September 22, 2019  |  

HIV-1 interacts with human endogenous retrovirus K (HML-2) envelopes derived from human primary lymphocytes.

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are viruses that have colonized the germ line and spread through vertical passage. Only the more recently acquired HERVs, such as the HERV-K (HML-2) group, maintain coding open reading frames. Expression of HERV-Ks has been linked to different pathological conditions, including HIV infection, but our knowledge on which specific HERV-Ks are expressed in primary lymphocytes currently is very limited. To identify the most expressed HERV-Ks in an unbiased manner, we analyzed their expression patterns in peripheral blood lymphocytes using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. We observe that three HERV-Ks (KII, K102, and K18) constitute over 90% of the total HERV-K expression in primary human lymphocytes of five different donors. We also show experimentally that two of these HERV-K env sequences (K18 and K102) retain their ability to produce full-length and posttranslationally processed envelope proteins in cell culture. We show that HERV-K18 Env can be incorporated into HIV-1 but not simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) particles. Moreover, HERV-K18 Env incorporation into HIV-1 virions is dependent on HIV-1 matrix. Taken together, we generated high-resolution HERV-K expression profiles specific for activated human lymphocytes. We found that one of the most abundantly expressed HERV-K envelopes not only makes a full-length protein but also specifically interacts with HIV-1. Our findings raise the possibility that these endogenous retroviral Env proteins could directly influence HIV-1 replication.Here, we report the HERV-K expression profile of primary lymphocytes from 5 different healthy donors. We used a novel deep-sequencing technology (PacBio SMRT) that produces the long reads necessary to discriminate the complexity of HERV-K expression. We find that primary lymphocytes express up to 32 different HERV-K envelopes, and that at least two of the most expressed Env proteins retain their ability to make a protein. Importantly, one of them, the envelope glycoprotein of HERV-K18, is incorporated into HIV-1 in an HIV matrix-specific fashion. The ramifications of such interactions are discussed, as the possibility of HIV-1 target tissue broadening and immune evasion are considered.

July 19, 2019  |  

Rapid sequencing of complete env genes from primary HIV-1 samples

The ability to study rapidly evolving viral populations has been constrained by the read length of next-generation sequencing approaches and the sampling depth of single-genome amplification methods. Here, we develop and characterize a method using Pacific Biosciences Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology to sequence multiple, intact full-length human immunodeficiency virus-1 env genes amplified from viral RNA populations circulating in blood, and provide computational tools for analyzing and visualizing these data.

July 19, 2019  |  

Antibody 10-1074 suppresses viremia in HIV-1-infected individuals.

Monoclonal antibody 10-1074 targets the V3 glycan supersite on the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein. It is among the most potent anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies isolated so far. Here we report on its safety and activity in 33 individuals who received a single intravenous infusion of the antibody. 10-1074 was well tolerated and had a half-life of 24.0 d in participants without HIV-1 infection and 12.8 d in individuals with HIV-1 infection. Thirteen individuals with viremia received the highest dose of 30 mg/kg 10-1074. Eleven of these participants were 10-1074-sensitive and showed a rapid decline in viremia by a mean of 1.52 log10 copies/ml. Virologic analysis revealed the emergence of multiple independent 10-1074-resistant viruses in the first weeks after infusion. Emerging escape variants were generally resistant to the related V3-specific antibody PGT121, but remained sensitive to antibodies targeting nonoverlapping epitopes, such as the anti-CD4-binding-site antibodies 3BNC117 and VRC01. The results demonstrate the safety and activity of 10-1074 in humans and support the idea that antibodies targeting the V3 glycan supersite might be useful for the treatment and prevention of HIV-1 infection.

July 19, 2019  |  

Characterization of hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope diversification from acute to chronic infection within a sexually transmitted HCV cluster by using single-molecule, real-time sequencing.

