Publications by authors named "Zandrea Ambrose"

41 Publications

Disassembling the Nature of Capsid: Biochemical, Genetic, and Imaging Approaches to Assess HIV-1 Capsid Functions.

Viruses 2021 Nov 7;13(11). Epub 2021 Nov 7.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) capsid and its disassembly, or capsid uncoating, has remained an active area of study over the past several decades. Our understanding of the HIV-1 capsid as solely a protective shell has since shifted with discoveries linking it to other complex replication events. The interplay of the HIV-1 capsid with reverse transcription, nuclear import, and integration has led to an expansion of knowledge of capsid functionality. Coincident with advances in microscopy, cell, and biochemistry assays, several models of capsid disassembly have been proposed, in which it occurs in either the cytoplasmic, nuclear envelope, or nuclear regions of the cell. Here, we discuss how the understanding of the HIV-1 capsid has evolved and the key methods that made these discoveries possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v13112237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8618418PMC
November 2021

CG Dinucleotide Removal in Bioluminescent and Fluorescent Reporters Improves HIV-1 Replication and Reporter Gene Expression for Dual Imaging in Humanized Mice.

J Virol 2021 09 9;95(19):e0044921. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburghgrid.21925.3d School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Visualizing the transmission and dissemination of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in real time in humanized mouse models is a robust tool to investigate viral replication during treatments and in tissue reservoirs. However, the stability and expression of HIV-1 reporter genes are obstacles for long-term serial imaging . Two replication-competent CCR5-tropic HIV-1 reporter constructs were created that encode either nanoluciferase (nLuc) or a nearinfrared fluorescent protein (iRFP) upstream of . HIV-1 reporter virus replication and reporter gene expression was measured in cell culture and in humanized mice. While reporter gene expression correlated initially with plasma viremia, expression decreased after 4 to 5 weeks despite high plasma viremia. The reporter genes were codon optimized to remove cytosine/guanine (CG) dinucleotides, and new CO-nLuc and CO-iRFP viruses were reconstructed. Removal of CG dinucleotides in HIV-1 reporter viruses improved replication and reporter expression and . Both codon-optimized reporter viruses could be visualized during coinfection and reporter gene expression during treatment failure preceded detection of plasma viremia. While the dynamic range of CO-iRFP HIV-1 was lower than that of CO-nLuc HIV-1, both viruses could have utility in studying and visualizing HIV-1 infection in humanized mice. Animal models are important for studying HIV-1 pathogenesis and treatments. We developed two viruses each encoding a reporter gene that can be expressed in cells after infection. This study shows that HIV-1 infection can be visualized by noninvasive, whole-body imaging in mice with human immune cells over time by reporter expression. We improved reporter expression to reflect HIV-1 replication and showed that two viral variants can be tracked over time in the same animal and can predict failure of antiretroviral therapy to suppress virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00449-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8428378PMC
September 2021

Cytoplasmic CPSF6 Regulates HIV-1 Capsid Trafficking and Infection in a Cyclophilin A-Dependent Manner.

mBio 2021 03 23;12(2). Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) capsid binds host proteins during infection, including cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 6 (CPSF6) and cyclophilin A (CypA). We observe that HIV-1 infection induces higher-order CPSF6 formation, and capsid-CPSF6 complexes cotraffic on microtubules. CPSF6-capsid complex trafficking is impacted by capsid alterations that reduce CPSF6 binding or by excess cytoplasmic CPSF6 expression, both of which are associated with decreased HIV-1 infection. Higher-order CPSF6 complexes bind and disrupt HIV-1 capsid assemblies Disruption of HIV-1 capsid binding to CypA leads to increased CPSF6 binding and altered capsid trafficking, resulting in reduced infectivity. Our data reveal an interplay between CPSF6 and CypA that is important for cytoplasmic capsid trafficking and HIV-1 infection. We propose that CypA prevents HIV-1 capsid from prematurely engaging cytoplasmic CPSF6 and that differences in CypA cellular localization and innate immunity may explain variations in HIV-1 capsid trafficking and uncoating in CD4 T cells and macrophages. HIV is the causative agent of AIDS, which has no cure. The protein shell that encases the viral genome, the capsid, is critical for HIV replication in cells at multiple steps. HIV capsid has been shown to interact with multiple cell proteins during movement to the cell nucleus in a poorly understood process that may differ during infection of different cell types. In this study, we show that premature or too much binding of one human protein, cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 6 (CPSF6), disrupts the ability of the capsid to deliver the viral genome to the cell nucleus. Another human protein, cyclophilin A (CypA), can shield HIV capsid from premature binding to CPSF6, which can differ in CD4 T cells and macrophages. Better understanding of how HIV infects cells will allow better drugs to prevent or inhibit infection and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.03142-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092277PMC
March 2021

Permeability of the HIV-1 capsid to metabolites modulates viral DNA synthesis.

PLoS Biol 2020 12 17;18(12):e3001015. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, United States of America.

Reverse transcription, an essential event in the HIV-1 life cycle, requires deoxynucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs) to fuel DNA synthesis, thus requiring penetration of dNTPs into the viral capsid. The central cavity of the capsid protein (CA) hexamer reveals itself as a plausible channel that allows the passage of dNTPs into assembled capsids. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism of nucleotide import into the capsid remains unknown. Employing all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, we established that cooperative binding between nucleotides inside a CA hexamer cavity results in energetically favorable conditions for passive translocation of dNTPs into the HIV-1 capsid. Furthermore, binding of the host cell metabolite inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) enhances dNTP import, while binding of synthesized molecules like benzenehexacarboxylic acid (BHC) inhibits it. The enhancing effect on reverse transcription by IP6 and the consequences of interactions between CA and nucleotides were corroborated using atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and virological assays. Collectively, our results provide an atomistic description of the permeability of the HIV-1 capsid to small molecules and reveal a novel mechanism for the involvement of metabolites in HIV-1 capsid stabilization, nucleotide import, and reverse transcription.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775124PMC
December 2020

SIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis synergy within the granuloma accelerates the reactivation pattern of latent tuberculosis.

