert back to the consensus sequence frequently occur in newly HIV-1-infected individuals and have been thought to render the viruses more fit. However, their impact on viral fitness and their interaction with other immune escape mutations have not been evaluated in the background of their cognate transmitted/founder (T/F) viral genomes. To precisely determine the role of reversion mutations, we introduced reversion mutations alone or together with CD8+ T cell escape mutations in their unmodified cognate T/F viral genome and determined their impact on viral fitness in primary CD4+ T cells. Two reversion mutations, V247I and I64T, were identified in Gag and Tat, respectively, but neither had measurable effect on the fitness of their cognate T/F virus. The V247I and G248A mutations that were detected before and concurrently with the potent T cell escape mutation T242N, respectively, were selected by early T cell responses. The V247I or the G248A mutation alone partially restored the fitness loss caused by the T242N mutation. Together they could fully restore the fitness of the T242N mutant to the T/F level. These results demonstrate that the fitness loss caused by a T cell escape mutation could be compensated by preexisting or concurrent reversion and other T cell escape mutations. Our findings indicate that the overall viral fitness is modulated by the complex interplay among T cell escape, compensatory and reversion mutations to maintain the balance between immune escape and viral replication capacity.
Trials of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) pre- and postexposure prophylaxis show promise. Here, we describe a novel strategy for deciphering mechanisms of prophylaxis failure that could improve therapeutic outcomes. A healthcare worker began antiretroviral prophylaxis immediately after a high-risk needlestick injury but nonetheless became viremic 11 weeks later. Single-genome sequencing of plasma viral RNA identified 15 drug susceptible transmitted/founder HIV genomes responsible for productive infection. Sequences emanating from these genomes exhibited extremely low diversity, suggesting virus sequestration as opposed to low-level replication as the cause of breakthrough infection. Identification of transmitted/founder viruses allows for genome-wide assessment of molecular mechanisms of prophylaxis failure.
The study of evolution has entered a revolutionary new era, where quantitative and predictive methods are transforming the traditionally qualitative and retrospective approaches of the past. Genomic sequencing and modern computational techniques are permitting quantitative comparisons between variation in the natural world and predictions rooted in neo-Darwinian theory, revealing the shortcomings of current evolutionary theory, particularly with regard to large-scale phenomena like macroevolution. Current research spanning and uniting diverse fields and exploring the physical and chemical nature of organisms across temporal, spatial, and organizational scales is replacing the model of evolution as a passive filter selecting for random changes at the nucleotide level with a paradigm in which evolution is a dynamic process both constrained and driven by the informational architecture of organisms across scales, from DNA and chromatin regulation to interactions within and between species and the environment.
Previously we proposed two simplified models of early HIV-1 evolution. Both showed that under a model of neutral evolution and exponential growth, the mean Hamming distance (HD) between genetic sequences grows linearly with time. In this paper we describe a more realistic continuous-time, age-dependent mathematical model of infection and viral replication, and show through simulations that even in this more complex description, the mean Hamming distance grows linearly with time. This remains unchanged when we introduce recombination, though the confidence intervals of the mean HD obtained ignoring recombination are overly conservative.
The predominant mode of HIV-1 infection is heterosexual transmission, where a genetic bottleneck is imposed on the virus quasispecies. To probe whether limited genetic diversity in the genital tract (GT) of the transmitting partner drives this bottleneck, viral envelope sequences from the blood and genital fluids of eight transmission pairs from Rwanda and Zambia were analyzed. The chronically infected transmitting partners virus population was heterogeneous with distinct genital subpopulations, and the virus populations within the GT of two of four women sampled longitudinally exhibited evidence of stability over time intervals on the order of weeks to months. Surprisingly, the transmitted founder variant was not derived from the predominant GT subpopulations. Rather, in each case, the transmitting variant was phylogenetically distinct from the sampled locally replicating population. Although the exact distribution of the virus population present in the GT at the time of transmission cannot be unambiguously defined in these human studies, it is unlikely, based on these data, that the transmission bottleneck is driven in every case by limited viral diversity in the donor GT or that HIV transmission is solely a stochastic event.
