Publications by authors named "Elena E Giorgi"

46 Publications

HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2: Patterns in the evolution of two pandemic pathogens.

Cell Host Microbe 2021 07 3;29(7):1093-1110. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

T-6: Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87545, USA; New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87545, USA. Electronic address:

Humanity is currently facing the challenge of two devastating pandemics caused by two very different RNA viruses: HIV-1, which has been with us for decades, and SARS-CoV-2, which has swept the world in the course of a single year. The same evolutionary strategies that drive HIV-1 evolution are at play in SARS-CoV-2. Single nucleotide mutations, multi-base insertions and deletions, recombination, and variation in surface glycans all generate the variability that, guided by natural selection, enables both HIV-1's extraordinary diversity and SARS-CoV-2's slower pace of mutation accumulation. Even though SARS-CoV-2 diversity is more limited, recently emergent SARS-CoV-2 variants carry Spike mutations that have important phenotypic consequences in terms of both antibody resistance and enhanced infectivity. We review and compare how these mutational patterns manifest in these two distinct viruses to provide the variability that fuels their evolution by natural selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2021.05.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173590PMC
July 2021

Effect of epitope variant co-delivery on the depth of CD8 T cell responses induced by HIV-1 conserved mosaic vaccines.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2021 Jun 5;21:741-753. Epub 2021 May 5.

The Jenner Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7DQ, UK.

To stop the HIV-1 pandemic, vaccines must induce responses capable of controlling vast HIV-1 variants circulating in the population as well as those evolved in each individual following transmission. Numerous strategies have been proposed, of which the most promising include focusing responses on the vulnerable sites of HIV-1 displaying the least entropy among global isolates and using algorithms that maximize vaccine match to circulating HIV-1 variants by vaccine cocktails of optimized complementing sequences. In this study, we investigated CD8 T cell responses induced by a bi-valent mosaic of highly conserved HIVconsvX regions delivered by a combination of simian adenovirus ChAdOx1 and poxvirus MVA. We compared partially and fully mono- and bi-valent prime-boost regimens and their ability to elicit T cells recognizing natural epitope variants using an interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay. We used 11 well-defined CD8 T cell epitopes in two mouse haplotypes and, for each epitope, assessed recognition of the two vaccine forms together with the other most frequent epitope variants in the HIV-1 database. We conclude that for the magnitude and depth of epitope recognition, CD8 T cell responses benefitted in most comparisons from the combined bi-valent mosaic and envisage the main advantage of the bi-valent vaccine during its deployment to diverse populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2021.04.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8187930PMC
June 2021

Mutations that confer resistance to broadly-neutralizing antibodies define HIV-1 variants of transmitting mothers from that of non-transmitting mothers.

PLoS Pathog 2021 04 2;17(4):e1009478. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Despite considerable reduction of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV through use of maternal and infant antiretroviral therapy (ART), over 150,000 infants continue to become infected with HIV annually, falling far short of the World Health Organization goal of reaching <20,000 annual pediatric HIV cases worldwide by 2020. Prior to the widespread use of ART in the setting of pregnancy, over half of infants born to HIV-infected mothers were protected against HIV acquisition. Yet, the role of maternal immune factors in this protection against vertical transmission is still unclear, hampering the development of synergistic strategies to further reduce MTCT. It has been established that infant transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses are often resistant to maternal plasma, yet it is unknown if the neutralization resistance profile of circulating viruses predicts the maternal risk of transmission to her infant. In this study, we amplified HIV-1 envelope genes (env) by single genome amplification and produced representative Env variants from plasma of 19 non-transmitting mothers from the U.S. Women Infant Transmission Study (WITS), enrolled in the pre-ART era. Maternal HIV Env variants from non-transmitting mothers had similar sensitivity to autologous plasma as observed for non-transmitting variants from transmitting mothers. In contrast, infant variants were on average 30% less sensitive to paired plasma neutralization compared to non-transmitted maternal variants from both transmitting and non-transmitting mothers (p = 0.015). Importantly, a signature sequence analysis revealed that motifs enriched in env sequences from transmitting mothers were associated with broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) resistance. Altogether, our findings suggest that circulating maternal virus resistance to bnAb-mediated neutralization, but not autologous plasma neutralization, near the time of delivery, predicts increased MTCT risk. These results caution that enhancement of maternal plasma neutralization through passive or active vaccination during pregnancy may potentially drive the evolution of variants fit for vertical transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009478DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055002PMC
April 2021

Recapitulation of HIV-1 Env-antibody coevolution in macaques leading to neutralization breadth.

Science 2021 01 19;371(6525). Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Neutralizing antibodies elicited by HIV-1 coevolve with viral envelope proteins (Env) in distinctive patterns, in some cases acquiring substantial breadth. We report that primary HIV-1 envelope proteins-when expressed by simian-human immunodeficiency viruses in rhesus macaques-elicited patterns of Env-antibody coevolution very similar to those in humans, including conserved immunogenetic, structural, and chemical solutions to epitope recognition and precise Env-amino acid substitutions, insertions, and deletions leading to virus persistence. The structure of one rhesus antibody, capable of neutralizing 49% of a 208-strain panel, revealed a V2 apex mode of recognition like that of human broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) PGT145 and PCT64-35S. Another rhesus antibody bound the CD4 binding site by CD4 mimicry, mirroring human bNAbs 8ANC131, CH235, and VRC01. Virus-antibody coevolution in macaques can thus recapitulate developmental features of human bNAbs, thereby guiding HIV-1 immunogen design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abd2638DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040783PMC
January 2021

Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 through recombination and strong purifying selection.

