Low Postseroconversion CD4+ T-cell Level Is Associated with Faster Disease Progression and Higher Viral Evolutionary Rate in HIV-2 Infection.
Palm AA., Lemey P., Jansson M., Månsson F., Kvist A., Szojka Z., Biague A., da Silva ZJ., Rowland-Jones SL., Norrgren H., Esbjörnsson J., Medstrand P.
A positive correlation between virus evolutionary rate and disease progression has been shown for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. Much less is known about HIV-2, the second causative agent of AIDS. We analyzed 528 HIV-2 env V1-C3 sequences generated from longitudinal plasma samples that were collected from 16 study participants during a median observation time of 7.9 years (interquartile range [IQR], 5.2 to 14.0 years). Study participants were classified as faster or slower disease progressors based on longitudinal CD4+ T-cell data. The HIV-2 evolutionary rate was significantly associated with CD4+ T-cell levels and was almost twice as high among the faster progressors as among the slower progressors. Higher evolutionary rates were accounted for by both synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions. Moreover, slow disease progression was associated with stronger positive selection on HIV-2/SIVsm (simian immunodeficiency virus infecting sooty mangabey) surface-exposed conserved residues. This study demonstrated a number of previously unknown characteristics linking HIV-2 disease progression with virus evolution. Some of these findings distinguish HIV-2 from HIV-1 and may contribute to the understanding of differences in pathogenesis.IMPORTANCE The relationship between HIV evolution and disease progression is fundamental to our understanding of HIV immune control and vaccine design. There are no clear definitions for faster and slower HIV-2 disease progression and for the relationship of the rate of progression with HIV-2 evolution. To address the hypothesis that viral evolution is correlated with disease progression in HIV-2 infection, we determined faster and slower disease progression based on follow-up data from a prospective cohort of police officers in Guinea-Bissau. The analysis showed that although the CD4+ T-cell level and the decline in the level were independently associated with progression to AIDS, only the CD4+ T-cell level or a combined CD4+ T-cell level/decline stratification was associated with the rate of HIV-2 evolution. The HIV-2 evolutionary rate was almost twice as high among the faster progressors as among the slower progressors. Importantly, this report defines previously unknown characteristics linking HIV-2 disease progression with virus evolution.