Here we have identified HIV-1 B clade Envelope (Env) amino acid signatures from early in infection that may be favored at transmission, as well as patterns of recurrent mutation in chronic infection that may reflect common pathways of immune evasion. To accomplish this, we compared thousands of sequences derived by single genome amplification from several hundred individuals that were sampled either early in infection or were chronically infected. Samples were divided at the outset into hypothesis-forming and validation sets, and we used phylogenetically corrected statistical strategies to identify signatures, systematically scanning all of Env. Signatures included single amino acids, glycosylation motifs, and multi-site patterns based on functional or structural groupings of amino acids. We identified signatures near the CCR5 co-receptor-binding region, near the CD4 binding site, and in the signal peptide and cytoplasmic domain, which may influence Env expression and processing. Two signatures patterns associated with transmission were particularly interesting. The first was the most statistically robust signature, located in position 12 in the signal peptide. The second was the loss of an N-linked glycosylation site at positions 413-415; the presence of this site has been recently found to be associated with escape from potent and broad neutralizing antibodies, consistent with enabling a common pathway for immune escape during chronic infection. Its recurrent loss in early infection suggests it may impact fitness at the time of transmission or during early viral expansion. The signature patterns we identified implicate Env expression levels in selection at viral transmission or in early expansion, and suggest that immune evasion patterns that recur in many individuals during chronic infection when antibodies are present can be selected against when the infection is being established prior to the adaptive immune response.
Mucosal transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) results in a bottleneck in viral genetic diversity. Gnanakaran and colleagues used a computational strategy to identify signature amino acids at particular positions in Envelope that were associated either with transmitted sequences sampled very early in infection, or sequences sampled during chronic infection. Among the strongest signatures observed was an enrichment for the stable presence of histidine at position 12 at transmission and in early infection, and a recurrent loss of histidine at position 12 in chronic infection. This amino acid lies within the leader peptide of Envelope, a region of the protein that has been shown to influence envelope glycoprotein expression and virion infectivity. We show a strong association between a positively charged amino acid like histidine at position 12 in transmitted/founder viruses with more efficient trafficking of the nascent envelope polypeptide to the endoplasmic reticulum and higher steady-state glycoprotein expression compared to viruses that have a non-basic position 12 residue, a substitution that was enriched among viruses sampled from chronically infected individuals. When expressed in the context of other viral proteins, transmitted envelopes with a basic amino acid position 12 were incorporated at higher density into the virus and exhibited higher infectious titers than did non-signature envelopes. These results support the potential utility of using a computational approach to examine large viral sequence data sets for functional signatures and indicate the importance of Envelope expression levels for efficient HIV transmission.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) evade containment by CD8(+) T lymphocytes through focused epitope mutations. However, because of limitations in the numbers of viral sequences that can be sampled, traditional sequencing technologies have not provided a true representation of the plasticity of these viruses or the intensity of CD8(+) T lymphocyte-mediated selection pressure. Moreover, the strategy by which CD8(+) T lymphocytes contain evolving viral quasispecies has not been characterized fully. In the present study we have employed ultradeep 454 pyrosequencing of virus and simultaneous staining of CD8(+) T lymphocytes with multiple tetramers in the SIV/rhesus monkey model to explore the coevolution of virus and the cellular immune response during primary infection. We demonstrated that cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated selection pressure on the infecting virus was manifested by epitope mutations as early as 21 days following infection. We also showed that CD8(+) T lymphocytes cross-recognized wild-type and mutant epitopes and that these cross-reactive cell populations were present at a time when mutant forms of virus were present at frequencies of as low as 1 in 22,000 sequenced clones. Surprisingly, these cross-reactive cells became enriched in the epitope-specific CD8(+) T lymphocyte population as viruses with mutant epitope sequences largely replaced those with epitope sequences of the transmitted virus. These studies demonstrate that mutant epitope-specific CD8(+) T lymphocytes that are present at a time when viral mutant epitope sequences are detected at extremely low frequencies fail to contain the later accumulation and fixation of the mutant epitope sequences in the viral quasispecies.