PLoS Pathog 2020 07 30;16(7):e1008413. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Human immunodeficiency virus infection is the most common risk factor for severe forms of tuberculosis (TB), regardless of CD4 T cell count. Using a well-characterized cynomolgus macaque model of human TB, we compared radiographic, immunologic and microbiologic characteristics of early (subclinical) reactivation of latent M. tuberculosis (Mtb) infection among animals subsequently infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or who underwent anti-CD4 depletion by a depletion antibody. CD4 depleted animals had significantly fewer CD4 T cells within granulomas compared to Mtb/SIV co-infected and Mtb-only control animals. After 2 months of treatment, subclinical reactivation occurred at similar rates among CD4 depleted (5 of 7 animals) and SIV infected animals (4 of 8 animals). However, SIV-induced reactivation was associated with more dissemination of lung granulomas that were permissive to Mtb growth resulting in greater bacterial burden within granulomas compared to CD4 depleted reactivators. Granulomas from Mtb/SIV animals displayed a more robust T cell activation profile (IFN-α, IFN-γ, TNF, IL-17, IL-2, IL-10, IL-4 and granzyme B) compared to CD4 depleted animals and controls though these effectors did not protect against reactivation or dissemination, but instead may be related to increased viral and/or Mtb antigens. SIV replication within the granuloma was associated with reactivation, greater overall Mtb growth and reduced Mtb killing resulting in greater overall Mtb burden. These data support that SIV disrupts protective immune responses against latent Mtb infection beyond the loss of CD4 T cells, and that synergy between SIV and Mtb occurs within granulomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7419014PMC
July 2020

Long-Acting Rilpivirine (RPV) Preexposure Prophylaxis Does Not Inhibit Vaginal Transmission of RPV-Resistant HIV-1 or Select for High-Frequency Drug Resistance in Humanized Mice.

J Virol 2020 03 31;94(8). Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

As a long-acting formulation of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor rilpivirine (RPV LA) has been proposed for use as preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and the prevalence of transmitted RPV-resistant viruses can be relatively high, we evaluated the efficacy of RPV LA to inhibit vaginal transmission of RPV-resistant HIV-1 in humanized mice. Vaginal challenges of wild-type (WT), Y181C, and Y181V HIV-1 were performed in mice left untreated or after RPV PrEP. Plasma viremia was measured for 7 to 10 weeks, and single-genome sequencing was performed on plasma HIV-1 RNA in mice infected during PrEP. RPV LA significantly prevented vaginal transmission of WT HIV-1 and Y181C HIV-1, which is 3-fold resistant to RPV. However, it did not prevent transmission of Y181V HIV-1, which has 30-fold RPV resistance in the viruses used for this study. RPV LA did delay WT HIV-1 dissemination in infected animals until genital and plasma RPV concentrations waned. Animals that became infected despite RPV LA PrEP did not acquire new RPV-resistant mutations above frequencies in untreated mice or untreated people living with HIV-1, and the mutations detected conferred low-level resistance. These data suggest that high, sustained concentrations of RPV were required to inhibit vaginal transmission of HIV-1 with little or no resistance to RPV but could not inhibit virus with high resistance. HIV-1 did not develop high-level or high-frequency RPV resistance in the majority of mice infected after RPV LA treatment. However, the impact of low-frequency RPV resistance on virologic outcome during subsequent antiretroviral therapy still is unclear. The antiretroviral drug rilpivirine was developed into a long-acting formulation (RPV LA) to improve adherence for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV-1 transmission. A concern is that RPV LA will not inhibit transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 and may select for drug-resistant virus. In female humanized mice, we found that RPV LA inhibited vaginal transmission of WT or 3-fold RPV-resistant HIV-1 but not virus with 30-fold RPV resistance. In animals that became infected despite RPV LA PrEP, WT HIV-1 dissemination was delayed until genital and plasma RPV concentrations waned. RPV resistance was detected at similar low frequencies in untreated and PrEP-treated mice that became infected. These results indicate the importance of maintaining RPV at a sustained threshold after virus exposure to prevent dissemination of HIV-1 after vaginal infection and low-frequency resistance mutations conferred low-level resistance, suggesting that RPV resistance is difficult to develop after HIV-1 infection during RPV LA PrEP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01912-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7108851PMC
March 2020

AutoCLEM: An Automated Workflow for Correlative Live-Cell Fluorescence Microscopy and Cryo-Electron Tomography.

Sci Rep 2019 12 16;9(1):19207. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA.

Correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) combines the strengths of both light and electron imaging modalities and enables linking of biological spatiotemporal information from live-cell fluorescence light microscopy (fLM) to high-resolution cellular ultra-structures from cryo-electron microscopy and tomography (cryoEM/ET). This has been previously achieved by using fLM signals to localize the regions of interest under cryogenic conditions. The correlation process, however, is often tedious and time-consuming with low throughput and limited accuracy, because multiple correlation steps at different length scales are largely carried out manually. Here, we present an experimental workflow, AutoCLEM, which overcomes the existing limitations and improves the performance and throughput of CLEM methods, and associated software. The AutoCLEM system encompasses a high-speed confocal live-cell imaging module to acquire an automated fLM grid atlas that is linked to the cryoEM grid atlas, followed by cryofLM imaging after freezing. The fLM coordinates of the targeted areas are automatically converted to cryoEM/ET and refined using fluorescent fiducial beads. This AutoCLEM workflow significantly accelerates the correlation efficiency between live-cell fluorescence imaging and cryoEM/ET structural analysis, as demonstrated by visualizing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) interacting with host cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55766-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6915765PMC
December 2019

A Novel Phenotype Links HIV-1 Capsid Stability to cGAS-Mediated DNA Sensing.

