Tracking coreceptor switch of the transmitted/founder HIV-1 identifies co-evolution of HIV-1 antigenicity, coreceptor usage and CD4 subset targeting: the RV217 acute infection cohort study

Manukumar Honnayakanahalli Marichannegowda, Michelle Zemil, Lindsay Wieczorek, Eric Sanders-Buell, Meera Bose, Anne Marie O'Sullivan, David King, Leilani Francisco, Felisa Diaz-Mendez, Saini Setua, Nicolas Chomont, Nittaya Phanuphak, Jintanat Ananworanich, Denise Hsu, Sandhya Vasan, Nelson L. Michael, Leigh Anne Eller, Sodsai Tovanabutra, Yutaka Tagaya, Merlin L. RobbVictoria R. Polonis, Hongshuo Song*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The CCR5 (R5) to CXCR4 (X4) coreceptor switch in natural HIV-1 infection is associated with faster progression to AIDS, but the mechanisms remain unclear. The difficulty in elucidating the evolutionary origin of the earliest X4 viruses limits our understanding of this phenomenon. Methods: We tracked the evolution of the transmitted/founder (T/F) HIV-1 in RV217 participants identified in acute infection. The origin of the X4 viruses was elucidated by single genome amplification, deep sequencing and coreceptor assay. Mutations responsible for coreceptor switch were confirmed by mutagenesis. Viral susceptibility to neutralization was determined by neutralization assay. Virus CD4 subset preference was demonstrated by sequencing HIV-1 RNA in sorted CD4 subsets. Findings: We demonstrated that the earliest X4 viruses evolved de novo from the T/F strains. Strong X4 usage can be conferred by a single mutation. The mutations responsible for coreceptor switch can confer escape to neutralization and drive the X4 variants to replicate mainly in the central memory (CM) and naïve CD4 subsets. Likely due to the smaller viral burst size of the CM and naïve subsets, the X4 variants existed at low frequency in plasma. The origin of the X4 viruses preceded accelerated CD4 decline. All except one X4 virus identified in the current study lost the conserved V3 N301 glycan site. Interpretations: The findings demonstrate co-evolution of HIV-1 antigenicity, coreceptor usage and CD4 subset targeting which have implications for HIV-1 therapeutics and functional cure. The observations provide evidence that coreceptor switch can function as an evolutionary mechanism of immune evasion. Funding: Institute of Human Virology, National Institutes of Health, Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, Gilead Sciences, Merck, and ViiV Healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104867
JournaleBioMedicine
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CD4 subset
  • Coreceptor switch
  • HIV-1
  • Immune evasion
  • Pathogenesis

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