|Title||Evidence for Reduced Drug Susceptibility without Emergence of Major Protease Mutations following Protease Inhibitor Monotherapy Failure in the SARA Trial|
|DART Virology Group|
Major protease mutations are rarely observed following failure with protease inhibitors (PI), and other viral determinants of failure to PI are poorly understood. We therefore characterized Gag-Protease phenotypic susceptibility in subtype A and D viruses circulating in East Africa following viral rebound on PIs.
Samples from baseline and treatment failure in patients enrolled in the second line LPV/r trial SARA underwent phenotypic susceptibility testing. Data were expressed as fold-change in susceptibility relative to a LPV-susceptible reference strain.
We cloned 48 Gag-Protease containing sequences from seven individuals and performed drug resistance phenotyping from pre-PI and treatment failure timepoints in seven patients. For the six patients where major protease inhibitor resistance mutations did not emerge, mean fold-change EC50 to LPV was 4.07 fold (95% CI, 2.08–6.07) at the pre-PI timepoint. Following viral failure the mean fold-change in EC50 to LPV was 4.25 fold (95% CI, 1.39–7.11, p = 0.91). All viruses remained susceptible to DRV. In our assay system, the major PI resistance mutation I84V, which emerged in one individual, conferred a 10.5-fold reduction in LPV susceptibility. One of the six patients exhibited a significant reduction in susceptibility between pre-PI and failure timepoints (from 4.7 fold to 9.6 fold) in the absence of known major mutations in protease, but associated with changes in Gag: V7I, G49D, R69Q, A120D, Q127K, N375S and I462S. Phylogenetic analysis provided evidence of the emergence of genetically distinct viruses at the time of treatment failure, indicating ongoing viral evolution in Gag-protease under PI pressure.
Here we observe in one patient the development of significantly reduced susceptibility conferred by changes in Gag which may have contributed to treatment failure on a protease inhibitor containing regimen. Further phenotype-genotype studies are required to elucidate genetic determinants of protease inhibitor failure in those who fail without traditional resistance mutations whilst PI use is being scaled up globally.
|Keywords||HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; LPV, lopinavir; LPV/r, ritonavir boosted lopinavir; DRV, darunavir, PI–protease inhibitor; Gag, Group antigen, Pro–protease; SARA, The Boosted Protease Inhibitor Monotherapy as Maintenance Second-line Anti-retroviral therapy in Africa; RTI, reverse transcriptase inhibitor|
|Journal citation||10 (9)|
|Publisher||Public Library of Science|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137834|
|Published||18 Sep 2015|