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.
A new HIV-1 circulating recombinant form (CRF), CRF33_01B, has been identified in Malaysia. Concurrently we found a unique recombinant form (URF), that is, the HIV-1 isolate 06MYKLD46, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is composed of B or a Thai variant of the B subtype (B') and CRF01_AE. Here, we determined the near full-length genome of the isolate 06MYKLD46 and performed detailed phylogenetic and bootscanning analyses to characterize its mosaic composition and to further confirm the subtype assignments. Although the majority of the 06MYKLD46 genome is CRF01_AE, we found three short fragments of B or B' subtype inserted along the genome. These B or B' subtype regions were 716 and 335 bp, respectively, in the protease-reverse transcriptase (PR-RT) region, similar to those found in CRF33_01B, as well as an extra 590 bp in the env gene region. Thus we suggest that 06MYKLD46 is a possible second-generation HIV-1 recombinant derived from CRF33_01B.
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.
We investigated the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 subtypes in Malaysia among injecting drug users (IDUs) and sexual transmission risk groups, using serologic and genetic techniques. Frozen sera collected at a general hospital, a blood bank, several drug treatment centers, and an STD clinic in Kuala Lumpur, between 1992 and 1996, were investigated retrospectively. V3 peptide serotyping and monomeric gp120 capture serotyping were used to study 89 known HIV-1-infected subjects. The methods differentiate subtypes B, E, and C. V3 peptide and gp120 capture results were comparable. No subtype C-specific reactive sera were found; one specimen was dually reactive for subtypes C and B, using the V3 peptide ELISA; and four were durally reactive for subtypes E and C using this assay. Genotypic analysis of HIV-1 gag RNA in serum was done on a subset of subjects and confirmed serologic findings. HIV-1 subtypes differed significantly by risk category: of 53 IDUs, 29 (55%) were infected with subtype B and 19 (36%) were infected with subtype E, 3 (6%) were dually reactive, and 2 (4%) were not typable. Of 36 persons with heterosexual risks, 29 (81%) were infected with subtype E, 5 (14%) were infected with subtype B, and 2 (5%) were not typable. Persons with IDU risks were significantly more likely to be infected with subtype B than were those with sexual risks (OR 5.89; 95% CI, 1.94-18.54; p < 0.001). Subtypes B and E of HIV-1 appear to predominate in Malaysia; subtype B was more prevalent among IDUs; subtype E was more prevalent among all other groups. These results may have important HIV-1 vaccine implications.
Cocirculation of subtype B and CRF01_AE in Southeast Asia has led to the establishment of new recombinant forms. In our previous study, we found five samples suspected of being recombinants between subtype B and CRF01_AE, and here, we analyzed near full-length sequences of two samples and compared them to known CRFs_01B, subtype B, and CRF01_AE. Five overlapped segments were amplified with nested PCR from PBMC DNA, sequenced, and analyzed for genome mosaicism. The two Indonesian samples, 07IDJKT189 and 07IDJKT194, showed genome-mosaic patterns similar to CRF33_01B references from Malaysia, with one short segment in the 3' end of the p31 integrase-coding region, which was rather more similar to subtype B than CRF01_AE, consisting of unclassified sequences. These results suggest gene-specific continuous diversification and spread of the CRF33_01B genomes in Southeast Asia.
The Asian HIV epidemic appears to be complex, characterized by the prevalence of multiple subtypes and circulating recombinant forms with gradual replacement of pure HIV-1 subtypes in several geographical regions. The main objectives of the present study are to identify and analyse the full-length viral genomes of three unique recombinant forms (URFs); the HIV-1 isolates 07MYKLD47, 07MYKLD48 and 07MYKLD49 from Malaysia. Long-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of seven overlapping reading frames was used to derive near full-length HIV-1 genomes. Detailed phylogenetic and bootscanning analyses were performed to determine phylogenetic associations and subtypic assignments. We further confirmed the mosaic composition of these CRF01_AE/B inter-subtype recombinant forms, which are composed of B-subtype fragment(s) in the backbone of CRF01_AE. Both 07MYKLD47 and 07MYKLD48 have an insertion of B subtype (880 bp and 532 bp) in the gag-pol and gp41-env gene regions, respectively. Whereas the isolate 07MYKLD49 has three B-subtype fragments inserted in different gene region along the genome; one each in the gag-pol (1862 bp) and pol-vif (1935 bp) regions, and a short B-subtype insertion (541 bp) in the 5' LTR-gag region. This highlights the public health relevance of newly emerging second generation HIV-1 recombinant forms and their dispersal, along with their rapid and continuous evolution in the region.
