Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 26 in total

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  1. Tee KK, Takebe Y, Kamarulzaman A
    Int. J. Infect. Dis., 2009 May;13(3):307-18.
    PMID: 19010076 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2008.09.005
    Over the past decade, a number of unique zoonotic and non-zoonotic viruses have emerged in Malaysia. Several of these viruses have resulted in significant morbidity and mortality to those affected and they have imposed a tremendous public health and economic burden on the state. Amongst the most devastating was the outbreak of Nipah virus encephalitis in 1998, which resulted in 109 deaths. The culling of more than a million pigs, identified as the amplifying host, ultimately brought the outbreak under control. A year prior to this, and subsequently again in 2000 and 2003, large outbreaks of hand-foot-and-mouth disease due to enterovirus 71, with rare cases of fatal neurological complications, were reported in young children. Three other new viruses - Tioman virus (1999), Pulau virus (1999), and Melaka virus (2006) - whose origins have all been linked to bats, have been added to the growing list of novel viruses being discovered in Malaysia. The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has also been detected in Malaysia with outbreaks in poultry in 2004, 2006, and 2007. Fortunately, no human infections were reported. Finally, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has seen the emergence of an HIV-1 recombinant form (CRF33_01B) in HIV-infected individuals from various risk groups, with evidence of ongoing and rapid expansion.
  2. Weniger BG, Takebe Y, Ou CY, Yamazaki S
    AIDS, 1994;8 Suppl 2:S13-28.
    PMID: 7857556
  3. Ng KT, Ong LY, Lim SH, Takebe Y, Kamarulzaman A, Tee KK
    PLoS ONE, 2013;8(6):e67286.
    PMID: 23840653 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067286
    HIV-1 epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to expand in developed and developing countries. Although HIV infection in MSM is amongst the highest of the key affected populations in many countries in Southeast Asia, comprehensive molecular epidemiological study of HIV-1 among MSM remains inadequate in the region including in Malaysia. Here, we reported the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 genotypes circulating among MSM population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total of n = 459 newly-diagnosed treatment-naïve consenting subjects were recruited between March 2006 and August 2012, of whom 87 (18.9%) were self-reported MSM. Transmitted drug resistance mutations were absent in these isolates. Cumulatively, phylogenetic reconstructions of the pro-rt gene (HXB2∶2253-3275) showed that HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE were predominant and contributed to approximately 80% of the total HIV-1 infection among MSM. In addition to numerous unique transmission lineages within these genotypes, twelve monophyletic transmission clusters of different sizes (2-7 MSM sequences, supported by posterior probability value of 1) were identified in Malaysia. Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated that the divergence times for these clusters were mainly dated between 1995 and 2005 with four major transmission clusters radiating at least 12 years ago suggesting that active spread of multiple sub-epidemic clusters occurred during this period. The changes in effective population size of subtype B showed an exponential growth within 5 years between 1988 and 1993, while CRF01_AE lineage exhibited similar expansion between 1993 and 2003. Our study provides the first insight of the phylodynamic profile of HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE circulating among MSM population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, unravelling the importance of understanding transmission behaviours as well as evolutionary history of HIV-1 in assessing the risk of outbreak or epidemic expansion.
  4. Tee KK, Li XJ, Nohtomi K, Ng KP, Kamarulzaman A, Takebe Y
    J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr., 2006 Dec 15;43(5):523-9.