Sci Adv 2020 07 1;6(27). Epub 2020 Jul 1.

Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

COVID-19 has become a global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Understanding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for deterring future zoonosis, discovering new drugs, and developing a vaccine. We show evidence of strong purifying selection around the receptor binding motif (RBM) in the spike and other genes among bat, pangolin, and human coronaviruses, suggesting similar evolutionary constraints in different host species. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2's entire RBM was introduced through recombination with coronaviruses from pangolins, possibly a critical step in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2's ability to infect humans. Similar purifying selection in different host species, together with frequent recombination among coronaviruses, suggests a common evolutionary mechanism that could lead to new emerging human coronaviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb9153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458444PMC
July 2020

Tracking Changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: Evidence that D614G Increases Infectivity of the COVID-19 Virus.

Cell 2020 08 3;182(4):812-827.e19. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute & Department of Surgery, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

A SARS-CoV-2 variant carrying the Spike protein amino acid change D614G has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic. Dynamic tracking of variant frequencies revealed a recurrent pattern of G614 increase at multiple geographic levels: national, regional, and municipal. The shift occurred even in local epidemics where the original D614 form was well established prior to introduction of the G614 variant. The consistency of this pattern was highly statistically significant, suggesting that the G614 variant may have a fitness advantage. We found that the G614 variant grows to a higher titer as pseudotyped virions. In infected individuals, G614 is associated with lower RT-PCR cycle thresholds, suggestive of higher upper respiratory tract viral loads, but not with increased disease severity. These findings illuminate changes important for a mechanistic understanding of the virus and support continuing surveillance of Spike mutations to aid with development of immunological interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.06.043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7332439PMC
August 2020

Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 through Recombination and Strong Purifying Selection.

bioRxiv 2020 Mar 22. Epub 2020 Mar 22.

COVID-19 has become a global pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Understanding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for deterring future zoonosis and for drug discovery and vaccine development. We show evidence of strong purifying selection around the receptor binding motif (RBM) in the spike gene and in other genes among bat, pangolin and human coronaviruses, indicating similar strong evolutionary constraints in different host species. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2's entire RBM was introduced through recombination with coronaviruses from pangolins, possibly a critical step in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2's ability to infect humans. Similar purifying selection in different host species and frequent recombination among coronaviruses suggest a common evolutionary mechanism that could lead to new emerging human coronaviruses.

One Sentence Summary: Extensive Recombination and Strong Purifying Selection among coronaviruses from different hosts facilitate the emergence of SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.20.000885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255785PMC
March 2020

Induction of Neutralizing Responses against Autologous Virus in Maternal HIV Vaccine Trials.

mSphere 2020 06 3;5(3). Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

A maternal vaccine capable of boosting neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses directed against circulating viruses in HIV-infected pregnant women could effectively decrease mother-to-child transmission of HIV. However, it is not known if an HIV envelope (Env) vaccine administered to infected pregnant women could enhance autologous virus neutralization and thereby reduce this risk of vertical HIV transmission. Here, we assessed autologous virus NAb responses in maternal plasma samples obtained from AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Group (AVEG) protocols 104 and 102, representing historical phase I safety and immunogenicity trials of recombinant HIV Env subunit vaccines administered to HIV-infected pregnant women (ClinicalTrials registration no. NCT00001041). Maternal HIV Env-specific plasma binding and neutralizing antibody responses were characterized before and after vaccination in 15 AVEG 104 ( = 10 vaccine recipients,  = 5 placebo recipients) and 2 AVEG 102 ( = 1 vaccine recipient,  = 1 placebo recipient) participants. Single-genome amplification (SGA) was used to obtain HIV gene sequences of autologous maternal viruses for pseudovirus production and neutralization sensitivity testing in pre- and postvaccination plasma of HIV-infected pregnant vaccine recipients ( = 6 gp120,  = 1 gp160) and placebo recipients ( = 3). We detected an increase in Env subunit MN gp120-specific IgG binding in the group of vaccine recipients between the first immunization visit and the last visit at delivery ( = 0.027, 2-sided Wilcoxon test). While no difference was observed in the levels of autologous virus neutralization potency between groups, in both groups maternal plasma collected at delivery more effectively neutralized autologous viruses from early pregnancy than late pregnancy. Immunization strategies capable of further enhancing these autologous virus NAb responses in pregnant women will be important to block vertical transmission of HIV. Maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) has effectively reduced but not eliminated the burden of mother-to-child transmission of HIV across the globe, as an estimated 160,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2018. Thus, additional preventive strategies beyond ART will be required to close the remaining gap and end the pediatric HIV epidemic. A maternal active immunization strategy that synergizes with maternal ART could further reduce infant HIV infections. In this study, we found that two historic HIV Env vaccines did not enhance the ability of HIV-infected pregnant women to neutralize autologous viruses. Therefore, next-generation maternal HIV vaccine candidates must employ alternate approaches to achieve potent neutralizing antibody and perhaps nonneutralizing antibody responses to effectively impede vertical virus transmission. Moreover, these approaches must reflect the broad diversity of HIV strains and widespread availability of ART worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00254-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273346PMC
June 2020