The Siddis (Afro-Indians) are a tribal population whose members live in coastal Karnataka, Gujarat, and in some parts of Andhra Pradesh. Historical records indicate that the Portuguese brought the Siddis to India from Africa about 300-500 years ago; however, there is little information about their more precise ancestral origins. Here, we perform a genome-wide survey to understand the population history of the Siddis. Using hundreds of thousands of autosomal markers, we show that they have inherited ancestry from Africans, Indians, and possibly Europeans (Portuguese). Additionally, analyses of the uniparental (Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA) markers indicate that the Siddis trace their ancestry to Bantu speakers from sub-Saharan Africa. We estimate that the admixture between the African ancestors of the Siddis and neighboring South Asian groups probably occurred in the past eight generations (?200 years ago), consistent with historical records.
We characterized the evolution of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in the male genital tract by examining blood- and semen-associated virus from experimentally and sham vaccinated rhesus monkeys during primary infection. At the time of peak virus replication, SIV sequences were intermixed between the blood and semen supporting a scenario of high-level virus "spillover" into the male genital tract. However, at the time of virus set point, compartmentalization was apparent in 4 of 7 evaluated monkeys, likely as a consequence of restricted virus gene flow between anatomic compartments after the resolution of primary viremia. These findings suggest that SIV replication in the male genital tract evolves to compartmentalization after peak viremia resolves.
Human apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like 3G (APOBEC3G, hereinafter referred to as A3G) is an innate virus restriction factor that inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication and induces excessive deamination of cytidine residues in nascent reverse transcripts. To test the hypothesis that this enzyme can also help generate viral sequence diversification and the evolution of beneficial viral variants, we have examined the impact of A3G on the acquisition of (-)2,3-dideoxy-3-thiacytidine (3TC) resistance in vitro. That characteristic resistance mutations are rapidly fixed in the presence of A3G and 3TC suggests that A3G-mediated editing can be an important source of genetic variation on which natural selection acts to shape the structure of HIV-1 populations.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus has been detected in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and in 3.7% of healthy controls from the same geographic region. We evaluated 996 men who were participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus sequences in blood cells by means of a real-time quantitative PCR assay. Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus was detected in none of the men on the basis of the absence of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus DNA, suggesting that infection may be population-specific.
We used ultra-deep sequencing to obtain tens of thousands of HIV-1 sequences from regions targeted by CD8+ T lymphocytes from longitudinal samples from three acutely infected subjects, and modeled viral evolution during the critical first weeks of infection. Previous studies suggested that a single virus established productive infection, but these conclusions were tempered because of limited sampling; now, we have greatly increased our confidence in this observation through modeling the observed earliest sample diversity based on vastly more extensive sampling. Conventional sequencing of HIV-1 from acute/early infection has shown different patterns of escape at different epitopes; we investigated the earliest escapes in exquisite detail. Over 3-6 weeks, ultradeep sequencing revealed that the virus explored an extraordinary array of potential escape routes in the process of evading the earliest CD8 T-lymphocyte responses--using 454 sequencing, we identified over 50 variant forms of each targeted epitope during early immune escape, while only 2-7 variants were detected in the same samples via conventional sequencing. In contrast to the diversity seen within epitopes, non-epitope regions, including the Envelope V3 region, which was sequenced as a control in each subject, displayed very low levels of variation. In early infection, in the regions sequenced, the consensus forms did not have a fitness advantage large enough to trigger reversion to consensus amino acids in the absence of immune pressure. In one subject, a genetic bottleneck was observed, with extensive diversity at the second time point narrowing to two dominant escape forms by the third time point, all within two months of infection. Traces of immune escape were observed in the earliest samples, suggesting that immune pressure is present and effective earlier than previously reported; quantifying the loss rate of the founder virus suggests a direct role for CD8 T-lymphocyte responses in viral containment after peak viremia. Dramatic shifts in the frequencies of epitope variants during the first weeks of infection revealed a complex interplay between viral fitness and immune escape.
The occurrence of a genetic bottleneck in HIV sexual or mother-to-infant transmission has been well documented. This results in a majority of new infections being homogeneous, i.e., initiated by a single genetic strain. Early after infection, prior to the onset of the host immune response, the viral population grows exponentially. In this simple setting, an approach for estimating evolutionary and demographic parameters based on comparison of diversity measures is a feasible alternative to the existing Bayesian methods (e.g., BEAST), which are instead based on the simulation of genealogies.