    PMID: 17031320
    A molecular epidemiological investigation was conducted among various risk populations (n = 184) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2003 to 2005, on the basis of nucleotide sequences of protease and reverse transcriptase regions. In addition to circulating HIV-1 strains, including CRF01_AE (57.1%), subtype B (20.1%), and subtype C (0.5%), we detected a candidate with a new circulating recombinant form (CRF). We determined four near-full-length nucleotide sequences with identical subtype structure from epidemiologically unlinked individuals of different risk and ethnic groups. In this chimera, two short subtype B segments were inserted into the gag-RT region in a backbone of CRF01_AE. The recombinant structure was distinct from previously identified CRF15_01B in Thailand. In agreement with the current HIV nomenclature system, this constitutes a novel CRF (CRF33_01B). The overall prevalence of CRF33_01B is 19.0% (35/184). Although the prevalence of CRF33_01B is particularly high among injecting drug users (42.0%, 21/50), it is also detected in a substantial proportion of homo-/bisexual males (18.8%, 3/16) and heterosexuals (9.8%, 9/92). Moreover, unique recombinant forms composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B that have a significant structural relationship with CRF33_01B were detected in 1.6% (3/184) of study subjects, suggesting an ongoing recombination process in Malaysia. This new CRF seems to be bridging viral transmission between different risk populations in this country.
  5. Ng KT, Ong LY, Takebe Y, Kamarulzaman A, Tee KK
    J. Virol., 2012 Oct;86(20):11405-6.
    PMID: 22997423
    We report here the first novel HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF) 54_01B (CRF54_01B) isolated from three epidemiologically unlinked subjects of different risk groups in Malaysia. These recently sampled recombinants showed a complex genome organization composed of parental subtype B' and CRF01_AE, with identical recombination breakpoints observed in the gag, pol, and vif genes. Such a discovery highlights the ongoing active generation and spread of intersubtype recombinants involving the subtype B' and CRF01_AE lineages and indicates the potential of the new CRF in bridging HIV-1 transmission among different risk groups in Southeast Asia.
  6. Chow WZ, Al-Darraji H, Lee YM, Takebe Y, Kamarulzaman A, Tee KK
    J. Virol., 2012 Oct;86(20):11398-9.
    PMID: 22997419
    A novel HIV-1 genotype designated CRF53_01B was recently characterized from three epidemiologically unrelated persons in Malaysia. Here we announced three recently isolated full-length genomes of CRF53_01B, which is likely to be phylogenetically linked to CRF33_01B, circulating widely in Southeast Asia. The genome sequences may contribute to HIV-1 molecular surveillance and future vaccine development in the region.
  7. Takebe Y, Tsujigiwa H, Katase N, Siar CH, Takabatake K, Fujii M, et al.
    J. Oral Pathol. Med., 2017 Jan;46(1):67-75.
    PMID: 27327904 DOI: 10.1111/jop.12467
    BACKGROUND: Tumor parenchyma-stromal interactions affect the properties of tumors and their dynamics. Our group previously showed that secreted frizzled related protein (sFRP)-2 impairs bone formation and promotes bone invasion in ameloblastoma. However, the effects of the secreted growth factors CCN2, TGF-β, and BMP4 on stromal tissues in ameloblastoma remain unclear.

    MATERIALS AND RESULTS: Thirty-five paraffin-embedded ameloblastoma cases, ameloblastoma-derived cell lines (AM-1), and primary cultures of ameloblastoma stromal fibroblasts (ASF) were used. Immunohistochemistry, MTT assay, Western blotting, and RT-PCR were performed on these samples. Parenchyma-stromal CCN2 overexpression correlated significantly with fibrous-type stroma, but not with myxoid-type stroma, suggesting a role of CCN2 in fibrosis (P < 0.05). Recombinant CCN2 induction of enhanced ASF proliferation in AM-1 medium supports this view. Conversely, BMP4 and TGF-β were expressed in myxoid-type fibroblasts, but little expression was found in parenchyma. RANKL-positive and CD68-positive stromal cell populations were significantly greater in myxoid-type tumor areas than in fibrous-type tumor areas, while a higher Ki-67 labeling index was recorded in ameloblastoma with fibrous-type stroma. These data suggest that stromal properties influence bone resorption-related activities and growth rates, respectively.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the effects of secreted growth factors are governed by ameloblastoma parenchyma-stromal interactions. CCN2 promotes fibrogenesis independent of TGF-β signaling. Absence of CCN2 expression is associated with a phenotypic switch to a myxoid-type microenvironment that is conducive for TGF-β/BMP4 signaling to promote osteoclastogenesis.