Estimating the Timing of Early Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infections: a Comparison between Poisson Fitter and BEAST.

mBio 2020 03 24;11(2). Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

Many HIV prevention strategies are currently under consideration where it is highly informative to know the study participants' times of infection. These can be estimated using viral sequence data sampled early in infection. However, there are several scenarios that, if not addressed, can skew timing estimates. These include multiple transmitted/founder (TF) viruses, APOBEC (apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like)-mediated mutational enrichment, and recombination. Here, we suggest a pipeline to identify these problems and resolve the biases that they introduce. We then compare two modeling strategies to obtain timing estimates from sequence data. The first, Poisson Fitter (PF), is based on a Poisson model of random accumulation of mutations relative to the TF virus (or viruses) that established the infection. The second uses a coalescence-based phylogenetic strategy as implemented in BEAST. The comparison is based on timing predictions using plasma viral RNA (cDNA) sequence data from 28 simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-infected animals for which the exact day of infection is known. In this particular setting, based on nucleotide sequences from samples obtained in early infection, the Poisson method yielded more accurate, more precise, and unbiased estimates for the time of infection than did the explored implementations of BEAST. The inference of the time of infection is a critical parameter in testing the efficacy of clinical interventions in protecting against HIV-1 infection. For example, in clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of passively delivered antibodies (Abs) for preventing infections, accurate time of infection data are essential for discerning levels of the Abs required to confer protection, given the natural Ab decay rate in the human body. In such trials, genetic sequences from early in the infection are regularly sampled from study participants, generally prior to immune selection, when the viral population is still expanding and genetic diversity is low. In this particular setting of early viral growth, the Poisson method is superior to the alternative approach based on coalescent methods. This approach can also be applied in human vaccine trials, where accurate estimates of infection times help ascertain if vaccine-elicited immune protection wanes over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00324-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7157514PMC
March 2020

Maternal Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Can Select for Neutralization-Resistant, Infant-Transmitted/Founder HIV Variants.

mBio 2020 03 10;11(2). Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Each year, >180,000 infants become infected via mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV despite the availability of effective maternal antiretroviral treatments, underlining the need for a maternal HIV vaccine. We characterized 224 maternal HIV envelope (Env)-specific IgG monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) from seven nontransmitting and transmitting HIV-infected U.S. and Malawian mothers and examined their neutralization activities against nontransmitted autologous circulating viruses and infant-transmitted founder (infant-T/F) viruses. Only a small subset of maternal viruses, 3 of 72 (4%), were weakly neutralized by maternal linear V3 epitope-specific IgG MAbs, whereas 6 out of 6 (100%) infant-T/F viruses were neutralization resistant to these V3-specific IgG MAbs. We also show that maternal-plasma broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) responses targeting the V3 glycan supersite in a transmitting woman may have selected for an N332 V3 glycan neutralization-resistant infant-T/F virus. These data have important implications for bNAb-eliciting vaccines and passively administered bNAbs in the setting of MTCT. Efforts to eliminate MTCT of HIV with antiretroviral therapy (ART) have met little success, with >180,000 infant infections each year worldwide. It is therefore likely that additional immunologic strategies that can synergize with ART will be required to eliminate MTCT of HIV. To this end, understanding the role of maternal HIV Env-specific IgG antibodies in the setting of MTCT is crucial. In this study, we found that maternal-plasma broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) responses can select for T/F viruses that initiate infection in infants. We propose that clinical trials testing the efficacy of single bNAb specificities should not include HIV-infected pregnant women, as a single bNAb might select for neutralization-resistant infant-T/F viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00176-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7064758PMC
March 2020

Association between mitochondrial genetic variation and breast cancer risk: The Multiethnic Cohort.

PLoS One 2019 2;14(10):e0222284. Epub 2019 Oct 2.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Background: The mitochondrial genome encodes for thirty-seven proteins, among them thirteen are essential for the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. Inherited variation in mitochondrial genes may influence cancer development through changes in mitochondrial proteins, altering the OXPHOS process and promoting the production of reactive oxidative species.

Methods: To investigate the association between mitochondrial genetic variation and breast cancer risk, we tested 314 mitochondrial SNPs (mtSNPs), capturing four complexes of the mitochondrial OXPHOS pathway and mtSNP groupings for rRNA and tRNA, in 2,723 breast cancer cases and 3,260 controls from the Multiethnic Cohort Study.

Results: We examined the collective set of 314 mtSNPs as well as subsets of mtSNPs grouped by mitochondrial OXPHOS pathway, complexes, and genes, using the sequence kernel association test and adjusting for age, sex, and principal components of global ancestry. We also tested haplogroup associations using unconditional logistic regression and adjusting for the same covariates. Stratified analyses were conducted by self-reported maternal race/ethnicity. No significant mitochondrial OXPHOS pathway, gene, and haplogroup associations were observed in African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians. In European Americans, a global test of all genetic variants of the mitochondrial genome identified an association with breast cancer risk (P = 0.017, q = 0.102). In mtSNP-subset analysis, the gene MT-CO2 (P = 0.001, q = 0.09) in Complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase) and MT-ND2 (P = 0.004, q = 0.19) in Complex I (NADH dehydrogenase (ubiquinone)) were significantly associated with breast cancer risk.

