Clonal expansion of T cells harboring replication-competent virus has recently been demonstrated in patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens. However, there has not been direct evidence of this phenomenon in settings of natural control, including in posttreatment controllers who maintain control of viral replication after treatment when ART is discontinued. We present a case of an individual who has had undetectable viral loads for more than 15 years following the cessation of ART. Using near-full-genome sequence analysis, we demonstrate that 9 of 12 replication-competent isolates cultured from this subject were identical and that this identity was maintained 6 months later. A similar pattern of replication-competent virus clonality was seen in a treatment-naive HLA-B*57 elite controller. In both cases, we show that CD8+ T cells are capable of suppressing the replication of the clonally expanded viruses in vitro. Our data suggest that, while clonal expansion of replication-competent virus can present a barrier to viral eradication, these viral isolates remain susceptible to HIV-specific immune responses and can be controlled in patients with long-term suppression of viral replication.
Rebecca T. Veenhuis, Abena K. Kwaa, Caroline C. Garliss, Rachel Latanich, Maria Salgado, Christopher W. Pohlmeyer, Christopher L. Nobles, John Gregg, Eileen P. Scully, Justin R. Bailey, Frederic D. Bushman, Joel N. Blankson
Central nervous system (CNS) immune activation is an important driver of neuronal injury during several neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases. During HIV infection, CNS immune activation is associated with high rates of neurocognitive impairment, even during sustained long-term suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, the cellular subsets that drive immune activation and neuronal damage in the CNS during HIV infection and other neurological conditions remain unknown, in part because CNS cells are difficult to access in living humans. Using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood from adults with and without HIV, we identified a rare (<5% of cells) subset of myeloid cells that are found only in CSF and that present a gene expression signature that overlaps significantly with neurodegenerative disease–associated microglia. This highlights the power of scRNA-seq of CSF to identify rare CNS immune cell subsets that may perpetuate neuronal injury during HIV infection and other conditions.
Shelli F. Farhadian, Sameet S. Mehta, Chrysoula Zografou, Kevin Robertson, Richard W. Price, Jenna Pappalardo, Jennifer Chiarella, David A. Hafler, Serena S. Spudich
The genomic integration of HIV into cells results in long-term persistence of virally infected cell populations. This integration event acts as a heritable mark that can be tracked to monitor infected cells that persist over time. Previous reports have documented clonal expansion in people and have linked them to proto-oncogenes; however, their significance or contribution to the latent reservoir has remained unclear. Here, we demonstrate that a directed pattern of clonal expansion occurs in vivo, specifically in gene pathways important for viral replication and persistence. These biological processes include cellular division, transcriptional regulation, RNA processing, and posttranslational modification pathways. This indicates preferential expansion when integration events occur within genes or biological pathways beneficial for HIV replication and persistence. Additionally, these expansions occur quickly during unsuppressed viral replication in vivo, reinforcing the importance of early intervention for individuals to limit reservoir seeding of clonally expanded HIV-infected cells.
Kevin G. Haworth, Lauren E. Schefter, Zachary K. Norgaard, Christina Ironside, Jennifer E. Adair, Hans-Peter Kiem
The peripheral blood represents only a small fraction of the total number of lymphocytes in the body. To develop a more thorough understanding of T cell dynamics, including the effects of SIV/SHIV/HIV infection on immune cell depletion and immune reconstitution following combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), one needs to utilize approaches that allow direct visualization of lymphoid tissues. In the present study, noninvasive in vivo imaging of the CD4+ T cell pool has revealed that the timing of the CD4+ T cell pool reconstitution following initiation of ART in SIV-infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) appears seemingly stochastic among clusters of lymph nodes within the same host. At 4 weeks following initiation or interruption of cART, the changes observed in peripheral blood (PB) are primarily related to changes in the whole-body CD4 pool rather than changes in lymphocyte trafficking. Lymph node CD4 pools in long-term antiretroviral-treated and plasma viral load–suppressed hosts appear suboptimally reconstituted compared with healthy controls, while splenic CD4 pools appear similar between the 2 groups.
