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HLA-Associated immune escape pathways in HIV-1 subtype B Gag, Pol and Nef proteins

Brumme, Z.L., John, M., Carlson, J.M., Brumme, C.J., Chan, D., Brockman, M.A., Swenson, L.C., Tao, I., Szeto, S., Rosato, P., Sela, J., Kadie, C.M., Frahm, N., Brander, C., Haas, D.W., Riddler, S.A., Haubrich, R., Walker, B.D., Harrigan, P.R., Heckerman, D., Mallal, S. and Nixon, D.F. (2009) HLA-Associated immune escape pathways in HIV-1 subtype B Gag, Pol and Nef proteins. PLoS ONE, 4 (8). e6687.

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Background: Despite the extensive genetic diversity of HIV-1, viral evolution in response to immune selective pressures follows broadly predictable mutational patterns. Sites and pathways of Human Leukocyte-Antigen (HLA)-associated polymorphisms in HIV-1 have been identified through the analysis of population-level data, but the full extent of immune escape pathways remains incompletely characterized. Here, in the largest analysis of HIV-1 subtype B sequences undertaken to date, we identify HLA-associated polymorphisms in the three HIV-1 proteins most commonly considered in cellular-based vaccine strategies. Results are organized into protein-wide escape maps illustrating the sites and pathways of HLA-driven viral evolution. Methodology/Principal Findings: HLA-associated polymorphisms were identified in HIV-1 Gag, Pol and Nef in a multicenter cohort of >1500 chronically subtype-B infected, treatment-naïve individuals from established cohorts in Canada, the USA and Western Australia. At q≤0.05, 282 codons commonly mutating under HLA-associated immune pressures were identified in these three proteins. The greatest density of associations was observed in Nef (where close to 40% of codons exhibited a significant HLA association), followed by Gag then Pol (where ∼15-20% of codons exhibited HLA associations), confirming the extensive impact of immune selection on HIV evolution and diversity. Analysis of HIV codon covariation patterns identified over 2000 codon-codon interactions at q≤0.05, illustrating the dense and complex networks of linked escape and secondary/compensatory mutations. Conclusions/Significance: The immune escape maps and associated data are intended to serve as a user-friendly guide to the locations of common escape mutations and covarying codons in HIV-1 subtype B, and as a resource facilitating the systematic identification and classification of immune escape mutations. These resources should facilitate research in HIV epitope discovery and host-pathogen co-evolution, and are relevant to the continued search for an effective CTL-based AIDS vaccine.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2009 Brumme et al.
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