  8. Chow WZ, Lim SH, Ong LY, Yong YK, Takebe Y, Kamarulzaman A, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(9):e0137281.
    PMID: 26335136 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137281
    Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtypes have been shown to differ in the rate of clinical progression. We studied the association between HIV-1 subtypes and the rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery in a longitudinal cohort of patients on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). We studied 103 patients infected with CRF01_AE (69%) and subtype B (31%) who initiated cART between 2006 and 2013. Demographic data, CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV-1 viral load were abstracted from patient medical charts. Kaplan-Meier was used to estimate the time to CD4+ T-cell count increase to ≥350 between subtypes and effects of covariates were analysed using Cox proportional hazards. An 87% of the study population were male adults (mean age of 38.7 years old). Baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and viral loads, age at cART initiation, sex, ethnicity and co-infection did not differ significantly between subtypes. A shorter median time for CD4+ T-cell count increase to ≥350 cells/μL was observed for CRF01_AE (546 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 186-906 days; P = .502) compared to subtype B (987 days; 95% CI, 894-1079 days). In multivariate analysis, female sex was significantly associated with a 2.7 times higher chance of achieving CD4+ T-cell recovery (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.75; 95% CI, 1.21-6.22; P = .025) and both baseline CD4+ T-cell count (P = .001) and viral load (P = .001) were important predictors for CD4+ T-cell recovery. Immunological recovery correlated significantly with female sex, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load but not subtype.
  9. Chook JB, Ong LY, Takebe Y, Chan KG, Choo M, Kamarulzaman A, et al.
    Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 2015 Mar;92(3):507-512.
    PMID: 25535315 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.14-0681
    A molecular genotyping assay for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating in Southeast Asia is difficult to design because of the high level of genetic diversity. We developed a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to detect subtype B, CRF01_AE, CRF33_01B, and three newly described circulating recombinant forms, (CRFs) (CRF53_01B, CRF54_01B, and CRF58_01B). A total of 785 reference genomes were used for subtype-specific primers and TaqMan probes design targeting the gag, pol, and env genes. The performance of this assay was compared and evaluated with direct sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. A total of 180 HIV-infected subjects from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were screened and 171 samples were successfully genotyped, in agreement with the phylogenetic data. The HIV-1 genotype distribution was as follows: subtype B (16.7%); CRF01_AE (52.8%); CRF33_01B (24.4%); CRF53_01B (1.1%); CRF54_01B (0.6%); and CRF01_AE/B unique recombinant forms (4.4%). The overall accuracy of the genotyping assay was over 95.0%, in which the sensitivities for subtype B, CRF01_AE, and CRF33_01B detection were 100%, 100%, and 97.7%, respectively. The specificity of genotyping was 100%, inter-subtype specificities were > 95% and the limit of detection of 10(3) copies/mL for plasma. The newly developed real-time PCR assay offers a rapid and cost-effective alternative for large-scale molecular epidemiological surveillance for HIV-1.
  10. Chow WZ, Takebe Y, Syafina NE, Prakasa MS, Chan KG, Al-Darraji HA, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(1):e85250.
