Publications by authors named "Sanne Brun Jensen"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Evolutionary Pathways to Persistence of Highly Fit and Resistant Hepatitis C Virus Protease Inhibitor Escape Variants.

Hepatology 2019 09 5;70(3):771-787. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, and Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Protease inhibitors (PIs) are important components of treatment regimens for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, emergence and persistence of antiviral resistance could reduce their efficacy. Thus, defining resistance determinants is highly relevant for efforts to control HCV. Here, we investigated patterns of PI resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) for the major HCV genotypes and viral determinants for persistence of key RASs. We identified protease position 156 as a RAS hotspot for genotype 1-4, but not 5 and 6, escape variants by resistance profiling using PIs grazoprevir and paritaprevir in infectious cell culture systems. However, except for genotype 3, engineered 156-RASs were not maintained. For genotypes 1 and 2, persistence of 156-RASs depended on genome-wide substitution networks, co-selected under continued PI treatment and identified by next-generation sequencing with substitution linkage and haplotype reconstruction. Persistence of A156T for genotype 1 relied on compensatory substitutions increasing replication and assembly. For genotype 2, initial selection of A156V facilitated transition to 156L, persisting without compensatory substitutions. The developed genotype 1, 2, and 3 variants with persistent 156-RASs had exceptionally high fitness and resistance to grazoprevir, paritaprevir, glecaprevir, and voxilaprevir. A156T dominated in genotype 1 glecaprevir and voxilaprevir escape variants, and pre-existing A156T facilitated genotype 1 escape from clinically relevant combination treatments with grazoprevir/elbasvir and glecaprevir/pibrentasvir. In genotype 1 infected patients with treatment failure and 156-RASs, we observed genome-wide selection of substitutions under treatment. Conclusion: Comprehensive PI resistance profiling for HCV genotypes 1-6 revealed 156-RASs as key determinants of high-level resistance across clinically relevant PIs. We obtained in vitro proof of concept for persistence of highly fit genotype 1-3 156-variants, which might pose a threat to clinically relevant combination treatments.
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September 2019

HCV genotype 1-6 NS3 residue 80 substitutions impact protease inhibitor activity and promote viral escape.

J Hepatol 2019 03 3;70(3):388-397. Epub 2018 Nov 3.

Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program (CO-HEP), Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre and Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Protease inhibitors (PIs) are of central importance in the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HCV NS3 protease (NS3P) position 80 displays polymorphisms associated with resistance to the PI simeprevir for HCV genotype 1a. We investigated the effects of position-80-substitutions on fitness and PI-resistance for HCV genotypes 1-6, and analyzed evolutionary mechanisms underlying viral escape mediated by pre-existing Q80K.

Methods: The fitness of infectious NS3P recombinants of HCV genotypes 1-6, with engineered position-80-substitutions, was studied by comparison of viral spread kinetics in Huh-7.5 cells in culture. Median effective concentration (EC50) and fold resistance for PIs simeprevir, asunaprevir, paritaprevir, grazoprevir, glecaprevir and voxilaprevir were determined in short-term treatment assays. Viral escape was studied by long-term treatment of genotype 1a recombinants with simeprevir, grazoprevir, glecaprevir and voxilaprevir and of genotype 3a recombinants with glecaprevir and voxilaprevir, next generation sequencing, NS3P substitution linkage and haplotype analysis.

Results: Among tested PIs, only glecaprevir and voxilaprevir showed pan-genotypic activity against the original genotype 1-6 culture viruses. Variants with position-80-substitutions were all viable, but fitness depended on the specific substitution and the HCV isolate. Q80K conferred resistance to simeprevir across genotypes but had only minor effects on the activity of the remaining PIs. For genotype 1a, pre-existing Q80K mediated accelerated escape from simeprevir, grazoprevir and to a lesser extent glecaprevir, but not voxilaprevir. For genotype 3a, Q80K mediated accelerated escape from glecaprevir and voxilaprevir. Escape was mediated by rapid and genotype-, PI- and PI-concentration-dependent co-selection of clinically relevant resistance associated substitutions.

Conclusions: Position-80-substitutions had relatively low fitness cost and the potential to promote HCV escape from clinically relevant PIs in vitro, despite having a minor impact on results in classical short-term resistance assays.

Lay Summary: Among all clinically relevant hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors, voxilaprevir and glecaprevir showed the highest and most uniform activity against cell culture infectious hepatitis C virus with genotype 1-6 proteases. Naturally occurring amino acid changes at protease position 80 had low fitness cost and influenced sensitivity to simeprevir, but not to other protease inhibitors in short-term treatment assays. Nevertheless, the pre-existing change Q80K had the potential to promote viral escape from protease inhibitors during long-term treatment by rapid co-selection of additional resistance changes, detected by next generation sequencing.
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March 2019