Michele Di Mascio, Sharat Srinivasula, Insook Kim, Gorka Duralde, Alexis St. Claire, Paula DeGrange, Marisa St. Claire, Keith A. Reimann, Erin E. Gabriel, Jorge Carrasquillo, Richard C. Reba, Chang Paik, Henry C. Lane
Tenofovir gel and dapivirine ring provided variable HIV protection in clinical trials, reflecting poor adherence and possibly biological factors. We hypothesized that vaginal microbiota modulates pharmacokinetics and tested the effects of pH, individual bacteria, and vaginal swabs from women on pharmacokinetics and antiviral activity. Tenofovir, but not dapivirine, uptake by human cells was reduced as pH increased. Lactobacillus crispatus actively transported tenofovir leading to a loss in drug bioavailability and culture supernatants from Gardnerella vaginalis, but not Atopobium vaginae, blocked tenofovir endocytosis. The inhibition of endocytosis mapped to adenine. Adenine increased from 65.5 μM in broth to 246 μM in Gardnerella, but decreased to 9.5 μM in Atopobium supernatants. This translated into a decrease in anti-HIV activity when Gardnerella supernatants or adenine were added to cultures. Dapivirine was also impacted by microbiota, as drug bound irreversibly to bacteria, resulting in decreased antiviral activity. When drugs were incubated with vaginal swabs, 30.7% ± 5.7% of dapivirine and 63.9% ± 8.8% of tenofovir were recovered in supernatants after centrifugation of the bacterial cell pellet. In contrast, no impact of microbiota on the pharmacokinetics of the prodrugs, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or tenofovir alafenamide, was observed. Together, these results demonstrate that microbiota may impact pharmacokinetics and contribute to inconsistent efficacy.
Ekaterina Taneva, Shada Sinclair, Pedro M.M. Mesquita, Brian Weinrick, Scott A. Cameron, Natalia Cheshenko, Kerry Reagle, Bruce Frank, Sujatha Srinivasan, David Fredricks, Marla J. Keller, Betsy C. Herold
Current strategies aimed to cure HIV infection are based on combined efforts to reactivate the virus from latency and improve immune effector cell function to clear infected cells. These strategies are primarily focused on CD8+ T cells and approaches are challenging due to insufficient HIV antigen production from infected cells and poor HIV-specific CD8+ T cells. γδ T cells represent a unique subset of effector T cells that can traffic to tissues, and selectively target cancer or virally infected cells without requiring MHC presentation. We analyzed whether γδ T cells represent a complementary/alternative immunotherapeutic approach towards HIV cure strategies. γδ T cells from HIV-infected virologically suppressed donors were expanded with bisphosphonate pamidronate (PAM) and cells were used in autologous cellular systems ex vivo. These cells (a) are potent cytotoxic effectors able to efficiently inhibit HIV replication ex vivo, (b) degranulate in the presence of autologous infected CD4+ T cells, and (c) specifically clear latently infected cells after latency reversal with vorinostat. This is the first proof of concept to our knowledge showing that γδ T cells target and clear autologous HIV reservoirs upon latency reversal. Our results open potentially new insights into the immunotherapeutic use of γδ T cells for current interventions in HIV eradication strategies.
Carolina Garrido, Matthew L. Clohosey, Chloe P. Whitworth, Michael Hudgens, David M. Margolis, Natalia Soriano-Sarabia
Estimating the size of the viral reservoir is critical for HIV cure strategies. Biomarkers in peripheral circulation may give insights into the establishment of the viral reservoir in compartments not easily accessible. We therefore measured systemic levels of 84 soluble biomarkers belonging to a broad array of immune pathways in acute HIV infection in both antiretroviral therapy–naive (ART-naive) individuals as well as individuals who began ART upon early detection of HIV infection. These biomarkers were measured longitudinally during acute and chronic infection and their relationship to viral reservoir establishment and persistence was assessed. We observed several distinct biomarker pathways induced following HIV infection such as IFN-γ–signaled chemokines, proinflammatory markers, and TNF-α–family members. Levels of several of these factors directly correlated with contemporaneous viral loads and/or frequency of peripheral blood mononuclear cells harboring HIV DNA during acute HIV infection. MCP-1, MIP-3β, sTNFR-II, and IL-10 levels prior to ART associated with HIV DNA levels after 96 weeks of treatment, suggesting a link between early immune signaling events and the establishment and persistence of the viral reservoir during ART. Furthermore, they offer potentially novel tools for gaining insight into relative reservoir size in acutely infected individuals and the potential of associated risks of treatment interruption.
Jeffrey E. Teigler, Louise Leyre, Nicolas Chomont, Bonnie Slike, Ningbo Jian, Michael A. Eller, Nittaya Phanuphak, Eugène Kroon, Suteeraporn Pinyakorn, Leigh Anne Eller, Merlin L. Robb, Jintanat Ananworanich, Nelson L. Michael, Hendrik Streeck, Shelly J. Krebs, RV254/RV217 study groups
Replication competent HIV-1 persists in a subpopulation of CD4+ T lymphocytes despite prolonged antiretroviral treatment. This residual reservoir of infected cells harbors transcriptionally silent provirus capable of reigniting productive infection upon discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy. Certain classes of drugs can activate latent virus but not at levels that lead to reductions in HIV-1 reservoir size in vivo. Here, we show the utility of CD4+ receptor targeting exosomes as an HIV-1 latency reversal agent (LRA). We engineered human cellular exosomes to express HIV-1 Tat, a protein that is a potent transactivator of viral transcription. Preparations of exosomal Tat-activated HIV-1 in primary, resting CD4+ T lymphocytes isolated from antiretroviral-treated individuals with prolonged periods of viral suppression and led to the production of replication competent HIV-1. Furthermore, exosomal Tat increased the potency of selected LRA by over 30-fold in terms of HIV-1 mRNA expression, thereby establishing it as a potentially new class of biologic product with possible combinatorial utility in targeting latent HIV-1.