    PMID: 24465513 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085250
    The HIV epidemic is primarily characterised by the circulation of HIV-1 group M (main) comprising of 11 subtypes and sub-subtypes (A1, A2, B-D, F1, F2, G, H, J, and K) and to date 55 circulating recombinant forms (CRFs). In Southeast Asia, active inter-subtype recombination involving three main circulating genotypes--subtype B (including subtype B', the Thai variant of subtype B), CRF01_AE, and CRF33_01B--have contributed to the emergence of novel unique recombinant forms. In the present study, we conducted the molecular epidemiological surveillance of HIV-1 gag-RT genes among 258 people who inject drugs (PWIDs) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2009 and 2011 whereby a novel CRF candidate was recently identified. The near full-length genome sequences obtained from six epidemiologically unlinked individuals showed identical mosaic structures consisting of subtype B' and CRF01_AE, with six unique recombination breakpoints in the gag-RT, pol, and env regions. Among the high-risk population of PWIDs in Malaysia, which was predominantly infected by CRF33_01B (>70%), CRF58_01B circulated at a low but significant prevalence (2.3%, 6/258). Interestingly, the CRF58_01B shared two unique recombination breakpoints with other established CRFs in the region: CRF33_01B, CRF48_01B, and CRF53_01B in the gag gene, and CRF15_01B (from Thailand) in the env gene. Extended Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling analysis showed that CRF58_01B and other recently discovered CRFs were most likely to have originated in Malaysia, and that the recent spread of recombinant lineages in the country had little influence from neighbouring countries. The isolation, genetic characterization, and evolutionary features of CRF58_01B among PWIDs in Malaysia signify the increasingly complex HIV-1 diversity in Southeast Asia that may hold an implication on disease treatment, control, and prevention.
  11. Al-Khannaq MN, Ng KT, Oong XY, Pang YK, Takebe Y, Chook JB, et al.
    Virol. J., 2016 Feb 25;13:33.
    PMID: 26916286 DOI: 10.1186/s12985-016-0488-4
    BACKGROUND: Despite the worldwide circulation of human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) and HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1), data on their molecular epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics in the tropical Southeast Asia region is lacking.

    METHODS: The study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity, temporal distribution, population history and clinical symptoms of betacoronavirus infections in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 2012 and 2013. A total of 2,060 adults presented with acute respiratory symptoms were screened for the presence of betacoronaviruses using multiplex PCR. The spike glycoprotein, nucleocapsid and 1a genes were sequenced for phylogenetic reconstruction and Bayesian coalescent inference.

    RESULTS: A total of 48/2060 (2.4 %) specimens were tested positive for HCoV-OC43 (1.3 %) and HCoV-HKU1 (1.1 %). Both HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 were co-circulating throughout the year, with the lowest detection rates reported in the October-January period. Phylogenetic analysis of the spike gene showed that the majority of HCoV-OC43 isolates were grouped into two previously undefined genotypes, provisionally assigned as novel lineage 1 and novel lineage 2. Sign of natural recombination was observed in these potentially novel lineages. Location mapping showed that the novel lineage 1 is currently circulating in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and China, while novel lineage 2 can be found in Malaysia and China. Molecular dating showed the origin of HCoV-OC43 around late 1950s, before it diverged into genotypes A (1960s), B (1990s), and other genotypes (2000s). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 27.3 % of the HCoV-HKU1 strains belong to genotype A while 72.7 % belongs to genotype B. The tree root of HCoV-HKU1 was similar to that of HCoV-OC43, with the tMRCA of genotypes A and B estimated around the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Correlation of HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 with the severity of respiratory symptoms was not observed.

    CONCLUSIONS: The present study reported the molecular complexity and evolutionary dynamics of human betacoronaviruses among adults with acute respiratory symptoms in a tropical country. Two novel HCoV-OC43 genetic lineages were identified, warranting further investigation on their genotypic and phenotypic characteristics.

  12. Al-Khannaq MN, Ng KT, Oong XY, Pang YK, Takebe Y, Chook JB, et al.
    Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 2016 05 04;94(5):1058-64.
    PMID: 26928836 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0810
    The human alphacoronaviruses HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E are commonly associated with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Information on their molecular epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics in the tropical region of southeast Asia however is limited. Here, we analyzed the phylogenetic, temporal distribution, population history, and clinical manifestations among patients infected with HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from 2,060 consenting adults presented with acute URTI symptoms in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2012 and 2013. The presence of HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E was detected using multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The spike glycoprotein, nucleocapsid, and 1a genes were sequenced for phylogenetic reconstruction and Bayesian coalescent inference. A total of 68/2,060 (3.3%) subjects were positive for human alphacoronavirus; HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E were detected in 45 (2.2%) and 23 (1.1%) patients, respectively. A peak in the number of HCoV-NL63 infections was recorded between June and October 2012. Phylogenetic inference revealed that 62.8% of HCoV-NL63 infections belonged to genotype B, 37.2% was genotype C, while all HCoV-229E sequences were clustered within group 4. Molecular dating analysis indicated that the origin of HCoV-NL63 was dated to 1921, before it diverged into genotype A (1975), genotype B (1996), and genotype C (2003). The root of the HCoV-229E tree was dated to 1955, before it diverged into groups 1-4 between the 1970s and 1990s. The study described the seasonality, molecular diversity, and evolutionary dynamics of human alphacoronavirus infections in a tropical region.