Elucidating virus-host interactions responsible for HIV-1 transmission is important for advancing HIV-1 prevention strategies. To this end, single genome amplification (SGA) and sequencing of HIV-1 within the context of a model of random virus evolution has made possible for the first time an unambiguous identification of transmitted/founder viruses and a precise estimation of their numbers. Here, we applied this approach to HIV-1 env analyses in a cohort of acutely infected men who have sex with men (MSM) and found that a high proportion (10 of 28; 36%) had been productively infected by more than one virus. In subjects with multivariant transmission, the minimum number of transmitted viruses ranged from 2 to 10 with viral recombination leading to rapid and extensive genetic shuffling among virus lineages. A combined analysis of these results, together with recently published findings based on identical SGA methods in largely heterosexual (HSX) cohorts, revealed a significantly higher frequency of multivariant transmission in MSM than in HSX [19 of 50 subjects (38%) versus 34 of 175 subjects (19%); Fishers exact p = 0.008]. To further evaluate the SGA strategy for identifying transmitted/founder viruses, we analyzed 239 overlapping 5 and 3 half genome or env-only sequences from plasma viral RNA (vRNA) and blood mononuclear cell DNA in an MSM subject who had a particularly well-documented virus exposure history 3-6 days before symptom onset and 14-17 days before peak plasma viremia (47,600,000 vRNA molecules/ml). All 239 sequences coalesced to a single transmitted/founder virus genome in a time frame consistent with the clinical history, and a molecular clone of this genome encoded replication competent virus in accord with model predictions. Higher multiplicity of HIV-1 infection in MSM compared with HSX is consistent with the demonstrably higher epidemiological risk of virus acquisition in MSM and could indicate a greater challenge for HIV-1 vaccines than previously recognized.
A steady increase in knowledge of the molecular and antigenic structure of the gp120 and gp41 HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) is yielding important new insights for vaccine design, but it has been difficult to translate this information to an immunogen that elicits broadly neutralizing antibodies. To help bridge this gap, we used phylogenetically corrected statistical methods to identify amino acid signature patterns in Envs derived from people who have made potently neutralizing antibodies, with the hypothesis that these Envs may share common features that would be useful for incorporation in a vaccine immunogen. Before attempting this, essentially as a control, we explored the utility of our computational methods for defining signatures of complex neutralization phenotypes by analyzing Env sequences from 251 clonal viruses that were differentially sensitive to neutralization by the well-characterized gp120-specific monoclonal antibody, b12. We identified ten b12-neutralization signatures, including seven either in the b12-binding surface of gp120 or in the V2 region of gp120 that have been previously shown to impact b12 sensitivity. A simple algorithm based on the b12 signature pattern was predictive of b12 sensitivity/resistance in an additional blinded panel of 57 viruses. Upon obtaining these reassuring outcomes, we went on to apply these same computational methods to define signature patterns in Env from HIV-1 infected individuals who had potent, broadly neutralizing responses. We analyzed a checkerboard-style neutralization dataset with sera from 69 HIV-1-infected individuals tested against a panel of 25 different Envs. Distinct clusters of sera with high and low neutralization potencies were identified. Six signature positions in Env sequences obtained from the 69 samples were found to be strongly associated with either the high or low potency responses. Five sites were in the CD4-induced coreceptor binding site of gp120, suggesting an important role for this region in the elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibody responses against HIV-1.