J Virol 2019 08 30;93(16). Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, New York, New York, USA

The HIV-1 capsid executes essential functions that are regulated by capsid stability and host factors. In contrast to increasing knowledge on functional roles of capsid-interacting host proteins during postentry steps, less is known about capsid stability and its impact on intracellular events. Here, using the antiviral compound PF-3450074 (PF74) as a probe for capsid function, we uncovered a novel phenotype of capsid stability that has a profound effect on innate sensing of viral DNA by the DNA sensor cGAS. A single mutation, R143A, in the capsid protein conferred resistance to high concentrations of PF74, without affecting capsid binding to PF74. A cell-free assay showed that the R143A mutant partially counteracted the capsid-destabilizing activity of PF74, pointing to capsid stabilization as a resistance mechanism for the R143A mutant. In monocytic THP-1 cells, the R143A virus, but not the wild-type virus, suppressed cGAS-dependent innate immune activation. These results suggest that capsid stabilization improves the shielding of viral DNA from innate sensing. We found that a naturally occurring transmitted founder (T/F) variant shares the same properties as the R143A mutant with respect to PF74 resistance and DNA sensing. Imaging assays revealed delayed uncoating kinetics of this T/F variant and the R143A mutant. All these phenotypes of this T/F variant were controlled by a genetic polymorphism located at the trimeric interface between capsid hexamers, thus linking these capsid-dependent properties. Overall, this work functionally connects capsid stability to innate sensing of viral DNA and reveals naturally occurring phenotypic variation in HIV-1 capsid stability. The HIV-1 capsid, which is made from individual viral capsid proteins (CA), is a target for a number of antiviral compounds, including the small-molecule inhibitor PF74. In the present study, we utilized PF74 to identify a transmitted/founder (T/F) strain that shows increased capsid stability. Interestingly, PF74-resistant variants prevented cGAS-dependent innate immune activation under a condition where the other T/F strains induced type I interferon. These observations thus reveal a new CA-specific phenotype that couples capsid stability to viral DNA recognition by cytosolic DNA sensors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00706-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675898PMC
August 2019

Two Coselected Distal Mutations in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase (RT) Alter Susceptibility to Nonnucleoside RT Inhibitors and Nucleoside Analogs.

J Virol 2019 06 15;93(11). Epub 2019 May 15.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Two mutations, G112D and M230I, were selected in the reverse transcriptase (RT) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) by a novel nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). G112D is located near the HIV-1 polymerase active site; M230I is located near the hydrophobic region where NNRTIs bind. Thus, M230I could directly interfere with NNRTI binding but G112D could not. Biochemical and virological assays were performed to analyze the effects of these mutations individually and in combination. M230I alone caused a reduction in susceptibility to NNRTIs, while G112D alone did not. The G112D/M230I double mutant was less susceptible to NNRTIs than was M230I alone. In contrast, both mutations affected the ability of RT to incorporate nucleoside analogs. We suggest that the mutations interact with each other via the bound nucleic acid substrate; the nucleic acid forms part of the polymerase active site, which is near G112D. The positioning of the nucleic acid is influenced by its interactions with the "primer grip" region and could be influenced by the M230I mutation. Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is highly successful, drug-resistant variants can arise that blunt the efficacy of ART. New inhibitors that are broadly effective against known drug-resistant variants are needed, although such compounds might select for novel resistance mutations that affect the sensitivity of the virus to other compounds. Compound 13 selects for resistance mutations that differ from traditional NNRTI resistance mutations. These mutations cause increased sensitivity to NRTIs, such as AZT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00224-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6532099PMC
June 2019

CA Mutation N57A Has Distinct Strain-Specific HIV-1 Capsid Uncoating and Infectivity Phenotypes.

J Virol 2019 05 17;93(9). Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

The ability of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) to transduce nondividing cells is key to infecting terminally differentiated macrophages, which can serve as a long-term reservoir of HIV-1 infection. The mutation N57A in the viral CA protein renders HIV-1 cell cycle dependent, allowing examination of HIV-1 infection of nondividing cells. Here, we show that the N57A mutation confers a postentry infectivity defect that significantly differs in magnitude between the common lab-adapted molecular clones HIV-1 (>10-fold) and HIV-1 (2- to 5-fold) in multiple human cell lines and primary CD4 T cells. Capsid permeabilization and reverse transcription are altered when N57A is incorporated into HIV-1 but not HIV-1 The N57A infectivity defect is significantly exacerbated in both virus strains in the presence of cyclosporine (CsA), indicating that N57A infectivity is dependent upon CA interacting with host factor cyclophilin A (CypA). Adaptation of N57A HIV-1 selected for a second CA mutation, G94D, which rescued the N57A infectivity defect in HIV-1 but not HIV-1 The rescue of N57A by G94D in HIV-1 is abrogated by CsA treatment in some cell types, demonstrating that this rescue is CypA dependent. An examination of over 40,000 HIV-1 CA sequences revealed that the four amino acids that differ between HIV-1 and HIV-1 CA are polymorphic, and the residues at these positions in the two strains are widely prevalent in clinical isolates. Overall, a few polymorphic amino acid differences between two closely related HIV-1 molecular clones affect the phenotype of capsid mutants in different cell types. The specific mechanisms by which HIV-1 infects nondividing cells are unclear. A mutation in the HIV-1 capsid protein abolishes the ability of the virus to infect nondividing cells, serving as a tool to examine cell cycle dependence of HIV-1 infection. We have shown that two widely used HIV-1 molecular clones exhibit significantly different N57A infectivity phenotypes due to fewer than a handful of CA amino acid differences and that these clones are both represented in HIV-infected individuals. As such minor differences in closely related HIV-1 strains may impart significant infectivity differences, careful consideration should be given to drawing conclusions from one particular HIV-1 clone. This study highlights the potential for significant variation in results with the use of multiple strains and possible unanticipated effects of natural polymorphisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00214-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6475785PMC
May 2019

Truncated CPSF6 Forms Higher-Order Complexes That Bind and Disrupt HIV-1 Capsid.

J Virol 2018 07 13;92(13). Epub 2018 Jun 13.

Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 6 (CPSF6) is a human protein that binds HIV-1 capsid and mediates nuclear transport and integration targeting of HIV-1 preintegration complexes. Truncation of the protein at its C-terminal nuclear-targeting arginine/serine-rich (RS) domain produces a protein, CPSF6-358, that potently inhibits HIV-1 infection by targeting the capsid and inhibiting nuclear entry. To understand the molecular mechanism behind this restriction, the interaction between CPSF6-358 and HIV-1 capsid was characterized using and assays. Purified CPSF6-358 protein formed oligomers and bound -assembled wild-type (WT) capsid protein (CA) tubes, but not CA tubes containing a mutation in the putative binding site of CPSF6. Intriguingly, binding of CPSF6-358 oligomers to WT CA tubes physically disrupted the tubular assemblies into small fragments. Furthermore, fixed- and live-cell imaging showed that stably expressed CPSF6-358 forms cytoplasmic puncta upon WT HIV-1 infection and leads to capsid permeabilization. These events did not occur when the HIV-1 capsid contained a mutation known to prevent CPSF6 binding, nor did they occur in the presence of a small-molecule inhibitor of capsid binding to CPSF6-358. Together, our biochemical and transmission electron microscopy data and intracellular imaging results provide the first direct evidence for an oligomeric nature of CPSF6-358 and suggest a plausible mechanism for restriction of HIV-1 infection by CPSF6-358. After entry into cells, the HIV-1 capsid, which contains the viral genome, interacts with numerous host cell factors to facilitate crucial events required for replication, including uncoating. One such host cell factor, called CPSF6, is predominantly located in the cell nucleus and interacts with HIV-1 capsid. The interaction between CA and CPSF6 is critical during HIV-1 replication Truncation of CPSF6 leads to its localization to the cell cytoplasm and inhibition of HIV-1 infection. Here, we determined that truncated CPSF6 protein forms large higher-order complexes that bind directly to HIV-1 capsid, leading to its disruption. Truncated CPSF6 expression in cells leads to premature capsid uncoating that is detrimental to HIV-1 infection. Our study provides the first direct evidence for an oligomeric nature of truncated CPSF6 and insights into the highly regulated process of HIV-1 capsid uncoating.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00368-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6002704PMC
July 2018

Interferon-Inducible CD169/Siglec1 Attenuates Anti-HIV-1 Effects of Alpha Interferon.

J Virol 2017 11 13;91(21). Epub 2017 Oct 13.

Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

A hallmark of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is chronic immune activation concomitant with type I interferon (IFN) production. Although type I IFN induces an antiviral state in many cell types, HIV-1 can replicate via mechanisms that have remained unclear. We have recently identified a type I IFN-inducible protein, CD169, as the HIV-1 attachment factor on dendritic cells (DCs) that can mediate robust infection of CD4 T cells in Since CD169 expression on macrophages is also induced by type I IFN, we hypothesized that type I IFN-inducible CD169 could facilitate productive HIV-1 infection in myeloid cells in and CD4 T cells in and thus offset antiviral effects of type I IFN. In support of this hypothesis, infection of HIV-1 or murine leukemia virus Env (MLV-Env)-pseudotyped HIV-1 particles was enhanced in IFN-α-treated THP-1 monocytoid cells, and this enhancement was primarily dependent on CD169-mediated enhancement at the virus entry step, a phenomenon phenocopied in HIV-1 infections of IFN-α-treated primary monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). Furthermore, expression of CD169, a marker of type I IFN-induced immune activation , was enhanced in lymph nodes from pigtailed macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) carrying HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT-SHIV), compared to uninfected macaques, and interestingly, there was extensive colocalization of p27 and CD169, suggesting productive infection of CD169 myeloid cells While cell-free HIV-1 infection of IFN-α-treated CD4 T cells was robustly decreased, initiation of infection in via coculture with CD169 IFN-α-treated DCs restored infection, suggesting that HIV-1 exploits CD169 in and in to attenuate a type I IFN-induced antiviral state. HIV-1 infection in humans causes immune activation characterized by elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including type I interferons (IFN). Although type I IFN induces an antiviral state in many cell types , HIV-1 can replicate via mechanisms that have remained unclear. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that CD169, a type I IFN-inducible HIV-1 attachment factor, offsets antiviral effects of type I IFN. Infection of HIV-1 was rescued in IFN-α-treated myeloid cells via upregulation of CD169 and a subsequent increase in CD169-dependent virus entry. Furthermore, extensive colocalization of viral Gag and CD169 was observed in lymph nodes of infected pigtailed macaques, suggesting productive infection of CD169 cells Treatment of dendritic cell (DC)-T cell cocultures with IFN-α upregulated CD169 expression on DCs and rescued HIV-1 infection of CD4 T cells in , suggesting that HIV-1 exploits CD169 to attenuate type I IFN-induced restrictions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00972-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5640826PMC
November 2017

A spatio-temporal assessment of simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) evolution reveals a highly dynamic process within the host.

PLoS Pathog 2017 May 25;13(5):e1006358. Epub 2017 May 25.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.

The process by which drug-resistant HIV-1 arises and spreads spatially within an infected individual is poorly understood. Studies have found variable results relating how HIV-1 in the blood differs from virus sampled in tissues, offering conflicting findings about whether HIV-1 throughout the body is homogeneously distributed. However, most of these studies sample only two compartments and few have data from multiple time points. To directly measure how drug resistance spreads within a host and to assess how spatial structure impacts its emergence, we examined serial sequences from four macaques infected with RT-SHIVmne027, a simian immunodeficiency virus encoding HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), and treated with RT inhibitors. Both viral DNA and RNA (vDNA and vRNA) were isolated from the blood (including plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells), lymph nodes, gut, and vagina at a median of four time points and RT was characterized via single-genome sequencing. The resulting sequences reveal a dynamic system in which vRNA rapidly acquires drug resistance concomitantly across compartments through multiple independent mutations. Fast migration results in the same viral genotypes present across compartments, but not so fast as to equilibrate their frequencies immediately. The blood and lymph nodes were found to be compartmentalized rarely, while both the blood and lymph node were more frequently different from mucosal tissues. This study suggests that even oft-sampled blood does not fully capture the viral dynamics in other parts of the body, especially the gut where vRNA turnover was faster than the plasma and vDNA retained fewer wild-type viruses than other sampled compartments. Our findings of transient compartmentalization across multiple tissues may help explain the varied results of previous compartmentalization studies in HIV-1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5444849PMC
May 2017

Establishment and Reversal of HIV-1 Latency in Naive and Central Memory CD4+ T Cells In Vitro.

