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Uncommon pathways of immune escape attenuate HIV-1 integrase replication capacity

Brockman, M.A., Chopera, D.R., Olvera, A., Brumme, C.J., Sela, J., Markle, T.J., Martin, E., Carlson, J.M., Le, A.Q., McGovern, R., Cheung, P.K., Kelleher, A.D., Jessen, H., Markowitz, M., Rosenberg, E., Frahm, N., Sanchez, J., Mallal, S., John, M., Harrigan, P.R., Heckerman, D., Brander, C., Walker, B.D. and Brumme, Z.L. (2012) Uncommon pathways of immune escape attenuate HIV-1 integrase replication capacity. Journal of Virology, 86 (12). pp. 6913-6923.

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An attenuation of the HIV-1 replication capacity (RC) has been observed for immune-mediated escape mutations in Gag restricted by protective HLA alleles. However, the extent to which escape mutations affect other viral proteins during natural infection is not well understood. We generated recombinant viruses encoding plasma HIV-1 RNA integrase sequences from antiretroviral-naive individuals with early (n = 88) and chronic (n = 304) infections and measured the in vitro RC of each. In contrast to data from previous studies of Gag, we observed little evidence that host HLA allele expression was associated with integrase RC. A modest negative correlation was observed between the number of HLA-B-associated integrase polymorphisms and RC in chronic infection (R = -0.2; P = 0.003); however, this effect was not driven by mutations restricted by protective HLA alleles. Notably, the integrase variants S119R, G163E, and I220L, which represent uncommon polymorphisms associated with HLA-C*05, -A*33, and -B*52, respectively, correlated with lower RC (all q < 0.2). We identified a novel C*05-restricted epitope (HTDNGSNF(114-121)) that likely contributes to the selection of the S119R variant, the polymorphism most significantly associated with lower RC in patient sequences. An NL4-3 mutant encoding the S119R polymorphism displayed a similar to 35%-reduced function that was rescued by a single compensatory mutation of A91E. Together, these data indicate that substantial HLA-driven attenuation of integrase is not a general phenomenon during HIV-1 adaptation to host immunity. However, uncommon polymorphisms selected by HLA alleles that are not conventionally regarded to be protective may be associated with impaired protein function. Vulnerable epitopes in integrase might therefore be considered for future vaccine strategies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Copyright: © 2012, American Society for Microbiology
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