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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Reduced frequency of HIV superinfection in a high-risk cohort in Zambia.

Rates of HIV-1 superinfection, re-infection with a genetically distinct virus despite HIV-1 specific immune responses, vary in different risk populations. We previously found the rates of superinfection were similar to primary HIV infection (PHI) in a Zambian heterosexual transmission cohort. Here, we conduct a similar analysis of 47 HIV-positive Zambians from an acute infection cohort with more frequent follow-up, all infected by non-spousal partners. We identified only one case of superinfection in the first two years, significantly fewer than in our previous study, which was likely due to increased counseling during acute infection and an overall population-wide decline in factors…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Longitudinal HIV sequencing reveals reservoir expression leading to decay which is obscured by clonal expansion.

After initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART), a rapid decline in HIV viral load is followed by a long period of undetectable viremia. Viral outgrowth assay suggests the reservoir continues to decline slowly. Here, we use full-length sequencing to longitudinally study the proviral landscape of four subjects on ART to investigate the selective pressures influencing the dynamics of the treatment-resistant HIV reservoir. We find intact and defective proviruses that contain genetic elements favoring efficient protein expression decrease over time. Moreover, proviruses that lack these genetic elements, yet contain strong donor splice sequences, increase relatively to other defective proviruses, especially among clones. Our…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Structural variation of centromeric endogenous retroviruses in human populations and their impact on cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, Sézary syndrome, and HIV infection.

Human Endogenous Retroviruses type K HML-2 (HK2) are integrated into 117 or more areas of human chromosomal arms while two newly discovered HK2 proviruses, K111 and K222, spread extensively in pericentromeric regions, are the first retroviruses discovered in these areas of our genome.We use PCR and sequencing analysis to characterize pericentromeric K111 proviruses in DNA from individuals of diverse ethnicities and patients with different diseases.We found that the 5′ LTR-gag region of K111 proviruses is missing in certain individuals, creating pericentromeric instability. K111 deletion (-/- K111) is seen in about 15% of Caucasian, Asian, and Middle Eastern populations; it is…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Sites of retroviral DNA integration: From basic research to clinical applications.

One of the most crucial steps in the life cycle of a retrovirus is the integration of the viral DNA (vDNA) copy of the RNA genome into the genome of an infected host cell. Integration provides for efficient viral gene expression as well as for the segregation of viral genomes to daughter cells upon cell division. Some integrated viruses are not well expressed, and cells latently infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can resist the action of potent antiretroviral drugs and remain dormant for decades. Intensive research has been dedicated to understanding the catalytic mechanism of integration, as…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

HIV-1 infection of primary CD4(+) T cells regulates the expression of specific HERV-K (HML-2) elements.

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) occupy extensive regions of the human genome. Although many of these retroviral elements have lost their ability to replicate, those whose insertion took place more recently, such as the HML-2 group of HERV-K elements, still retain intact open reading frames and the capacity to produce certain viral RNA and/or proteins. Transcription of these ERVs is, however, tightly regulated by dedicated epigenetic control mechanisms. Nonetheless, it has been reported that some pathologic states, such as viral infections and certain cancers, coincide with ERV expression suggesting transcriptional reawakening is possible. HML-2 elements are reportedly induced during HIV-1 infection, but…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dynamic regulation of HIV-1 mRNA populations analyzed by single-molecule enrichment and long-read sequencing.

Alternative RNA splicing greatly expands the repertoire of proteins encoded by genomes. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is attractive for studying alternative splicing because of the efficiency and low cost per base, but short reads typical of NGS only report mRNA fragments containing one or few splice junctions. Here, we used single-molecule amplification and long-read sequencing to study the HIV-1 provirus, which is only 9700 bp in length, but encodes nine major proteins via alternative splicing. Our data showed that the clinical isolate HIV-1(89.6) produces at least 109 different spliced RNAs, including a previously unappreciated ~1 kb class of messages, two of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Gene activity in primary T cells infected with HIV89.6: intron retention and induction of genomic repeats.