J Virol 2016 09 26;90(18):8059-73. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Unlabelled: The latent HIV-1 reservoir primarily resides in resting CD4(+) T cells which are a heterogeneous population composed of both naive (TN) and memory cells. In HIV-1-infected individuals, viral DNA has been detected in both naive and memory CD4(+) T cell subsets although the frequency of HIV-1 DNA is typically higher in memory cells, particularly in the central memory (TCM) cell subset. TN and TCM cells are distinct cell populations distinguished by many phenotypic and physiological differences. In this study, we used a primary cell model of HIV-1 latency that utilizes direct infection of highly purified TN and TCM cells to address differences in the establishment and reversal of HIV-1 latency. Consistent with what is seen in vivo, we found that HIV-1 infected TN cells less efficiently than TCM cells. However, when the infected TN cells were treated with latency-reversing agents, including anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies, phorbol myristate acetate/phytohemagglutinin, and prostratin, as much (if not more) extracellular virion-associated HIV-1 RNA was produced per infected TN cell as per infected TCM cell. There were no major differences in the genomic distribution of HIV-1 integration sites between TN and TCM cells that accounted for these observed differences. We observed decay of the latent HIV-1 cells in both T cell subsets after exposure to each of the latency-reversing agents. Collectively, these data highlight significant differences in the establishment and reversal of HIV-1 latency in TN and TCM CD4(+) T cells and suggest that each subset should be independently studied in preclinical and clinical studies.

Importance: The latent HIV-1 reservoir is frequently described as residing within resting memory CD4(+) T cells. This is largely due to the consistent finding that memory CD4(+) T cells, specifically the central (TCM) and transitional memory compartments, harbor the highest levels of HIV-1 DNA in individuals on suppressive therapy. This has yielded little research into the contribution of CD4(+) naive T (TN) cells to the latent reservoir. In this study, we show that although TN cells harbor significantly lower levels of HIV-1 DNA, following latency reversal, they produced as many virions as did the TCM cells (if not more virions). This suggests that latently infected TN cells may be a major source of virus following treatment interruption or failure. These findings highlight the need for a better understanding of the establishment and reversal of HIV-1 latency in TN cells in evaluating therapeutic approaches to eliminate the latent reservoir.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00553-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008097PMC
September 2016

Rilpivirine and Doravirine Have Complementary Efficacies Against NNRTI-Resistant HIV-1 Mutants.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2016 08;72(5):485-91

*HIV Dynamics and Replication Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD; †Chemical Biology Laboratory, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD; ‡Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; and §Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Background: Rilpivirine (RPV) is the latest non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) to be approved by Food and Drug Administration to combat HIV-1 infections. NNRTIs inhibit the chemical step in viral DNA synthesis by binding to an allosteric site located about 10 Å from the polymerase active site of reverse transcriptase (RT). Although NNRTIs potently inhibit the replication of wild-type HIV-1, the binding site is not conserved, and mutations arise in the binding pocket. Doravirine (DOR) is a new NNRTI in phase III clinical trials.

Methods: Using a single round HIV-1 infection assay, we tested RPV and DOR against a broad panel of NNRTI-resistant mutants to determine their respective activities. We also used molecular modeling to determine if the susceptibility profile of each compound was related to how they bind RT.

Results: Several mutants displayed decreased susceptibility to DOR. However, with the exception of E138K, our data suggest that the mutations that reduce the potency of DOR and RPV are non-overlapping. Thus, these 2 NNRTIs have the potential to be used together in combination therapy. We also show that the location at which DOR and RPV bind with the NNRTI binding pocket of RT correlates with the differences in their respective susceptibility to the panel of NNRTI-resistance mutations.

Conclusions: This shows that (1) DOR is susceptible to a number of well-known NNRTI resistance mutations and (2) an understanding of the mutational susceptibilities and binding interactions of NNRTIs with RT could be used to develop pairs of compounds with non-overlapping mutational susceptibilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942337PMC
August 2016

Rilpivirine analogs potently inhibit drug-resistant HIV-1 mutants.

Retrovirology 2016 Feb 16;13:11. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD, USA.

Background: Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are a class of antiretroviral compounds that bind in an allosteric binding pocket in HIV-1 RT, located about 10 Å from the polymerase active site. Binding of an NNRTI causes structural changes that perturb the alignment of the primer terminus and polymerase active site, preventing viral DNA synthesis. Rilpivirine (RPV) is the most recent NNRTI approved by the FDA, but like all other HIV-1 drugs, suboptimal treatment can lead to the development of resistance. To generate better compounds that could be added to the current HIV-1 drug armamentarium, we have developed several RPV analogs to combat viral variants that are resistant to the available NNRTIs.

Results: Using a single-round infection assay, we identified several RPV analogs that potently inhibited a broad panel of NNRTI resistant mutants. Additionally, we determined that several resistant mutants selected by either RPV or Doravirine (DOR) caused only a small increase in susceptibility to the most promising RPV analogs.

Conclusions: The antiviral data suggested that there are RPV analogs that could be candidates for further development as NNRTIs, and one of the most promising compounds was modeled in the NNRTI binding pocket. This model can be used to explain why this compound is broadly effective against the panel of NNRTI resistance mutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12977-016-0244-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754833PMC
February 2016

Well-mixed plasma and tissue viral populations in RT-SHIV-infected macaques implies a lack of viral replication in the tissues during antiretroviral therapy.

Retrovirology 2015 Nov 11;12:93. Epub 2015 Nov 11.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Background: Determining the anatomic compartments that contribute to plasma HIV-1 is critical to understanding the sources of residual viremia during combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). We analyzed viral DNA and RNA populations in the plasma and tissues from macaques infected with SIV containing HIV-1 RT (RT-SHIV) to identify possible sources of persistent viremia and to investigate the effect of ART on viral replication in tissues. Tissues were collected at necropsy from four pigtailed macaques infected for 30 weeks with a diverse population of RT-SHIV. Two animals (6760 and 8232) were untreated and two animals (8030 and 8272) were treated with efavirenz, tenofovir, and emtricitabine for 20 weeks.

