Transmission of Multiple HIV-1 Subtype C Transmitted/founder Viruses into the Same Recipients Was not Determined by Modest Phenotypic Differences.
A severe bottleneck exists during HIV-1 mucosal transmission. However, viral properties that determine HIV-1 transmissibility are not fully elucidated. We identified multiple transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses in six HIV-1-infected subjects by analyzing whole genome sequences. Comparison of biological phenotypes of different T/F viruses from the same individual allowed us to more precisely identify critical determinants for viral transmissibility since they were transmitted under similar conditions. All T/F viruses used coreceptor CCR5, while no T/F viruses used CXCR4 or GPR15. However, the efficiency for different T/F viruses from the same individual to use CCR5 was significantly variable, and the differences were even more significant for usage of coreceptors FPRL1, CCR3 and APJ. Resistance to IFN-α was also different between T/F viruses in 2 of 3 individuals. The relative fitness between T/F viruses from the same subject was highly variable (2-6%). Importantly, the levels of coreceptor usage efficiency, resistance to IFN-α and viral fitness were not associated with proportions of T/F viruses in each individual during acute infection. Our results show that the modest but significant differences in coreceptor usage efficiency, IFN-α sensitivity and viral fitness each alone may not play a critical role in HIV-1 transmission.
Song, H; Hora, B; Giorgi, EE; Kumar, A; Cai, F; Bhattacharya, T; Perelson, AS; Gao, F
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