Conclusions: In summary, our findings suggest that collective mitochondrial genetic variation and particularly in the MT-CO2 and MT-ND2 may play a role in breast cancer risk among European Americans. Further replication is warranted in larger populations and future studies should evaluate the contribution of mitochondrial proteins encoded by both the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes to breast cancer risk.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222284PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6774509PMC
March 2020

HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibody Signatures and Application to Epitope-Targeted Vaccine Design.

Cell Host Microbe 2019 01;25(1):59-72.e8

Division of Molecular Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Eliciting HIV-1-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) remains a challenge for vaccine development, and the potential of passively delivered bNAbs for prophylaxis and therapeutics is being explored. We used neutralization data from four large virus panels to comprehensively map viral signatures associated with bNAb sensitivity, including amino acids, hypervariable region characteristics, and clade effects across four different classes of bNAbs. The bNAb signatures defined for the variable loop 2 (V2) epitope region of HIV-1 Env were then employed to inform immunogen design in a proof-of-concept exploration of signature-based epitope targeted (SET) vaccines. V2 bNAb signature-guided mutations were introduced into Env 459C to create a trivalent vaccine, and immunization of guinea pigs with V2-SET vaccines resulted in increased breadth of NAb responses compared with Env 459C alone. These data demonstrate that bNAb signatures can be utilized to engineer HIV-1 Env vaccine immunogens capable of eliciting antibody responses with greater neutralization breadth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2018.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6331341PMC
January 2019

Systematic Analysis of Monoclonal Antibodies against Ebola Virus GP Defines Features that Contribute to Protection.

Cell 2018 08;174(4):938-952.e13

Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

Antibodies are promising post-exposure therapies against emerging viruses, but which antibody features and in vitro assays best forecast protection are unclear. Our international consortium systematically evaluated antibodies against Ebola virus (EBOV) using multidisciplinary assays. For each antibody, we evaluated epitopes recognized on the viral surface glycoprotein (GP) and secreted glycoprotein (sGP), readouts of multiple neutralization assays, fraction of virions left un-neutralized, glycan structures, phagocytic and natural killer cell functions elicited, and in vivo protection in a mouse challenge model. Neutralization and induction of multiple immune effector functions (IEFs) correlated most strongly with protection. Neutralization predominantly occurred via epitopes maintained on endosomally cleaved GP, whereas maximal IEF mapped to epitopes farthest from the viral membrane. Unexpectedly, sGP cross-reactivity did not significantly influence in vivo protection. This comprehensive dataset provides a rubric to evaluate novel antibodies and vaccine responses and a roadmap for therapeutic development for EBOV and related viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.07.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6102396PMC
August 2018

Superinfection and cure of infected cells as mechanisms for hepatitis C virus adaptation and persistence.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 07 9;115(30):E7139-E7148. Epub 2018 Jul 9.

Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545;

RNA viruses exist as a genetically diverse quasispecies with extraordinary ability to adapt to abrupt changes in the host environment. However, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to their rapid adaptation and persistence in vivo are not well studied. Here, we probe hepatitis C virus (HCV) persistence by analyzing clinical samples taken from subjects who were treated with a second-generation HCV protease inhibitor. Frequent longitudinal viral load determinations and large-scale single-genome sequence analyses revealed rapid antiviral resistance development, and surprisingly, dynamic turnover of dominant drug-resistant mutant populations long after treatment cessation. We fitted mathematical models to both the viral load and the viral sequencing data, and the results provided strong support for the critical roles that superinfection and cure of infected cells play in facilitating the rapid turnover and persistence of viral populations. More broadly, our results highlight the importance of considering viral dynamics and competition at the intracellular level in understanding rapid viral adaptation. Thus, we propose a theoretical framework integrating viral and molecular mechanisms to explain rapid viral evolution, resistance, and persistence despite antiviral treatment and host immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1805267115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6065014PMC
July 2018

Tracking HIV-1 recombination to resolve its contribution to HIV-1 evolution in natural infection.

Nat Commun 2018 05 15;9(1):1928. Epub 2018 May 15.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute and Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 27710, USA.

Recombination in HIV-1 is well documented, but its importance in the low-diversity setting of within-host diversification is less understood. Here we develop a novel computational tool (RAPR (Recombination Analysis PRogram)) to enable a detailed view of in vivo viral recombination during early infection, and we apply it to near-full-length HIV-1 genome sequences from longitudinal samples. Recombinant genomes rapidly replace transmitted/founder (T/F) lineages, with a median half-time of 27 days, increasing the genetic complexity of the viral population. We identify recombination hot and cold spots that differ from those observed in inter-subtype recombinants. Furthermore, RAPR analysis of longitudinal samples from an individual with well-characterized neutralizing antibody responses shows that recombination helps carry forward resistance-conferring mutations in the diversifying quasispecies. These findings provide insight into molecular mechanisms by which viral recombination contributes to HIV-1 persistence and immunopathogenesis and have implications for studies of HIV transmission and evolution in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04217-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954121PMC
May 2018

Infant transmitted/founder HIV-1 viruses from peripartum transmission are neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma.

