Ultradeep HIV-1 Proviral Envelope Sequencing Reveals Complex Population Structure within and between Brain and Splenic Tissues
Program in Molecular Medicine
Nervous System Diseases | Translational Medical Research | Virology | Virus Diseases
Understanding tissue-based HIV-1 proviral population structure is important for improving treatment strategies for individuals with HIV-associated neurological disorders (HAND). Previous analyses have revealed HIV-1 envelope (env) population structure between brain and peripheral tissues as well as Env functional differences, especially in individuals with HAND. Furthermore, population structure has been detected among different anatomical locations in the brain itself, although such patterns are inconsistent across individuals and less strongly associated with the presence/absence of HAND. Here, we utilized the Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time (SMRT) high-throughput technology to generate thousands of sequences for each tissue, along with phylogenetic and distance-based analyses, to investigate env sequences from paired brain and spleen samples from eight individuals with/without HAND. To account for the high error rate associated with SMRT sequencing, we used a clustering approach to identify high-quality consensus sequences representative of > /=10 reads ("HQCS10"). In parallel, we characterized variable regions from nonclustered sequences to identify potential functional differences. We found evidence for significant population structure between brain and spleen tissues, as well as among brain tissues and within the same brain tissue, in individuals both with and without HAND. Variable region analysis showed differences in length and charge among brain and nonbrain tissues as well as within the brain, suggesting possible functional differences. Our results demonstrate the complexity of HIV-1 env structure/gene flow among tissues and support the concept that selective pressures in different tissue microenvironments drive viral evolution and adaptation.
IMPORTANCE Understanding the evolution of HIV-1 in the brain compared to other tissues is important for improving treatment strategies for individuals with HIV-associated neurological disorders (HAND). We utilized high-throughput sequencing technology to generate thousands of full-length env sequences from paired brain and spleen samples from eight individuals with/without HAND. We found significant viral population structure for participants both with and without HAND, providing robust evidence for the brain as a compartmentalized tissue and potentially a viral reservoir. We also found striking genetic differences between virus populations, even from the same tissue, suggesting the potential for functional differences and the possibility for multiple evolutionary pathways that result in similar tropisms and/or other tissue-adapted characteristics. Our results demonstrate the complexity of viral population structure within the brain and suggest that analysis of peripheral blood samples alone may not be fully informative with respect to improving strategies to treat or eradicate HIV-1.
HIV-1, compartmentalization, phylogenetics, reservoir, UMCCTS funding
DOI of Published Version
Rose R, Gonzalez-Perez MP, Nolan DJ, Cross S, Lamers SL, Luzuriaga K. Ultradeep HIV-1 Proviral Envelope Sequencing Reveals Complex Population Structure within and between Brain and Splenic Tissues. J Virol. 2021 Nov 9;95(23):e0120221. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01202-21. Epub 2021 Sep 8. PMID: 34495695; PMCID: PMC8577351. Link to article on publisher's site
Journal of virology
Rose R, Gonzalez-Perez MP, Nolan DJ, Cross S, Lamers SL, Luzuriaga K. (2021). Ultradeep HIV-1 Proviral Envelope Sequencing Reveals Complex Population Structure within and between Brain and Splenic Tissues. UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Supported Publications. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01202-21. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/umccts_pubs/274