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Friday, July 19, 2019

Microplitis demolitor bracovirus proviral loci and clustered replication genes exhibit distinct DNA amplification patterns during replication.

Polydnaviruses are large, double-stranded DNA viruses that are beneficial symbionts of parasitoid wasps. Polydnaviruses in the genus Bracovirus (BVs) persist in wasps as proviruses, and their genomes consist of two functional components referred to as proviral segments and nudivirus-like genes. Prior studies established that the DNA domains where proviral segments reside are amplified during replication and that segments within amplified loci are circularized before packaging into nucleocapsids. One DNA domain where nudivirus-like genes are located is also amplified but never packaged into virions. We recently sequenced the genome of the braconid Microplitis demolitor, which carries M. demolitor bracovirus (MdBV). Here,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Defective HIV-1 proviruses are expressed and can be recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which shape the proviral landscape.

Despite antiretroviral therapy, HIV-1 persists in memory CD4(+) T cells, creating a barrier to cure. The majority of HIV-1 proviruses are defective and considered clinically irrelevant. Using cells from HIV-1-infected individuals and reconstructed patient-derived defective proviruses, we show that defective proviruses can be transcribed into RNAs that are spliced and translated. Proviruses with defective major splice donors (MSDs) can activate novel splice sites to produce HIV-1 transcripts, and cells with these proviruses can be recognized by HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Further, cells with proviruses containing lethal mutations upstream of CTL epitopes can also be recognized by CTLs, potentially through aberrant…

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Sunday, 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…

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