  13. Cheong HT, Ng KT, Ong LY, Takebe Y, Chan KG, Koh C, et al.
    Genome Announc, 2015;3(6).
    PMID: 26543107 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.01220-15
    Three strains of HIV-1 unique recombinant forms (URFs) descended from subtypes B, B', and CRF01_AE were identified among people who inject drugs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. These three URFs shared a common recombination breakpoint in the reverse transcriptase region, indicating frequent linkage within the drug-injecting networks in Malaysia.
  14. Ng KT, Takebe Y, Chook JB, Chow WZ, Chan KG, Abed Al-Darraji HA, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2015;5:15198.
    PMID: 26459957 DOI: 10.1038/srep15198
    Co-infections with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human pegivirus (HPgV) are common in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. However, analysis on the evolutionary dynamics and transmission network profiles of these viruses among individuals with multiple infections remains limited. A total of 228 injecting drug users (IDUs), either HCV- and/or HIV-1-infected, were recruited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genes were sequenced, with epidemic growth rates assessed by the Bayesian coalescent method. Based on the sequence data, mono-, dual- and triple-infection were detected in 38.8%, 40.6% and 20.6% of the subjects, respectively. Fifteen transmission networks involving HCV (subtype 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b), HIV-1 (CRF33_01B) and HPgV (genotype 2) were identified and characterized. Genealogical estimates indicated that the predominant HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genotypes were introduced into the IDUs population through multiple sub-epidemics that emerged as early as 1950s (HCV), 1980s (HIV-1) and 1990s (HPgV). By determining the difference in divergence times between viral lineages (ΔtMRCA), we also showed that the frequency of viral co-transmission is low among these IDUs. Despite increased access to therapy and other harm reduction interventions, the continuous emergence and coexistence of new transmission networks suggest persistent multiple viral transmissions among IDUs.
  15. Cheong HT, Chow WZ, Takebe Y, Chook JB, Chan KG, Al-Darraji HA, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(7):e0133883.
    PMID: 26196131 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133883
    In many parts of Southeast Asia, the HIV-1 epidemic has been driven by the sharing of needles and equipment among intravenous drug users (IDUs). Over the last few decades, many studies have proven time and again that the diversity of HIV-1 epidemics can often be linked to the route of infection transmission. That said, the diversity and complexity of HIV-1 molecular epidemics in the region have been increasing at an alarming rate, due in part to the high tendency of the viral RNA to recombine. This scenario was exemplified by the discovery of numerous circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), especially in Thailand and Malaysia. In this study, we characterized a novel CRF designated CRF74_01B, which was identified in six epidemiologically unlinked IDUs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The near-full length genomes were composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B', with eight breakpoints dispersed in the gag-pol and nef regions. Remarkably, this CRF shared four and two recombination hotspots with the previously described CRF33_01B and the less prevalent CRF53_01B, respectively. Genealogy-based Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of CRF74_01B genomic regions showed that it is closely related to both CRF33_01B and CRF53_01B. This observation suggests that CRF74_01B was probably a direct descendent from specific lineages of CRF33_01B, CRF53_01B and subtype B' that could have emerged in the mid-1990s. Additionally, it illustrated the active recombination processes between prevalent HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants in Malaysia. In summary, we report a novel HIV-1 genotype designated CRF74_01B among IDUs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The characterization of the novel CRF74_01B is of considerable significance towards the understanding of the genetic diversity and population dynamics of HIV-1 circulating in the region.