PLoS Pathog 2018 04 19;14(4):e1006944. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Despite extensive genetic diversity of HIV-1 in chronic infection, a single or few maternal virus variants become the founders of an infant's infection. These transmitted/founder (T/F) variants are of particular interest, as a maternal or infant HIV vaccine should raise envelope (Env) specific IgG responses capable of blocking this group of viruses. However, the maternal or infant factors that contribute to selection of infant T/F viruses are not well understood. In this study, we amplified HIV-1 env genes by single genome amplification from 16 mother-infant transmitting pairs from the U.S. pre-antiretroviral era Women Infant Transmission Study (WITS). Infant T/F and representative maternal non-transmitted Env variants from plasma were identified and used to generate pseudoviruses for paired maternal plasma neutralization sensitivity analysis. Eighteen out of 21 (85%) infant T/F Env pseudoviruses were neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma. Yet, all infant T/F viruses were neutralization sensitive to a panel of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies and variably sensitive to heterologous plasma neutralizing antibodies. Also, these infant T/F pseudoviruses were overall more neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma in comparison to pseudoviruses from maternal non-transmitted variants (p = 0.012). Altogether, our findings suggest that autologous neutralization of circulating viruses by maternal plasma antibodies select for neutralization-resistant viruses that initiate peripartum transmission, raising the speculation that enhancement of this response at the end of pregnancy could further reduce infant HIV-1 infection risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006944DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908066PMC
April 2018

Development of broad neutralization activity in simian/human immunodeficiency virus-infected rhesus macaques after long-term infection.

AIDS 2018 03;32(5):555-563

National Engineering Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine, School of Life Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin.

Objective: Nonhuman primates (NHPs) are the only animal model that can be used to evaluate protection efficacy of HIV-1 envelope vaccines. However, whether broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) can be elicited in NHPs infected with simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) has not been fully understood. The objective of this study is to investigate whether broad neutralization activities were developed in SHIV-infected macaques after long-term infection as in humans.

Design: Neutralization breadth and specificities in plasmas from SHIV-infected macaques were determined by analyzing a panel of tier 2 viruses and their mutants.

Methods: Forty-four Chinese macaques infected with SHIV1157ipd3N4, SHIVSF162P3 or SHIVCHN19P4 were followed for 54-321 weeks. Archived plasmas from 19 macaques were used to determine neutralization breadth and specificities against 17 tier 2 envelope-pseudoviruses.

Results: Longitudinal plasma from three SHIVSF162P3-infected macaques and three SHIV1157ipd3N4-infected macaques rarely neutralized viruses (<25%) within 1 year of infection. The neutralization breadth in two SHIV1157ipd3N4-infected macaques significantly increased (≥65%) by year 6. Four of six SHIV1157ipd3N4-infected macaques could neutralize 50-75% viruses, whereas none of macaques infected with SHIVSF162P3 or SHIVCHN19P4 could neutralize more than 25% of viruses after 6 years of infection (P = 0.035). Neutralization specificity analysis showed mutations resistant to bnAbs in V2, V3 or CD4bs regions could abrogate neutralization by year-6 plasma from three SHIV1157ipd3N4-infected macaques.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate that bnAbs targeting common HIV-1 epitopes can be elicited in SHIV1157ipd3N4-infected macaques as in humans after 4-6 years of infection, and SHIV/NHP can serve as an ideal model to study bnAb maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000001724DOI Listing
March 2018

Transmission of Multiple HIV-1 Subtype C Transmitted/founder Viruses into the Same Recipients Was not Determined by Modest Phenotypic Differences.

Sci Rep 2016 12 2;6:38130. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

A severe bottleneck exists during HIV-1 mucosal transmission. However, viral properties that determine HIV-1 transmissibility are not fully elucidated. We identified multiple transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses in six HIV-1-infected subjects by analyzing whole genome sequences. Comparison of biological phenotypes of different T/F viruses from the same individual allowed us to more precisely identify critical determinants for viral transmissibility since they were transmitted under similar conditions. All T/F viruses used coreceptor CCR5, while no T/F viruses used CXCR4 or GPR15. However, the efficiency for different T/F viruses from the same individual to use CCR5 was significantly variable, and the differences were even more significant for usage of coreceptors FPRL1, CCR3 and APJ. Resistance to IFN-α was also different between T/F viruses in 2 of 3 individuals. The relative fitness between T/F viruses from the same subject was highly variable (2-6%). Importantly, the levels of coreceptor usage efficiency, resistance to IFN-α and viral fitness were not associated with proportions of T/F viruses in each individual during acute infection. Our results show that the modest but significant differences in coreceptor usage efficiency, IFN-α sensitivity and viral fitness each alone may not play a critical role in HIV-1 transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep38130DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133561PMC
December 2016

Features of Recently Transmitted HIV-1 Clade C Viruses that Impact Antibody Recognition: Implications for Active and Passive Immunization.

PLoS Pathog 2016 07 19;12(7):e1005742. Epub 2016 Jul 19.

Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

The development of biomedical interventions to reduce acquisition of HIV-1 infection remains a global priority, however their potential effectiveness is challenged by very high HIV-1 envelope diversity. Two large prophylactic trials in high incidence, clade C epidemic regions in southern Africa are imminent; passive administration of the monoclonal antibody VRC01, and active immunization with a clade C modified RV144-like vaccines. We have created a large representative panel of C clade viruses to enable assessment of antibody responses to vaccines and natural infection in Southern Africa, and we investigated the genotypic and neutralization properties of recently transmitted clade C viruses to determine how viral diversity impacted antibody recognition. We further explore the implications of these findings for the potential effectiveness of these trials. A panel of 200 HIV-1 Envelope pseudoviruses was constructed from clade C viruses collected within the first 100 days following infection. Viruses collected pre-seroconversion were significantly more resistant to serum neutralization compared to post-seroconversion viruses (p = 0.001). Over 13 years of the study as the epidemic matured, HIV-1 diversified (p = 0.0009) and became more neutralization resistant to monoclonal antibodies VRC01, PG9 and 4E10. When tested at therapeutic levels (10ug/ml), VRC01 only neutralized 80% of viruses in the panel, although it did exhibit potent neutralization activity against sensitive viruses (IC50 titres of 0.42 μg/ml). The Gp120 amino acid similarity between the clade C panel and candidate C-clade vaccine protein boosts (Ce1086 and TV1) was 77%, which is 8% more distant than between CRF01_AE viruses and the RV144 CRF01_AE immunogen. Furthermore, two vaccine signature sites, K169 in V2 and I307 in V3, associated with reduced infection risk in RV144, occurred less frequently in clade C panel viruses than in CRF01_AE viruses from Thailand. Increased resistance of pre-seroconversion viruses and evidence of antigenic drift highlights the value of using panels of very recently transmitted viruses and suggests that interventions may need to be modified over time to track the changing epidemic. Furthermore, high divergence such as that observed in the older clade C epidemic in southern Africa may impact vaccine efficacy, although the correlates of infection risk are yet to be defined in the clade C setting. Findings from this study of acute/early clade C viruses will aid vaccine development, and enable identification of new broad and potent antibodies to combat the HIV-1 C-clade epidemic in southern Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1005742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4951126PMC
July 2016

No Association between the Mitochondrial Genome and Prostate Cancer Risk: The Multiethnic Cohort.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2016 06 28;25(6):1001-3. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Fremont, California. Stanford Cancer Institute, Palo Alto, California.

Background: Mitochondria are involved in many processes that are central to the life and death of a cell. Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), in particular, is known to be altered in carcinogenesis, leading to an increase in the production of reactive oxidative species and glycolysis, one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. Because of this, genetic variation in the mitochondrial genome, which encodes for part of the OXPHOS pathway, has been suggested to play a role in many cancers, including prostate cancer.

Methods: We comprehensively examined the role of the mitochondrial genome and prostate cancer risk in 4,086 prostate cancer cases and 3,698 controls from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), testing 350 mitochondrial SNPs (mtSNPs) in five racial/ethnic populations-Africans, Asian Americans, Europeans, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians. Logistic regression was conducted to examine single mitochondrial SNP and haplogroup associations. The sequence kernel association test was conducted for gene and pathway analysis.

Results: Eleven mtSNPs and haplogroup N were nominally associated with overall prostate cancer risk at P < 0.05. The mitochondrial DNA-encoded OXPHOS pathway, complexes, and genes were not associated with prostate cancer risk. No significant associations were identified after multiple testing corrections (all FDR q > 0.20).

Conclusions: The mitochondrial genome was not associated with prostate cancer risk in our study of 7,784 subjects from the MEC.

Impact: Our comprehensive study does not support the role of the mitochondrial genome in the risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(6); 1001-3. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4891274PMC
June 2016

SPMM: estimating infection duration of multivariant HIV-1 infections.

Bioinformatics 2016 05 31;32(9):1308-15. Epub 2015 Dec 31.

Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA and.

Motivation: Illustrating how HIV-1 is transmitted and how it evolves in the following weeks is an important step for developing effective vaccination and prevention strategies. It is currently possible through DNA sequencing to account for the diverse array of viral strains within an infected individual. This provides an unprecedented opportunity to pinpoint when each patient was infected and which viruses were transmitted.

Results: Here we develop a mathematical tool for early HIV-1 evolution within a subject whose infection originates either from a single or multiple viral variants. The shifted Poisson mixture model (SPMM) provides a quantitative guideline for segregating viral lineages, which in turn enables us to assess when a subject was infected. The infection duration estimated by SPMM showed a statistically significant linear relationship with that by Fiebig laboratory staging (P = 0.00059) among 37 acutely infected subjects. Our tool provides a functional approach to understanding early genetic diversity, one of the most important parameters for deciphering HIV-1 transmission and predicting the rate of disease progression.

Availability And Implementation: SPMM, webserver, is available at http://www.hayounlee.org/web-tools.html.

Contact: [email protected]

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btv749DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4907399PMC
May 2016

Longitudinal Antigenic Sequences and Sites from Intra-Host Evolution (LASSIE) Identifies Immune-Selected HIV Variants.

Viruses 2015 Oct 21;7(10):5443-75. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Within-host genetic sequencing from samples collected over time provides a dynamic view of how viruses evade host immunity. Immune-driven mutations might stimulate neutralization breadth by selecting antibodies adapted to cycles of immune escape that generate within-subject epitope diversity. Comprehensive identification of immune-escape mutations is experimentally and computationally challenging. With current technology, many more viral sequences can readily be obtained than can be tested for binding and neutralization, making down-selection necessary. Typically, this is done manually, by picking variants that represent different time-points and branches on a phylogenetic tree. Such strategies are likely to miss many relevant mutations and combinations of mutations, and to be redundant for other mutations. Longitudinal Antigenic Sequences and Sites from Intrahost Evolution (LASSIE) uses transmitted founder loss to identify virus "hot-spots" under putative immune selection and chooses sequences that represent recurrent mutations in selected sites. LASSIE favors earliest sequences in which mutations arise. With well-characterized longitudinal Env sequences, we confirmed selected sites were concentrated in antibody contacts and selected sequences represented diverse antigenic phenotypes. Practical applications include rapidly identifying immune targets under selective pressure within a subject, selecting minimal sets of reagents for immunological assays that characterize evolving antibody responses, and for immunogens in polyvalent "cocktail" vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v7102881DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632389PMC
October 2015

Single-Genome Sequencing of Hepatitis C Virus in Donor-Recipient Pairs Distinguishes Modes and Models of Virus Transmission and Early Diversification.