Earlier studies in the 1990s indicate that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype B has been the predominant subtype among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Malaysia. More recent studies performed between 2003 and 2004, however, show a high prevalence of unique CRF01_AE/B intersubtype recombinants among IDUs. To determine the subtype distribution among IDUs in Kuala Lumpur prior to the emergence of CRF01_AE/B intersubtype recombinants, the gag-pol or the reverse transcriptase gene was sequenced from IDUs who were diagnosed as HIV positive between 1993 and 2002. Subtype B was present at 50.0% followed by CRF01_AE/B recombinant at 41.7%, with more CRF01_AE/B recombinants detected between 2000 and 2002. All CRF01_AE/B recombinants shared similar recombination patterns. Interestingly, we found that this potential new candidate of circulating recombinant form (CRF) could have emerged as early as the mid-1990s. The results showed evidence of changing HIV-1 molecular epidemiology toward the predominance of CRF01_AE/B intersubtype recombinants among IDUs in Kuala Lumpur.
HIV spread in South and South-East Asia is most alarming, and genetic variability of HIV-1 is an important consideration in vaccine development. In this study, we examined the third variable (V3) region of env gene of HIV-1 variants prevalent in Thailand, Malaysia, India, and the Philippines. By phylogenetic tree analyses, an HIV-1 variant from an injecting drug user (IDU) in Thailand belonged to subtype B, and HIV-1 variants from 2 IDUs in Malaysia were classified into 2 subtypes, B and E. One HIV-1 variant from a male homosexual in the Philippines belonged to subtype B. Out of 8 HIV-1 variants from sexually transmitted disease patients in India, 7 belonged to subtype C, and one to subtype A. Although the total number of individuals examined in this study was limited, 4 HIV-1 subtypes were found in South and South-East Asia and large international movements of HIV-1-infected individuals in this region could induce global dissemination of these HIV-1 variants.
HIV-1 group M viruses diverge 25%-35% in envelope, important for viral attachment during infection, and 10%-15% in the pol region, under selection pressure from common antiretrovirals. In Asia, subtypes B and CRF01_AE are common genotypes. Our objectives were to determine whether clinical, immunological, or virological treatment responses differed by genotype in treatment-naive patients initiating first-line therapy.
In Malaysia, co-circulation of CRF01_AE and subtype B has resulted in the emergence of the second generation derivative; CRF33_01B in approximately 20% of its HIV-1 infected individuals. Our objective was to identify possible biological advantages that CRF33_01B possesses over its progenitors. Biological and molecular comparisons of CRF33_01B against its parental subtypes clearly show that CRF33_01B replicated better in activated whole peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and CD4+ T-lymphocytes, but not monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). Also, its acquired fitness was greater than CRF01_AE but not subtype B. Moreover, CRF33_01B has higher rate of apoptotic cell death and syncytia induction compared to subtype B. These adaptive and survival abilities could have been acquired by CRF33_01B due to the incorporation of subtype B fragments into the gag-RT region of its full-length genome. Our studies confirm the previously held belief that HIV-1 strains may harbor enhanced biological fitness upon recombination. We therefore estimate a possible gradual replacement of the current predominance of CRF01_AE, as well as wider dissemination of CRF33_01B, together with the identification of other new CRF01_AE/B inter-subtype recombinants in Malaysia.
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.
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.