The restricted neutralization breadth of vaccine-elicited antibodies is a major limitation of current human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) candidate vaccines. In order to permit the efficient identification of vaccines with enhanced capacity for eliciting cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) and to assess the overall breadth and potency of vaccine-elicited NAb reactivity, we assembled a panel of 109 molecularly cloned HIV-1 Env pseudoviruses representing a broad range of genetic and geographic diversity. Viral isolates from all major circulating genetic subtypes were included, as were viruses derived shortly after transmission and during the early and chronic stages of infection. We assembled a panel of genetically diverse HIV-1-positive (HIV-1(+)) plasma pools to assess the neutralization sensitivities of the entire virus panel. When the viruses were rank ordered according to the average sensitivity to neutralization by the HIV-1(+) plasmas, a continuum of average sensitivity was observed. Clustering analysis of the patterns of sensitivity defined four subgroups of viruses: those having very high (tier 1A), above-average (tier 1B), moderate (tier 2), or low (tier 3) sensitivity to antibody-mediated neutralization. We also investigated potential associations between characteristics of the viral isolates (clade, stage of infection, and source of virus) and sensitivity to NAb. In particular, higher levels of NAb activity were observed when the virus and plasma pool were matched in clade. These data provide the first systematic assessment of the overall neutralization sensitivities of a genetically and geographically diverse panel of circulating HIV-1 strains. These reference viruses can facilitate the systematic characterization of NAb responses elicited by candidate vaccine immunogens.
Induction of antibodies that neutralize a broad range of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates is a major goal of vaccine development. To study natural examples of broad neutralization, we analyzed sera from 103 HIV-1-infected subjects. Among progressor patients, 20% of sera neutralized more than 75% of a panel of 20 diverse viral isolates. Little activity was observed in sera from long-term nonprogressors (elite controllers). Breadth of neutralization was correlated with viral load, but not with CD4 count, history of past antiretroviral use, age, gender, race/ethnicity, or route of exposure. Clustering analysis of sera by a novel method identified a statistically robust subgrouping of sera that demonstrated broad and potent neutralization activity.
Identification of full-length transmitted HIV-1 genomes could be instrumental in HIV-1 pathogenesis, microbicide, and vaccine research by enabling the direct analysis of those viruses actually responsible for productive clinical infection. We show in 12 acutely infected subjects (9 clade B and 3 clade C) that complete HIV-1 genomes of transmitted/founder viruses can be inferred by single genome amplification and sequencing of plasma virion RNA. This allowed for the molecular cloning and biological analysis of transmitted/founder viruses and a comprehensive genome-wide assessment of the genetic imprint left on the evolving virus quasispecies by a composite of host selection pressures. Transmitted viruses encoded intact canonical genes (gag-pol-vif-vpr-tat-rev-vpu-env-nef) and replicated efficiently in primary human CD4(+) T lymphocytes but much less so in monocyte-derived macrophages. Transmitted viruses were CD4 and CCR5 tropic and demonstrated concealment of coreceptor binding surfaces of the envelope bridging sheet and variable loop 3. 2 mo after infection, transmitted/founder viruses in three subjects were nearly completely replaced by viruses differing at two to five highly selected genomic loci; by 12-20 mo, viruses exhibited concentrated mutations at 17-34 discrete locations. These findings reveal viral properties associated with mucosal HIV-1 transmission and a limited set of rapidly evolving adaptive mutations driven primarily, but not exclusively, by early cytotoxic T cell responses.
Identification of the transmitted/founder virus makes possible, for the first time, a genome-wide analysis of host immune responses against the infecting HIV-1 proteome. A complete dissection was made of the primary HIV-1-specific T cell response induced in three acutely infected patients. Cellular assays, together with new algorithms which identify sites of positive selection in the virus genome, showed that primary HIV-1-specific T cells rapidly select escape mutations concurrent with falling virus load in acute infection. Kinetic analysis and mathematical modeling of virus immune escape showed that the contribution of CD8 T cell-mediated killing of productively infected cells was earlier and much greater than previously recognized and that it contributed to the initial decline of plasma virus in acute infection. After virus escape, these first T cell responses often rapidly waned, leaving or being succeeded by T cell responses to epitopes which escaped more slowly or were invariant. These latter responses are likely to be important in maintaining the already established virus set point. In addition to mutations selected by T cells, there were other selected regions that accrued mutations more gradually but were not associated with a T cell response. These included clusters of mutations in envelope that were targeted by NAbs, a few isolated sites that reverted to the consensus sequence, and bystander mutations in linkage with T cell-driven escape.