  16. Cheong HT, Ng KT, Ong LY, Chook JB, Chan KG, Takebe Y, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(10):e111236.
    PMID: 25340817 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111236
    A novel HIV-1 recombinant clade (CRF51_01B) was recently identified among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore. As cases of sexually transmitted HIV-1 infection increase concurrently in two socioeconomically intimate countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, cross transmission of HIV-1 between said countries is highly probable. In order to investigate the timeline for the emergence of HIV-1 CRF51_01B in Singapore and its possible introduction into Malaysia, 595 HIV-positive subjects recruited in Kuala Lumpur from 2008 to 2012 were screened. Phylogenetic relationship of 485 amplified polymerase gene sequences was determined through neighbour-joining method. Next, near-full length sequences were amplified for genomic sequences inferred to be CRF51_01B and subjected to further analysis implemented through Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling and maximum likelihood methods. Based on the near full length genomes, two isolates formed a phylogenetic cluster with CRF51_01B sequences of Singapore origin, sharing identical recombination structure. Spatial and temporal information from Bayesian MCMC coalescent and maximum likelihood analysis of the protease, gp120 and gp41 genes suggest that Singapore is probably the country of origin of CRF51_01B (as early as in the mid-1990s) and featured a Malaysian who acquired the infection through heterosexual contact as host for its ancestral lineages. CRF51_01B then spread rapidly among the MSM in Singapore and Malaysia. Although the importation of CRF51_01B from Singapore to Malaysia is supported by coalescence analysis, the narrow timeframe of the transmission event indicates a closely linked epidemic. Discrepancies in the estimated divergence times suggest that CRF51_01B may have arisen through multiple recombination events from more than one parental lineage. We report the cross transmission of a novel CRF51_01B lineage between countries that involved different sexual risk groups. Understanding the cross-border transmission of HIV-1 involving sexual networks is crucial for effective intervention strategies in the region.
  17. Tee KK, Kusagawa S, Li XJ, Onogi N, Isogai M, Hase S, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2009;4(8):e6666.
    PMID: 19688091 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006666
    A growing number of emerging HIV-1 recombinants classified as circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) have been identified in Southeast Asia in recent years, establishing a molecular diversity of increasing complexity in the region. Here, we constructed a replication-competent HIV-1 clone for CRF33_01B (designated p05MYKL045.1), a newly identified recombinant comprised of CRF01_AE and subtype B. p05MYKL045.1 was reconstituted by cloning of the near full-length HIV-1 sequence from a newly-diagnosed individual presumably infected heterosexually in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The chimeric clone, which contains the 5' LTR (long terminal repeat) region of p93JP-NH1 (a previously isolated CRF01_AE infectious clone), showed robust viral replication in the human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This clone demonstrated robust viral propagation and profound syncytium formation in CD4+, CXCR4-expressing human glioma NP-2 cells, indicating that p05MYKL045.1 is a CXCR4-using virus. Viral propagation, however, was not detected in various human T cell lines including MT-2, M8166, Sup-T1, H9, Jurkat, Molt-4 and PM1. p05MYKL045.1 appears to proliferate only in restricted host range, suggesting that unknown viral and/or cellular host factors may play a role in viral infectivity and replication in human T cell lines. Availability of a CRF33_01B molecular clone will be useful in facilitating the development of vaccine candidates that match the HIV-1 strains circulating in Southeast Asia.
  18. Chow WZ, Nizam S, Ong LY, Ng KT, Chan KG, Takebe Y, et al.
    Genome Announc, 2014;2(2).
    PMID: 24675847 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00139-14
    A complex HIV-1 unique recombinant form involving subtypes CRF01_AE, B, and B' was recently identified from an injecting drug user in Malaysia. A total of 13 recombination breakpoints were mapped across the near-full-length genome of isolate 10MYPR226, indicating the increasingly diverse molecular epidemiology and frequent linkage among various high-risk groups.