Results: A total of 1800 single-genome RT-SHIV pol and env DNA and RNA sequences were analyzed from the plasma, PBMCs, axillary and mesenteric lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, small intestine, bone marrow, lung, and brain. Analyses of intracellular DNA and RNA populations revealed that the majority of proviruses in tissues from untreated animal 8232 were not expressed, whereas a greater proportion of proviruses in tissues were expressed from 6760. Few intracellular RNA sequences were detected in treated animals and most contained inactivating mutations, such as frame shifts or large deletions. Phylogenetics showed that RT-SHIV DNA populations in tissues were not different from virus in contemporary plasma samples in the treated or untreated animals, demonstrating a lack of anatomic compartmentalization and suggesting that plasma viremia is derived from multiple tissue sources. No sequence divergence was detected in the plasma or between tissues in the treated animals after 20 weeks of ART indicating a lack of ongoing replication in tissues during treatment.

Conclusions: Virus populations in plasma and tissues did not differ significantly in either treated or untreated macaques, suggesting frequent exchange of virus or infected cells between tissues and plasma, consistent with non-compartmentalized and widely disseminated infection. There was no genetic evidence of ongoing replication in tissues during suppressive ART.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12977-015-0212-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642622PMC
November 2015

Low Frequency of Drug-Resistant Variants Selected by Long-Acting Rilpivirine in Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Containing HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2015 Dec 5;59(12):7762-70. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using antiretroviral drugs is effective in reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, but adherence to the PrEP regimen is needed. To improve adherence, a long-acting injectable formulation of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor rilpivirine (RPV LA) has been developed. However, there are concerns that PrEP may select for drug-resistant mutations during preexisting or breakthrough infections, which could promote the spread of drug resistance and limit options for antiretroviral therapy. To address this concern, we administered RPV LA to macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus containing HIV-1 RT (RT-SHIV). Peak plasma RPV levels were equivalent to those reported in human trials and waned over time after dosing. RPV LA resulted in a 2-log decrease in plasma viremia, and the therapeutic effect was maintained for 15 weeks, until plasma drug concentrations dropped below 25 ng/ml. RT mutations E138G and E138Q were detected in single clones from plasma virus in separate animals only at one time point, and no resistance mutations were detected in viral RNA isolated from tissues. Wild-type and E138Q RT-SHIV displayed similar RPV susceptibilities in vitro, whereas E138G conferred 2-fold resistance to RPV. Overall, selection of RPV-resistant variants was rare in an RT-SHIV macaque model despite prolonged exposure to slowly decreasing RPV concentrations following injection of RPV LA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.01937-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649225PMC
December 2015

Visualization and quantification of simian immunodeficiency virus-infected cells using non-invasive molecular imaging.

J Gen Virol 2015 Oct 14;96(10):3131-3142. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

In vivo imaging can provide real-time information and three-dimensional (3D) non-invasive images of deep tissues and organs, including the brain, whilst allowing longitudinal observation of the same animals, thus eliminating potential variation between subjects. Current in vivo imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) and bioluminescence imaging (BLI), can be used to pinpoint the spatial location of target cells, which is urgently needed for revealing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dissemination in real-time and HIV-1 reservoirs during suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). To demonstrate that in vivo imaging can be used to visualize and quantify simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-transduced cells, we genetically engineered SIV to carry different imaging reporters. Based on the expression of the reporter genes, we could visualize and quantify the SIV-transduced cells via vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein pseudotyping in a mouse model using BLI, PET-CT or MRI. We also engineered a chimeric EcoSIV for in vivo infection study. Our results demonstrated that BLI is sensitive enough to detect as few as five single cells transduced with virus, whilst PET-CT can provide 3D images of the spatial location of as few as 10 000 SIV-infected cells. We also demonstrated that MRI can provide images with high spatial resolution in a 3D anatomical context to distinguish a small population of SIV-transduced cells. The in vivo imaging platform described here can potentially serve as a powerful tool to visualize lentiviral infection, including when and where viraemia rebounds, and how reservoirs are formed and maintained during latency or suppressive ART.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/jgv.0.000245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4857449PMC
October 2015

Dysregulation of multiple inflammatory molecules in lymph node and ileum of macaques during RT-SHIV infection with or without antiretroviral therapy.

J Med Primatol 2014 Oct 2;43(5):298-309. Epub 2014 May 2.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Background: Pathogenic infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is characterized by a loss of CD4+ T cells and chronic lymphocyte activation even during suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: Using NanoString, expression of >100 molecules associated with inflammation or immune activation was evaluated in mesenteric lymph nodes and ileum of macaques infected with a pathogenic SIV/HIV virus, RT-SHIV, during viremia or during suppressive ART and compared to uninfected controls.

Results: Of the 105 RNA species quantified in the tissues, expression of 33 genes was altered significantly in one or both tissues during viremia but returned to normal levels during ART. However, 29 additional genes were altered in expression levels in the tissues of both viremic and ART-suppressed macaques.

Conclusions: Identification of the mechanisms of chronic inflammation in specific cells and in different tissues may help determine whether early ART initiation or novel therapies can prevent it.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jmp.12126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176520PMC
October 2014

HIV-1 uncoating: connection to nuclear entry and regulation by host proteins.

Virology 2014 Apr 20;454-455:371-9. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

The RNA genome of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is enclosed by a capsid shell that dissociates within the cell in a multistep process known as uncoating, which influences completion of reverse transcription of the viral genome. Double-stranded viral DNA is imported into the nucleus for integration into the host genome, a hallmark of retroviral infection. Reverse transcription, nuclear entry, and integration are coordinated by a capsid uncoating process that is regulated by cellular proteins. Although uncoating is not well understood, recent studies have revealed insights into the process, particularly with respect to nuclear import pathways and protection of the viral genome from DNA sensors. Understanding uncoating will be valuable toward developing novel antiretroviral therapies for HIV-infected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2014.02.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988234PMC
April 2014

Persistence of viral reservoirs in multiple tissues after antiretroviral therapy suppression in a macaque RT-SHIV model.