We recently developed a novel strategy to identify transmitted HIV-1 genomes in acutely infected humans using single-genome amplification and a model of random virus evolution. Here, we used this approach to determine the molecular features of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) transmission in 18 experimentally infected Indian rhesus macaques. Animals were inoculated intrarectally (i.r.) or intravenously (i.v.) with stocks of SIVmac251 or SIVsmE660 that exhibited sequence diversity typical of early-chronic HIV-1 infection. 987 full-length SIV env sequences (median of 48 per animal) were determined from plasma virion RNA 1-5 wk after infection. i.r. inoculation was followed by productive infection by one or a few viruses (median 1; range 1-5) that diversified randomly with near starlike phylogeny and a Poisson distribution of mutations. Consensus viral sequences from ramp-up and peak viremia were identical to viruses found in the inocula or differed from them by only one or a few nucleotides, providing direct evidence that early plasma viral sequences coalesce to transmitted/founder viruses. i.v. infection was >2,000-fold more efficient than i.r. infection, and viruses transmitted by either route represented the full genetic spectra of the inocula. These findings identify key similarities in mucosal transmission and early diversification between SIV and HIV-1, and thus validate the SIV-macaque mucosal infection model for HIV-1 vaccine and microbicide research.
We describe a mathematical model and Monte Carlo (MC) simulation of viral evolution during acute infection. We consider both synchronous and asynchronous processes of viral infection of new target cells. The model enables an assessment of the expected sequence diversity in new HIV-1 infections originating from a single transmitted viral strain, estimation of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the transmitted viral lineage, and estimation of the time to coalesce back to the MRCA. We also calculate the probability of the MRCA being the transmitted virus or an evolved variant. Excluding insertions and deletions, we assume HIV-1 evolves by base substitution without selection pressure during the earliest phase of HIV-1 infection prior to the immune response. Unlike phylogenetic methods that follow a lineage backwards to coalescence, we compare the observed data to a model of the diversification of a viral population forward in time. To illustrate the application of these methods, we provide detailed comparisons of the model and simulations results to 306 envelope sequences obtained from eight newly infected subjects at a single time point. The data from 68 patients were in good agreement with model predictions, and hence compatible with a single-strain infection evolving under no selection pressure. The diversity of the samples from the other two patients was too great to be explained by the model, suggesting multiple HIV-1-strains were transmitted. The model can also be applied to longitudinal patient data to estimate within-host viral evolutionary parameters.
The pattern of viral diversification in newly infected individuals provides information about the host environment and immune responses typically experienced by the newly transmitted virus. For example, sites that tend to evolve rapidly across multiple early-infection patients could be involved in enabling escape from common early immune responses, could represent adaptation for rapid growth in a newly infected host, or could represent reversion from less fit forms of the virus that were selected for immune escape in previous hosts. Here we investigated the diversification of HIV-1 env coding sequences in 81 very early B subtype infections previously shown to have resulted from transmission or expansion of single viruses (n = 78) or two closely related viruses (n = 3). In these cases, the sequence of the infecting virus can be estimated accurately, enabling inference of both the direction of substitutions as well as distinction between insertion and deletion events. By integrating information across multiple acutely infected hosts, we find evidence of adaptive evolution of HIV-1 env and identify a subset of codon sites that diversified more rapidly than can be explained by a model of neutral evolution. Of 24 such rapidly diversifying sites, 14 were either i) clustered and embedded in CTL epitopes that were verified experimentally or predicted based on the individuals HLA or ii) in a nucleotide context indicative of APOBEC-mediated G-to-A substitutions, despite having excluded heavily hypermutated sequences prior to the analysis. In several cases, a rapidly evolving site was embedded both in an APOBEC motif and in a CTL epitope, suggesting that APOBEC may facilitate early immune escape. Ten rapidly diversifying sites could not be explained by CTL escape or APOBEC hypermutation, including the most frequently mutated site, in the fusion peptide of gp41. We also examined the distribution, extent, and sequence context of insertions and deletions, and we provide evidence that the length variation seen in hypervariable loop regions of the envelope glycoprotein is a consequence of selection and not of mutational hotspots. Our results provide a detailed view of the process of diversification of HIV-1 following transmission, highlighting the role of CTL escape and hypermutation in shaping viral evolution during the establishment of new infections.