HIV infection has been reported to alter cellular gene activity, but published studies have commonly assayed transformed cell lines and lab-adapted HIV strains, yielding inconsistent results. Here we carried out a deep RNA-Seq analysis of primary human T cells infected with the low passage HIV isolate HIV89.6.Seventeen percent of cellular genes showed altered activity 48 h after infection. In a meta-analysis including four other studies, our data differed from studies of HIV infection in cell lines but showed more parallels with infections of primary cells. We found a global trend toward retention of introns after infection, suggestive of a novel…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio’s single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT…

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Sunday, 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…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Blood CXCR3+CD4 T cells are enriched in inducible replication competent HIV in aviremic antiretroviral therapy-treated individuals.

We recently demonstrated that lymph nodes (LNs) PD-1+/T follicular helper (Tfh) cells from antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated HIV-infected individuals were enriched in cells containing replication competent virus. However, the distribution of cells containing inducible replication competent virus has been only partially elucidated in blood memory CD4 T-cell populations including the Tfh cell counterpart circulating in blood (cTfh). In this context, we have investigated the distribution of (1) total HIV-infected cells and (2) cells containing replication competent and infectious virus within various blood and LN memory CD4 T-cell populations of conventional antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated HIV-infected individuals. In the present study, we show…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Computational comparison of availability in CTL/gag epitopes among patients with acute and chronic HIV-1 infection.

Recent studies indicate that there is selection bias for transmission of viral polymorphisms associated with higher viral fitness. Furthermore, after transmission and before a specific immune response is mounted in the recipient, the virus undergoes a number of reversions which allow an increase in their replicative capacity. These aspects, and others, affect the viral population characteristic of early acute infection.160 singlegag-gene amplifications were obtained by limiting-dilution RT-PCR from plasma samples of 8 ARV-naïve patients with early acute infection (

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Towards Personalized Medicine: An Improved De Novo Assembly Procedure for Early Detection of Drug Resistant HIV Minor Quasispecies in Patient Samples.

The third-generation sequencing technology, PacBio, has shown an ability to sequence the HIV virus amplicons in their full length. The long read of PaBio offers a distinct advantage to comprehensively understand the virus evolution complexity at quasispecies level (i.e. maintaining linkage information of variants) comparing to the short reads from Illumina shotgun sequencing. However, due to the highnoise nature of the PacBio reads, it is still a challenge to build accurate contigs at high sensitivity. Most of previously developed NGS assembly tools work with the assumption that the input reads are fairly accurate, which is largely true for the data…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Full-length haplotype reconstruction to infer the structure of heterogeneous virus populations.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies enable new insights into the diversity of virus populations within their hosts. Diversity estimation is currently restricted to single-nucleotide variants or to local fragments of no more than a few hundred nucleotides defined by the length of sequence reads. To study complex heterogeneous virus populations comprehensively, novel methods are required that allow for complete reconstruction of the individual viral haplotypes. Here, we show that assembly of whole viral genomes of ~8600 nucleotides length is feasible from mixtures of heterogeneous HIV-1 strains derived from defined combinations of cloned virus strains and from clinical samples of an HIV-1…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Multiplexed highly-accurate DNA sequencing of closely-related HIV-1 variants using continuous long reads from single molecule, real-time sequencing.

Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT(®)) Sequencing (Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, CA, USA) provides the longest continuous DNA sequencing reads currently available. However, the relatively high error rate in the raw read data requires novel analysis methods to deconvolute sequences derived from complex samples. Here, we present a workflow of novel computer algorithms able to reconstruct viral variant genomes present in mixtures with an accuracy of >QV50. This approach relies exclusively on Continuous Long Reads (CLR), which are the raw reads generated during SMRT Sequencing. We successfully implement this workflow for simultaneous sequencing of mixtures containing up to forty different >9 kb…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

HLA Class-II associated HIV polymorphisms predict escape from CD4+ T Cell responses.

Antiretroviral therapy, antibody and CD8+ T cell-mediated responses targeting human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) exert selection pressure on the virus necessitating escape; however, the ability of CD4+ T cells to exert selective pressure remains unclear. Using a computational approach on HIV gag/pol/nef sequences and HLA-II allelic data, we identified 29 HLA-II associated HIV sequence polymorphisms or adaptations (HLA-AP) in an African cohort of chronically HIV-infected individuals. Epitopes encompassing the predicted adaptation (AE) or its non-adapted (NAE) version were evaluated for immunogenicity. Using a CD8-depleted IFN-? ELISpot assay, we determined that the magnitude of CD4+ T cell responses to the predicted epitopes…

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