  19. Chow WZ, Bon AH, Keating S, Anderios F, Halim HA, Takebe Y, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(8):e0161853.
    PMID: 27575746 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161853
    Transfusion-transmissible infections including HIV-1 continue to pose major risks for unsafe blood transfusions due to both window phase infections and divergent viruses that may not be detected by donor screening assays. Given the recent emergence of several HIV-1 circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) in high-risk populations in the Southeast Asia region, we investigated the genetic diversity of HIV-1 among the blood donors in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total of 211 HIV-positive plasma samples detected among 730,188 donations to the National Blood Centre between 2013 and 2014 were provided (90.5% male, median age: 27.0 years old). Recent or long-term infection status at the time of donation was determined using a limiting antigen avidity enzyme immunoassay (LAg-Avidity EIA). HIV-1 gag-pol genes were amplified and sequenced from residual plasma for 149 cases followed by genotype determination using phylogenetic and recombination analyses. Transmitted antiretroviral resistance mutations were not observed among the blood donors, among which 22.7% were classified as recent or incident infections. Major circulating HIV-1 genotypes determined by neighbour-joining phylogenetic inference included CRF01_AE at 40.9% (61/149), CRF33_01B at 21.5% (32/149), and subtype B at 10.1% (15/149). Newly-described CRFs including CRF54_01B circulated at 4.0%, CRF74_01B at 2.0%, and CRF53_01B and CRF48_01B at 0.7% each. Interestingly, unique HIV-1 genotypes including African subtype G (8.7%), CRF45_cpx (1.3%), CRF02_AG (0.7%) and CRF07_BC (0.7%) from China were detected for the first time in the country. A cluster of subtype G sequences formed a distinct founder sub-lineage within the African strains. In addition, 8.7% (13/149) of HIV-infected donors had unique recombinant forms (URFs) including CRF01_AE/B' (4.7%), B'/C (2.7%) and B'/G (1.3%) recombinants. Detailed analysis identified similar recombinant structures with shared parental strains among the B'/C and B'/G URFs, some of which were sequenced from recently infected individuals, indicating the possible emergence and on-going spread of foreign clades of CRF candidates among the local population. The findings demonstrate extensive molecular complexity of HIV-1 among the infected blood donors in Malaysia, driven in part by the increased spread of recently described CRFs and multiple introductions of previously unreported genotypes from highly prevalent countries.
  20. Oong XY, Ng KT, Takebe Y, Ng LJ, Chan KG, Chook JB, et al.
    Emerg Microbes Infect, 2017 Jan 04;6(1):e3.
    PMID: 28050020 DOI: 10.1038/emi.2016.132
    Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) is commonly associated with respiratory tract infections in humans, with five genetically distinct genotypes (A to E) described so far. In this study, we obtained the full-length genomes of HCoV-OC43 strains from two previously unrecognized lineages identified among patients presenting with severe upper respiratory tract symptoms in a cross-sectional molecular surveillance study in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2012 and 2013. Phylogenetic, recombination and comparative genomic analyses revealed two distinct clusters diverging from a genotype D-like common ancestor through recombination with a putative genotype A-like lineage in the non-structural protein (nsp) 10 gene. Signature amino acid substitutions and a glycine residue insertion at the N-terminal domain of the S1 subunit of the spike gene, among others, exhibited further distinction in a recombination pattern, to which these clusters were classified as genotypes F and G. The phylogeographic mapping of the global spike gene indicated that the genetically similar HCoV-OC43 genotypes F and G strains were potentially circulating in China, Japan, Thailand and Europe as early as the late 2000s. The transmission network construction based on the TN93 pairwise genetic distance revealed the emergence and persistence of multiple sub-epidemic clusters of the highly prevalent genotype D and its descendant genotypes F and G, which contributed to the spread of HCoV-OC43 in the region. Finally, a more consistent nomenclature system for non-recombinant and recombinant HCoV-OC43 lineages is proposed, taking into account genetic recombination as an important feature in HCoV evolution and classification.
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