In contrast to other available next-generation sequencing platforms, PacBio single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing has the advantage of generating long reads albeit with a relatively higher error rate in unprocessed data. Using this platform, we longitudinally sampled and sequenced the hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope genome region (1,680 nucleotides [nt]) from individuals belonging to a cluster of sexually transmitted cases. All five subjects were coinfected with HIV-1 and a closely related strain of HCV genotype 4d. In total, 50 samples were analyzed by using SMRT sequencing. By using 7 passes of circular consensus sequencing, the error rate was reduced to 0.37%, and the median number of sequences was 612 per sample. A further reduction of insertions was achieved by alignment against a sample-specific reference sequence. However, in vitro recombination during PCR amplification could not be excluded. Phylogenetic analysis supported close relationships among HCV sequences from the four male subjects and subsequent transmission from one subject to his female partner. Transmission was characterized by a strong genetic bottleneck. Viral genetic diversity was low during acute infection and increased upon progression to chronicity but subsequently fluctuated during chronic infection, caused by the alternate detection of distinct coexisting lineages. SMRT sequencing combines long reads with sufficient depth for many phylogenetic analyses and can therefore provide insights into within-host HCV evolutionary dynamics without the need for haplotype reconstruction using statistical algorithms.IMPORTANCE Next-generation sequencing has revolutionized the study of genetically variable RNA virus populations, but for phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses, longer sequences than those generated by most available platforms, while minimizing the intrinsic error rate, are desired. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that PacBio SMRT sequencing technology can be used to generate full-length HCV envelope sequences at the single-molecule level, providing a data set with large sequencing depth for the characterization of intrahost viral dynamics. The selection of consensus reads derived from at least 7 full circular consensus sequencing rounds significantly reduced the intrinsic high error rate of this method. We used this method to genetically characterize a unique transmission cluster of sexually transmitted HCV infections, providing insight into the distinct evolutionary pathways in each patient over time and identifying the transmission-associated genetic bottleneck as well as fluctuations in viral genetic diversity over time, accompanied by dynamic shifts in viral subpopulations. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

July 7, 2019  |  

Use of four next-generation sequencing platforms to determine HIV-1 coreceptor tropism.

HIV-1 coreceptor tropism assays are required to rule out the presence of CXCR4-tropic (non-R5) viruses prior treatment with CCR5 antagonists. Phenotypic (e.g., Trofile™, Monogram Biosciences) and genotypic (e.g., population sequencing linked to bioinformatic algorithms) assays are the most widely used. Although several next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms are available, to date all published deep sequencing HIV-1 tropism studies have used the 454™ Life Sciences/Roche platform. In this study, HIV-1 co-receptor usage was predicted for twelve patients scheduled to start a maraviroc-based antiretroviral regimen. The V3 region of the HIV-1 env gene was sequenced using four NGS platforms: 454™, PacBio® RS (Pacific Biosciences), Illumina®, and Ion Torrent™ (Life Technologies). Cross-platform variation was evaluated, including number of reads, read length and error rates. HIV-1 tropism was inferred using Geno2Pheno, Web PSSM, and the 11/24/25 rule and compared with Trofile™ and virologic response to antiretroviral therapy. Error rates related to insertions/deletions (indels) and nucleotide substitutions introduced by the four NGS platforms were low compared to the actual HIV-1 sequence variation. Each platform detected all major virus variants within the HIV-1 population with similar frequencies. Identification of non-R5 viruses was comparable among the four platforms, with minor differences attributable to the algorithms used to infer HIV-1 tropism. All NGS platforms showed similar concordance with virologic response to the maraviroc-based regimen (75% to 80% range depending on the algorithm used), compared to Trofile (80%) and population sequencing (70%). In conclusion, all four NGS platforms were able to detect minority non-R5 variants at comparable levels suggesting that any NGS-based method can be used to predict HIV-1 coreceptor usage.

July 7, 2019  |  

Evolution of coreceptor utilization to escape CCR5 antagonist therapy.

The HIV-1 envelope interacts with coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4 in a dynamic, multi-step process, its molecular details not clearly delineated. Use of CCR5 antagonists results in tropism shift and therapeutic failure. Here we describe a novel approach using full-length patient-derived gp160 quasispecies libraries cloned into HIV-1 molecular clones, their separation based on phenotypic tropism in vitro, and deep sequencing of the resultant variants for structure-function analyses. Analysis of functionally validated envelope sequences from patients who failed CCR5 antagonist therapy revealed determinants strongly associated with coreceptor specificity, especially at the gp120-gp41 and gp41-gp41 interaction surfaces that invite future research on the roles of subunit interaction and envelope trimer stability in coreceptor usage. This study identifies important structure-function relationships in HIV-1 envelope, and demonstrates proof of concept for a new integrated analysis method that facilitates laboratory discovery of resistant mutants to aid in development of other therapeutic agents. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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