Xiaoli Tang, Huafei Lu, Mark Dooner, Stacey Chapman, Peter J. Quesenberry, Bharat Ramratnam
Major advances in donor identification, antigen probe design, and experimental methods to clone pathogen-specific antibodies have led to an exponential growth in the number of newly characterized broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) that recognize the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Characterization of these bnAbs has defined new epitopes and novel modes of recognition that can result in potent neutralization of HIV-1. However, the translation of envelope recognition profiles in biophysical assays into an understanding of in vivo activity has lagged behind, and identification of subjects and mAbs with potent antiviral activity has remained reliant on empirical evaluation of neutralization potency and breadth. To begin to address this discrepancy between recombinant protein recognition and virus neutralization, we studied the fine epitope specificity of a panel of CD4-binding site (CD4bs) antibodies to define the molecular recognition features of functionally potent humoral responses targeting the HIV-1 envelope site bound by CD4. Whereas previous studies have used neutralization data and machine-learning methods to provide epitope maps, here, this approach was reversed, demonstrating that simple binding assays of fine epitope specificity can prospectively identify broadly neutralizing CD4bs–specific mAbs. Building on this result, we show that epitope mapping and prediction of neutralization breadth can also be accomplished in the assessment of polyclonal serum responses. Thus, this study identifies a set of CD4bs bnAb signature amino acid residues and demonstrates that sensitivity to mutations at signature positions is sufficient to predict neutralization breadth of polyclonal sera with a high degree of accuracy across cohorts and across clades.
Hao D. Cheng, Sebastian K. Grimm, Morgan S.A. Gilman, Luc Christian Gwom, Devin Sok, Christopher Sundling, Gina Donofrio, Gunilla B. Karlsson Hedestam, Mattia Bonsignori, Barton F. Haynes, Timothy P. Lahey, Isaac Maro, C. Fordham von Reyn, Miroslaw K. Gorny, Susan Zolla-Pazner, Bruce D. Walker, Galit Alter, Dennis R. Burton, Merlin L. Robb, Shelly J. Krebs, Michael S. Seaman, Chris Bailey-Kellogg, Margaret E. Ackerman
Accurate HIV-1 incidence estimation is critical to the success of HIV-1 prevention strategies. Current assays are limited by high false recent rates (FRRs) in certain populations and a short mean duration of recent infection (MDRI). Dynamic early HIV-1 antibody response kinetics were harnessed to identify biomarkers for improved incidence assays. We conducted retrospective analyses on circulating antibodies from known recent and longstanding infections and evaluated binding and avidity measurements of Env and non-Env antigens and multiple antibody forms (i.e., IgG, IgA, IgG3, IgG4, dIgA, and IgM) in a diverse panel of 164 HIV-1–infected participants (clades A, B, C). Discriminant function analysis identified an optimal set of measurements that were subsequently evaluated in a 324-specimen blinded biomarker validation panel. These biomarkers included clade C gp140 IgG3, transmitted/founder clade C gp140 IgG4 avidity, clade B gp140 IgG4 avidity, and gp41 immunodominant region IgG avidity. MDRI was estimated at 215 day or alternatively, 267 days. FRRs in untreated and treated subjects were 5.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Thus, computational analysis of dynamic HIV-1 antibody isotype and antigen interactions during infection enabled design of a promising HIV-1 recency assay for improved cross-sectional incidence estimation.
Kelly E. Seaton, Nathan A. Vandergrift, Aaron W. Deal, Wes Rountree, John Bainbridge, Eduard Grebe, David A. Anderson, Sheetal Sawant, Xiaoying Shen, Nicole L. Yates, Thomas N. Denny, Hua-Xin Liao, Barton F. Haynes, Merlin L. Robb, Neil Parkin, Breno R. Santos, Nigel Garrett, Matthew A. Price, Denise Naniche, Ann C. Duerr, The CEPHIA group, Sheila Keating, Dylan Hampton, Shelley Facente, Kara Marson, Alex Welte, Christopher D. Pilcher, Myron S. Cohen, Georgia D. Tomaras
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