J Virol 2016 01 14;90(1):152-66. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Unlabelled: Despite the recent development of highly effective anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs, the global burden of this pathogen remains immense. Control or eradication of HCV will likely require the broad application of antiviral drugs and development of an effective vaccine. A precise molecular identification of transmitted/founder (T/F) HCV genomes that lead to productive clinical infection could play a critical role in vaccine research, as it has for HIV-1. However, the replication schema of these two RNA viruses differ substantially, as do viral responses to innate and adaptive host defenses. These differences raise questions as to the certainty of T/F HCV genome inferences, particularly in cases where multiple closely related sequence lineages have been observed. To clarify these issues and distinguish between competing models of early HCV diversification, we examined seven cases of acute HCV infection in humans and chimpanzees, including three examples of virus transmission between linked donors and recipients. Using single-genome sequencing (SGS) of plasma vRNA, we found that inferred T/F sequences in recipients were identical to viral sequences in their respective donors. Early in infection, HCV genomes generally evolved according to a simple model of random evolution where the coalescent corresponded to the T/F sequence. Closely related sequence lineages could be explained by high multiplicity infection from a donor whose viral sequences had undergone a pretransmission bottleneck due to treatment, immune selection, or recent infection. These findings validate SGS, together with mathematical modeling and phylogenetic analysis, as a novel strategy to infer T/F HCV genome sequences.

Importance: Despite the recent development of highly effective, interferon-sparing anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs, the global burden of this pathogen remains immense. Control or eradication of HCV will likely require the broad application of antiviral drugs and the development of an effective vaccine, which could be facilitated by a precise molecular identification of transmitted/founder (T/F) viral genomes and their progeny. We used single-genome sequencing to show that inferred HCV T/F sequences in recipients were identical to viral sequences in their respective donors and that viral genomes generally evolved early in infection according to a simple model of random sequence evolution. Altogether, the findings validate T/F genome inferences and illustrate how T/F sequence identification can illuminate studies of HCV transmission, immunopathogenesis, drug resistance development, and vaccine protection, including sieving effects on breakthrough virus strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02156-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702571PMC
January 2016

Human Non-neutralizing HIV-1 Envelope Monoclonal Antibodies Limit the Number of Founder Viruses during SHIV Mucosal Infection in Rhesus Macaques.

PLoS Pathog 2015 Aug 3;11(8):e1005042. Epub 2015 Aug 3.

Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand.

HIV-1 mucosal transmission begins with virus or virus-infected cells moving through mucus across mucosal epithelium to infect CD4+ T cells. Although broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are the type of HIV-1 antibodies that are most likely protective, they are not induced with current vaccine candidates. In contrast, antibodies that do not neutralize primary HIV-1 strains in the TZM-bl infection assay are readily induced by current vaccine candidates and have also been implicated as secondary correlates of decreased HIV-1 risk in the RV144 vaccine efficacy trial. Here, we have studied the capacity of anti-Env monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against either the immunodominant region of gp41 (7B2 IgG1), the first constant region of gp120 (A32 IgG1), or the third variable loop (V3) of gp120 (CH22 IgG1) to modulate in vivo rectal mucosal transmission of a high-dose simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-BaL) in rhesus macaques. 7B2 IgG1 or A32 IgG1, each containing mutations to enhance Fc function, was administered passively to rhesus macaques but afforded no protection against productive clinical infection while the positive control antibody CH22 IgG1 prevented infection in 4 of 6 animals. Enumeration of transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses revealed that passive infusion of each of the three antibodies significantly reduced the number of T/F genomes. Thus, some antibodies that bind HIV-1 Env but fail to neutralize virus in traditional neutralization assays may limit the number of T/F viruses involved in transmission without leading to enhancement of viral infection. For one of these mAbs, gp41 mAb 7B2, we provide the first co-crystal structure in complex with a common cyclical loop motif demonstrated to be critical for infection by other retroviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1005042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523205PMC
August 2015

Comparison of Immunogenicity in Rhesus Macaques of Transmitted-Founder, HIV-1 Group M Consensus, and Trivalent Mosaic Envelope Vaccines Formulated as a DNA Prime, NYVAC, and Envelope Protein Boost.