The rapid mutation of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) and the limited characterization of the composition and incidence of the variant population are major obstacles to the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine. This issue was addressed by a comprehensive analysis of over 58,000 clade B HIV-1 protein sequences reported over at least 26 years. The sequences were aligned and the 2,874 overlapping nonamer amino acid positions of the viral proteome, each a possible core binding domain for human leukocyte antigen molecules and T-cell receptors, were quantitatively analyzed for four patterns of sequence motifs: (1) "index", the most prevalent sequence; (2) "major" variant, the most common variant sequence; (3) "minor" variants, multiple different sequences, each with an incidence less than that of the major variant; and (4) "unique" variants, each observed only once in the alignment. The collective incidence of the major, minor, and unique variants at each nonamer position represented the total variant population for the position. Positions with more than 50% total variants contained correspondingly reduced incidences of index and major variant sequences and increased minor and unique variants. Highly diverse positions, with 80 to 98% variant nonamer sequences, were present in each protein, including 5% of Gag, and 27% of Env and Nef, each. The multitude of different variant nonamer sequences (i.e. nonatypes; up to 68%) at the highly diverse positions, represented by the major, multiple minor, and multiple unique variants likely supported variants function both in immune escape and as altered peptide ligands with deleterious T-cell responses. The patterns of mutational change were consistent with the sequences of individual HXB2 and C1P viruses and can be considered applicable to all HIV-1 viruses. This characterization of HIV-1 protein mutation provides a foundation for the design of peptide-based vaccines and therapeutics.
The HIV-1 genetic variation in 60 infected Malaysian intravenous drug users (IDU) was studied by comparison of the nucleotide sequences and their predicted amino acid sequences in the V3 loop of the external glycoprotein gp120. In this study, HIV-1 B, C and E subtypes were identified among Malaysian IDU, with HIV-1 B being the predominant subtype (91.7%). HIV-1 C and HIV-1 E were minority subtypes among Malaysian IDU. Analysis of the amino acid alignment of the C2-V3 region of the env gene suggests a genetic relationship between Thai and Malaysian B and E subtype strains. This study serves as a baseline for monitoring HIV-1 genetic diversity and spread in Malaysia.
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.
We investigate mutations and correlates according to HIV-1 subtype after virological failure (VF) of standard first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) (non-nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor [NNRTI] +2 nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor [N(t)RTI]). SECOND-LINE study participants were assessed at baseline for HIV-1 subtype, demographics, HIV-1 history, ART exposure, viral load (VL), CD4(+) count, and genotypic ART resistance. We used backward stepwise multivariate regression (MVR) to assess associations between baseline variables and presence of ≥3 N(t)RTI mutations, ≥1 NNRTI mutation, ≥3 thymidine analog-N(t)RTI [ta-N(t)RTI] mutations (TAMs), the K65/K70 mutation, and predicted etravirine (ETV)/rilpivirine (RPV) activity. The inclusion p-value for MVR was p .05. Of 541 participants, 491 (91%) had successfully characterized baseline viral isolates. Subtype distribution: B (n = 123, 25%), C (n = 202, 41%), CRF01_AE (n = 109, 22%), G (n = 25, 5%), and CRF02_AG (n = 27, 5%). Baseline CD4(+) 200-394 cells/mm(3) were associated with <3 N(t)RTI mutations (OR = 0.47; 95% CI 0.29-0.77; p = .003), absence of the K65/K70 mutation (OR = 0.43; 95% CI 0.26-0.73; p = .002), and higher ETV sensitivity (OR = 0.52; 95% CI 0.35-0.78; p = .002). Recent tenofovir (TDF) use was associated with K65/K70 mutations (OR = 8.91; 95% CI 5.00-15.85; p HIV-1 subtypes in this study are consistent with knowledge derived from subtype B, with some exceptions. Patterns of resistance after failure of a first-line ta-N(t)RTI regimen support using TDF in N(t)RTI-containing second-line regimens, or using N(t)RTI-sparing regimens.
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.