Little is known about the neutralization properties of HIV-1 in India to optimally design and test vaccines. For this reason, a functional Env clone was obtained from each of ten newly acquired, heterosexually transmitted HIV-1 infections in Pune, Maharashtra. These clones formed a phylogenetically distinct genetic lineage within subtype C. As Env-pseudotyped viruses the clones were mostly resistant to IgG1b12, 2G12 and 2F5 but all were sensitive to 4E10. When compared to a large multi-subtype panel of Env-pseudotyped viruses (subtypes B, C and CRF02_AG) in neutralization assays with a multi-subtype panel of HIV-1-positive plasma samples, the Indian Envs were remarkably complex. With the exception of the Indian Envs, results of a hierarchical clustering analysis showed a strong subtype association with the patterns of neutralization susceptibility. From these patterns we were able to identify 19 neutralization cluster-associated amino acid signatures in gp120 and 14 signatures in the ectodomain and cytoplasmic tail of gp41. We conclude that newly transmitted Indian Envs are antigenically complex in spite of close genetic similarity. Delineation of neutralization-associated amino acid signatures provides a deeper understanding of the antigenic structure of HIV-1 Env.
A modest change in HIV-1 fitness can have a significant impact on viral quasispecies evolution and viral pathogenesis, transmission and disease progression. To determine the impact of immune escape mutations selected by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) on viral fitness in the context of the cognate transmitted/founder (T/F) genome, we developed a new competitive fitness assay using molecular clones of T/F genomes lacking exogenous genetic markers and a highly sensitive and precise parallel allele-specific sequencing (PASS) method.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is present in the host with multiple variants generated by its error prone RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Little is known about the initial viral diversification and the viral life cycle processes that influence diversity. We studied the diversification of HCV during acute infection in 17 plasma donors, with frequent sampling early in infection. To analyze these data, we developed a new stochastic model of the HCV life cycle. We found that the accumulation of mutations is surprisingly slow: at 30 days, the viral population on average is still 46% identical to its transmitted viral genome. Fitting the model to the sequence data, we estimate the median in vivo viral mutation rate is 2.5×10?? mutations per nucleotide per genome replication (range 1.6-6.2×10??), about 5-fold lower than previous estimates. To confirm these results we analyzed the frequency of stop codons (N?=?10) among all possible non-sense mutation targets (M?=?898,335), and found a mutation rate of 2.8-3.2×10??, consistent with the estimate from the dynamical model. The slow accumulation of mutations is consistent with slow turnover of infected cells and replication complexes within infected cells. This slow turnover is also inferred from the viral load kinetics. Our estimated mutation rate, which is similar to that of other RNA viruses (e.g., HIV and influenza), is also compatible with the accumulation of substitutions seen in HCV at the population level. Our model identifies the relevant processes (long-lived cells and slow turnover of replication complexes) and parameters involved in determining the rate of HCV diversification.
A precise molecular identification of transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomes could illuminate key aspects of transmission biology, immunopathogenesis and natural history. We used single genome sequencing of 2,922 half or quarter genomes from plasma viral RNA to identify transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses in 17 subjects with acute community-acquired HCV infection. Sequences from 13 of 17 acute subjects, but none of 14 chronic controls, exhibited one or more discrete low diversity viral lineages. Sequences within each lineage generally revealed a star-like phylogeny of mutations that coalesced to unambiguous T/F viral genomes. Numbers of transmitted viruses leading to productive clinical infection were estimated to range from 1 to 37 or more (median?=?4). Four acutely infected subjects showed a distinctly different pattern of virus diversity that deviated from a star-like phylogeny. In these cases, empirical analysis and mathematical modeling suggested high multiplicity virus transmission from individuals who themselves were acutely infected or had experienced a virus population bottleneck due to antiviral drug therapy. These results provide new quantitative and qualitative insights into HCV transmission, revealing for the first time virus-host interactions that successful vaccines or treatment interventions will need to overcome. Our findings further suggest a novel experimental strategy for identifying full-length T/F genomes for proteome-wide analyses of HCV biology and adaptation to antiviral drug or immune pressures.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.