J Virol 2015 Jun 8;89(12):6462-80. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Unlabelled: An effective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine must induce protective antibody responses, as well as CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses, that can be effective despite extraordinary diversity of HIV-1. The consensus and mosaic immunogens are complete but artificial proteins, computationally designed to elicit immune responses with improved cross-reactive breadth, to attempt to overcome the challenge of global HIV diversity. In this study, we have compared the immunogenicity of a transmitted-founder (T/F) B clade Env (B.1059), a global group M consensus Env (Con-S), and a global trivalent mosaic Env protein in rhesus macaques. These antigens were delivered using a DNA prime-recombinant NYVAC (rNYVAC) vector and Env protein boost vaccination strategy. While Con-S Env was a single sequence, mosaic immunogens were a set of three Envs optimized to include the most common forms of potential T cell epitopes. Both Con-S and mosaic sequences retained common amino acids encompassed by both antibody and T cell epitopes and were central to globally circulating strains. Mosaics and Con-S Envs expressed as full-length proteins bound well to a number of neutralizing antibodies with discontinuous epitopes. Also, both consensus and mosaic immunogens induced significantly higher gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot) responses than B.1059 immunogen. Immunization with these proteins, particularly Con-S, also induced significantly higher neutralizing antibodies to viruses than B.1059 Env, primarily to tier 1 viruses. Both Con-S and mosaics stimulated more potent CD8-T cell responses against heterologous Envs than did B.1059. Both antibody and cellular data from this study strengthen the concept of using in silico-designed centralized immunogens for global HIV-1 vaccine development strategies.

Importance: There is an increasing appreciation for the importance of vaccine-induced anti-Env antibody responses for preventing HIV-1 acquisition. This nonhuman primate study demonstrates that in silico-designed global HIV-1 immunogens, designed for a human clinical trial, are capable of eliciting not only T lymphocyte responses but also potent anti-Env antibody responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00383-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4474309PMC
June 2015

A multivalent clade C HIV-1 Env trimer cocktail elicits a higher magnitude of neutralizing antibodies than any individual component.

J Virol 2015 Mar 24;89(5):2507-19. Epub 2014 Dec 24.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Unlabelled: The sequence diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) presents a formidable challenge to the generation of an HIV-1 vaccine. One strategy to address such sequence diversity and to improve the magnitude of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) is to utilize multivalent mixtures of HIV-1 envelope (Env) immunogens. Here we report the generation and characterization of three novel, acute clade C HIV-1 Env gp140 trimers (459C, 405C, and 939C), each with unique antigenic properties. Among the single trimers tested, 459C elicited the most potent NAb responses in vaccinated guinea pigs. We evaluated the immunogenicity of various mixtures of clade C Env trimers and found that a quadrivalent cocktail of clade C trimers elicited a greater magnitude of NAbs against a panel of tier 1A and 1B viruses than any single clade C trimer alone, demonstrating that the mixture had an advantage over all individual components of the cocktail. These data suggest that vaccination with a mixture of clade C Env trimers represents a promising strategy to augment vaccine-elicited NAb responses.

Importance: It is currently not known how to generate potent NAbs to the diverse circulating HIV-1 Envs by vaccination. One strategy to address this diversity is to utilize mixtures of different soluble HIV-1 envelope proteins. In this study, we generated and characterized three distinct, novel, acute clade C soluble trimers. We vaccinated guinea pigs with single trimers as well as mixtures of trimers, and we found that a mixture of four trimers elicited a greater magnitude of NAbs than any single trimer within the mixture. The results of this study suggest that further development of Env trimer cocktails is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.03331-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325749PMC
March 2015

Fine-mapping IGF1 and prostate cancer risk in African Americans: the multiethnic cohort study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014 Sep 5;23(9):1928-32. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Fremont, California.

Genetic variation at insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) has been linked to prostate cancer risk. However, the specific predisposing variants have not been identified. In this study, we fine-mapped the IGF1 locus for prostate cancer risk in African Americans. We conducted targeted Roche GS-Junior 454 resequencing of a 156-kb region of IGF1 in 80 African American aggressive prostate cancer cases. Three hundred and thirty-four IGF1 SNPs were examined for their association with prostate cancer risk in 1,000 African American prostate cancer cases and 991 controls. The top associated SNP in African Americans, rs148371593, was examined in an additional 3,465 prostate cancer cases and 3,425 controls of non-African American ancestry-European Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians. The overall association of 334 IGF1 SNPs and prostate cancer risk was assessed using logistic kernel-machine methods. The association between each SNP and prostate cancer risk was evaluated through unconditional logistic regression. A false discovery rate threshold of q < 0.1 was used to determine statistical significance of associations. We identified 8 novel IGF1 SNPs. The cumulative effect of the 334 IGF1 SNPs was not associated with prostate cancer risk (P = 0.13) in African Americans. Twenty SNPs were nominally associated with prostate cancer at P < 0.05. The top associated SNP among African Americans, rs148371593 [minor allele frequency (MAF) = 0.03; P = 0.0014; q > 0.1], did not reach our criterion of statistical significance. This polymorphism was rare in non-African Americans (MAF < 0.003) and was not associated with prostate cancer risk (P = 0.98). Our findings do not support the role of IGF1 variants and prostate cancer risk among African Americans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409949PMC
September 2014

Cross-reactive potential of human T-lymphocyte responses in HIV-1 infection.

Vaccine 2014 Jun 14;32(31):3995-4000. Epub 2014 May 14.

Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States. Electronic address:

An effective HIV-1 vaccine should elicit sufficient breadth of immune recognition to protect against the genetically diverse forms of the circulating virus. Evaluation of the breadth and magnitude of cellular immune responses to epitope variants is important for HIV-1 vaccine assessment. We compared HIV-1 Gag-specific T-lymphocyte responses in 20 HIV-1-infected individuals representing two different HIV-1 subtypes, B and C. By assessing T lymphocyte responses with peptides based on natural HIV-1 variants, we found evidence for limited cross-reactivity and significantly enhanced within-clade responses among clade B-infected subjects, and not among clade C-infected subjects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4084750PMC
June 2014
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