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Infect Genet Evol. 2013 Oct;19:361-8. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Intra-host evolutionary rates in HIV-1C env and gag during primary infection.

Author information

1
Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, 651 Huntington Avenue, Boston 02115, MA, USA; Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute, P/Bag BO 320, Gaborone, Botswana. Electronic address: vnovi@hsph.harvard.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

HIV-1 nucleotide substitution rates are central for understanding the evolution of HIV-1. Their accurate estimation is critical for analysis of viral dynamics, identification of divergence time of HIV variants, inference of HIV transmission clusters, and modeling of viral evolution.

METHODS:

Intra-patient nucleotide substitution rates in HIV-1C gag and env gp120 V1C5 were analyzed in a longitudinal cohort of 32 individuals infected with a single viral variant. Viral quasispecies were derived by single genome amplification/sequencing from serially sampled blood specimens collected at median (IQR) of 5 (4-6) times per subject from enrollment (during Fiebig stages II to V) over a median (IQR) of 417 (351-471) days post-seroconversion (p/s). HIV-1C evolutionary rates were estimated by BEAST v.1.7 using a relaxed lognormal molecular clock model. The effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on substitution rates in gag and env was assessed in a subset of six individuals who started ARV therapy during the follow-up period.

RESULTS:

During primary HIV-1C infection, the intra-patient substitution rates were estimated at a median (IQR) of 5.22E-03 (3.28E-03-7.55E-03) substitutions per site per year of infection within gag, and 1.58E-02 (9.99E-03-2.04E-02) substitutions per site per year within env gp120 V1C5. The substitution rates in env gp120 V1C5 were higher than in gag (p<0.001, Wilcoxon signed rank test). The median (IQR) relative rates of evolution at codon positions 1, 2, and 3 were 0.73 (0.48-0.84), 0.67 (0.52-0.86), and 1.54 (1.21-1.71) in gag, and 1.01 (0.86-1.15), 1.05 (0.99-1.21), and 0.86 (0.67-0.94) in env gp120 V1C5, respectively. A first to the third position codon rate ratio >1.0 within env was found in 25 (78.1%) cases, but only in 4 (12.5%) cases in gag, while a second to the third position codon rate ratio >1.0 in env was observed in 26 (81.3%) cases, but in gag only in 2 (6.3%) cases (p<0.001 for both comparisons, Fisher's exact test). No ART effect on substitution rates in gag and env was found, at least within the first 3-4 months after ART initiation. Individuals with early viral set point ⩾4.0 log10 copies/ml had higher substitution rates in env gp120 V1C5 (median (IQR) 1.88E-02 (1.54E-02-2.46E-02) vs. 1.04E (7.24E-03-1.55E-02) substitutions per site per year; p=0.017, Mann-Whitney sum rank test), while individuals with early viral set point ⩾3.0 log10 copies/ml had higher substitution rates in gag (median (IQR) 5.66E-03 (3.45E-03-7.94E-03) vs. 1.78E-03 (4.57E-04-5.15E-03); p=0.028; Mann-Whitney sum rank test).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest that in primary HIV-1C infection, (1) intra-host evolutionary rates in env gp120 V1C5 are about 3-fold higher than in gag; (2) selection pressure in env is more frequent than in gag; (3) initiation of ART does not change substitution rates in HIV-1C env or gag, at least within the first 3-4 months after starting ART; and (4) intra-host evolutionary rates in gag and env gp120 V1C5 are higher in individuals with elevated levels of early viral set point.

KEYWORDS:

Evolutionary rates; HIV-1; Primary infection; Substitution rates; Subtype C

PMID:
23523818
PMCID:
PMC3759599
DOI:
10.1016/j.meegid.2013.02.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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