PLoS One 2013 18;8(12):e84275. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress HIV-1 replication sufficiently to eliminate measurable plasma viremia, infected cells remain and ensure viral recrudescence after discontinuation of ART. We used a macaque model of HIV-1/AIDS to evaluate the location of infected cells during ART. Twelve macaques were infected with RT-SHIVmne, a SIV containing HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, conferring sensitivity to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Ten to fourteen weeks post-infection, 6 animals were treated with 3 or 4 antiretroviral drugs for 17-20 weeks; 6 control animals remained untreated. Viral DNA (vDNA) and RNA (vRNA) were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and at necropsy in multiple tissues by quantitative PCR and RT-PCR. The majority of virally infected cells were located in lymphoid tissues with variable levels in the gastrointestinal tract of both treated and untreated animals. Tissue viral DNA levels correlated with week 1 plasma viremia, suggesting that tissues that harbor proviral DNA are established within the first week of infection. PBMC vDNA levels did not correlate with plasma viremia or tissue levels of vDNA. vRNA levels were high in lymphoid and gastrointestinal tissues of the untreated animals; animals on ART had little vRNA expressed in tissues and virus could not be cultured from lymph node resting CD4+ cells after 17-20 weeks on ART, indicating little or no ongoing viral replication. Strategies for eradication of HIV-1 will need to target residual virus in ART suppressed individuals, which may not be accurately reflected by frequencies of infected cells in blood.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084275PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3867492PMC
October 2014

Evidence for biphasic uncoating during HIV-1 infection from a novel imaging assay.

Retrovirology 2013 Jul 9;10:70. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

Background: Uncoating of the HIV-1 core plays a critical role during early post-fusion stages of infection but is poorly understood. Microscopy-based assays are unable to easily distinguish between intact and partially uncoated viral cores.

Results: In this study, we used 5-ethynyl uridine (EU) to label viral-associated RNA during HIV production. At early time points after infection with EU-labeled virions, the viral-associated RNA was stained with an EU-specific dye and was detected by confocal microscopy together with viral proteins. We observed that detection of the viral-associated RNA was specific for EU-labeled virions, was detected only after viral fusion with target cells, and occurred after an initial opening of the core. In vitro staining of cores showed that the opening of the core allowed the small molecule dye, but not RNase A or antibodies, inside. Also, staining of the viral-associated RNA, which is co-localized with nucleocapsid, decays over time after viral infection. The decay rate of RNA staining is dependent on capsid (CA) stability, which was altered by CA mutations or a small molecule inducer of HIV-1 uncoating. While the staining of EU-labeled RNA was not affected by inhibition of reverse transcription, the kinetics of core opening of different CA mutants correlated with initiation of reverse transcription. Analysis of the E45A CA mutant suggests that initial core opening is independent of complete capsid disassembly.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results establish a novel RNA accessibility-based assay that detects an early event in HIV-1 uncoating and can be used to further define this process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-10-70DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3716918PMC
July 2013

Ultrasensitive allele-specific PCR reveals rare preexisting drug-resistant variants and a large replicating virus population in macaques infected with a simian immunodeficiency virus containing human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase.

J Virol 2012 Dec 29;86(23):12525-30. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland, USA.

It has been proposed that most drug-resistant mutants, resulting from a single-nucleotide change, exist at low frequency in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) populations in vivo prior to the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). To test this hypothesis and to investigate the emergence of resistant mutants with drug selection, we developed a new ultrasensitive allele-specific PCR (UsASP) assay, which can detect drug resistance mutations at a frequency of ≥0.001% of the virus population. We applied this assay to plasma samples obtained from macaques infected with an SIV variant containing HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) (RT-simian-human immunodeficiency [SHIV](mne)), before and after they were exposed to a short course of efavirenz (EFV) monotherapy. We detected RT inhibitor (RTI) resistance mutations K65R and M184I but not K103N in 2 of 2 RT-SHIV-infected macaques prior to EFV exposure. After three doses over 4 days of EFV monotherapy, 103N mutations (AAC and AAT) rapidly emerged and increased in the population to levels of ∼20%, indicating that they were present prior to EFV exposure. The rapid increase of 103N mutations from <0.001% to 20% of the viral population indicates that the replicating virus population size in RT-SHIV-infected macaques must be 10(6) or more infected cells per replication cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01963-12DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497681PMC
December 2012

Identification of HIV inhibitors guided by free energy perturbation calculations.

Curr Pharm Des 2012 ;18(9):1199-216

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, USA.

Free energy perturbation (FEP) theory coupled to molecular dynamics (MD) or Monte Carlo (MC) statistical mechanics offers a theoretically precise method for determining the free energy differences of related biological inhibitors. Traditionally requiring extensive computational resources and expertise, it is only recently that its impact is being felt in drug discovery. A review of computer-aided anti-HIV efforts employing FEP calculations is provided here that describes early and recent successes in the design of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. In addition, our ongoing work developing and optimizing leads for small molecule inhibitors of cyclophilin A (CypA) is highlighted as an update on the current capabilities of the field. CypA has been shown to aid HIV-1 replication by catalyzing the cis/trans isomerization of a conserved Gly-Pro motif in the Nterminal domain of HIV-1 capsid (CA) protein. In the absence of a functional CypA, e.g., by the addition of an inhibitor such as cyclosporine A (CsA), HIV-1 has reduced infectivity. Our simulations of acylurea-based and 1-indanylketone-based CypA inhibitors have determined that their nanomolar and micromolar binding affinities, respectively, are tied to their ability to stabilize Arg55 and Asn102. A structurally novel 1-(2,6-dichlorobenzamido) indole core was proposed to maximize these interactions. FEP-guided optimization, experimental synthesis, and biological testing of lead compounds for toxicity and inhibition of wild-type HIV-1 and CA mutants have demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibition of HIV-1 infection in two cell lines. While the inhibition is modest compared to CsA, the results are encouraging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/138161212799436421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3605731PMC
July 2012

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 capsid mutation N74D alters cyclophilin A dependence and impairs macrophage infection.

J Virol 2012 Apr 1;86(8):4708-14. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

The antiviral factor CPSF6-358 interferes with the nuclear entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). HIV-1 acquires resistance to CPSF6-358 through the N74D mutation of the capsid (CA), which alters its nuclear entry pathway. Here we show that compared to wild-type (WT) HIV-1, N74D HIV-1 is more sensitive to cyclosporine, has increased sensitivity to nevirapine, and is impaired in macrophage infection prior to reverse transcription. These phenotypes suggest a difference in the N74D reverse transcription complex that manifests early after infection and prior to interaction with the nuclear pore. Overall, our data indicate that N74D HIV-1 replication in transformed cells requires cyclophilin A but is dependent on other interactions in macrophages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.05887-11DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3318671PMC
April 2012

Direct visualization of HIV-1 with correlative live-cell microscopy and cryo-electron tomography.

Structure 2011 Nov;19(11):1573-81

Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

Cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) allows 3D visualization of cellular structures at molecular resolution in a close-to-native state and therefore has the potential to help elucidate early events of HIV-1 infection in host cells. However, structural details of infecting HIV-1 have not been observed, due to technological challenges in working with rare and dynamic HIV-1 particles in human cells. Here, we report structural analysis of HIV-1 and host-cell interactions by means of a correlative high-speed 3D live-cell-imaging and cryoET method. Using this method, we showed under near-native conditions that intact hyperstable mutant HIV-1 cores are released into the cytoplasm of host cells. We further obtained direct evidence to suggest that a hyperstable mutant capsid, E45A, showed delayed capsid disassembly compared to the wild-type capsid. Together, these results demonstrate the advantages of our correlative live-cell and cryoET approach for imaging dynamic processes, such as viral infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2011.09.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217200PMC
November 2011

Genetic diversity of simian immunodeficiency virus encoding HIV-1 reverse transcriptase persists in macaques despite antiretroviral therapy.

J Virol 2011 Jan 17;85(2):1067-76. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, 1050 Boyles Street, Building 535, Room 109, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

The impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on the genetics of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) populations has been incompletely characterized. We analyzed SIV genetic variation before, during, and after ART in a macaque model. Six pigtail macaques were infected with an SIV/HIV chimeric virus, RT-SHIV(mne), in which SIV reverse transcriptase (RT) was replaced by HIV-1 RT. Three animals received a short course of efavirenz (EFV) monotherapy before combination ART was started. All macaques received 20 weeks of tenofovir, emtricitabine, and EFV. Plasma virus populations were analyzed by single-genome sequencing. Population diversity was measured by average pairwise difference, and changes in viral genetics were assessed by phylogenetic and panmixia analyses. After 20 weeks of ART, viral diversity was not different from pretherapy viral diversity despite more than 10,000-fold declines in viremia, indicating that, within this range, there is no relationship between diversity and plasma viremia. In two animals with consistent SIV RNA suppression to <15 copies/ml during ART, there was no evidence of viral evolution. In contrast, in the four macaques with viremias >15 copies/ml during therapy, there was divergence between pre- and during-ART virus populations. Drug resistance mutations emerged in two of these four animals, resulting in virologic failure in the animal with the highest level of pretherapy viremia. Taken together, these findings indicate that viral diversity does not decrease with suppressive ART, that ongoing replication occurs with viremias >15 copies/ml, and that in this macaque model of ART drug resistance likely emerges as a result of incomplete suppression and preexisting drug resistance mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01701-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3019993PMC
January 2011

Flexible use of nuclear import pathways by HIV-1.

Cell Host Microbe 2010 Mar;7(3):221-33

HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

HIV-1 replication requires transport of nascent viral DNA and associated virion proteins, the retroviral preintegration complex (PIC), into the nucleus. Too large for passive diffusion through nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), PICs use cellular nuclear transport mechanisms and nucleoporins (NUPs), the NPC components that permit selective nuclear-cytoplasmic exchange, but the details remain unclear. Here we identify a fragment of the cleavage and polyadenylation factor 6, CPSF6, as a potent inhibitor of HIV-1 infection. When enriched in the cytoplasm, CPSF6 prevents HIV-1 nuclear entry by targeting the viral capsid (CA). HIV-1 harboring the N74D mutation in CA fails to interact with CPSF6 and evades the nuclear import restriction. Interestingly, whereas wild-type HIV-1 requires NUP153, N74D HIV-1 mimics feline immunodeficiency virus nuclear import requirements and is more sensitive to NUP155 depletion. These findings reveal a remarkable flexibility in HIV-1 nuclear transport and highlight a single residue in CA as essential in regulating interactions with NUPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2010.02.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841689PMC
March 2010

RT-SHIV subpopulation dynamics in infected macaques during anti-HIV therapy.

Retrovirology 2009 Nov 4;6:101. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Advanced Biomedical Computing Center, SAIC Frederick, Inc, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD, USA.

Background: To study the dynamics of wild-type and drug-resistant HIV-1 RT variants, we developed a methodology that follows the fates of individual genomes over time within the viral quasispecies. Single genome sequences were obtained from 3 pigtail macaques infected with a recombinant simian immunodeficiency virus containing the RT coding region from HIV-1 (RT-SHIV) and treated with short-course efavirenz monotherapy 13 weeks post-infection followed by daily combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) beginning at week 17. Bioinformatics tools were constructed to trace individual genomes from the beginning of infection to the end of the treatment.

Results: A well characterized challenge RT-SHIV inoculum was used to infect three monkeys. The RT-SHIV inoculum had 9 variant subpopulations and the dominant subpopulation accounted for 80% of the total genomes. In two of the three monkeys, the inoculated wild-type virus was rapidly replaced by new wild type variants. By week 13, the original dominant subpopulation in the inoculum was replaced by new dominant subpopulations, followed by emergence of variants carrying known NNRTI resistance mutations. However, during ART, virus subpopulations containing resistance mutations did not outgrow the wide-type subpopulations until a minor subpopulation carrying linked drug resistance mutations (K103N/M184I) emerged. We observed that persistent viremia during ART is primarily made up of wild type subpopulations. We also found that subpopulations carrying the V75L mutation, not known to be associated with NNRTI resistance, emerged initially in week 13 in two macaques. Eventually, all subpopulations from these two macaques carried the V75L mutation.

Conclusion: This study quantitatively describes virus evolution and population dynamics patterns in an animal model. The fact that wild type subpopulations remained as dominant subpopulations during ART treatment suggests that the presence or absence of at least some known drug resistant mutations may not greatly affect virus replication capacity in vivo. Additionally, the emergence and prevalence of V75L indicates that this mutation may provide the virus a selective advantage, perhaps escaping the host immure system surveillance. Our new method to quantitatively analyze viral population dynamics enabled us to observe the relative competitiveness and adaption of different viral variants and provided a valuable tool for studying HIV subpopulation emergence, persistence, and decline during ART.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-6-101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776578PMC
November 2009
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