PloS one 2017 05 0312(5) e0176160 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0176160
Multiple strains infection of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) was found to be correlated with increased viral load in immunodeficient patients. However, the pathogenic mechanism underlying this correlation remains unclear. To evaluate genetic polymorphisms of HCMV glycoprotein and their potential role in its viral load, HCMV glycoprotein B, N, and O (gB, gN and gO) genotypes was studied in the population of HCMV infected acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. The association between glycoprotein polymorphisms and HCMV viral load was analyzed.
The genetic polymorphisms of glycoprotein from sera of 60 HCMV infected AIDS patients was investigated by multiplex nested PCR and sequencing. HCMV viral load was evaluated by quantitative PCR.
gB1, gO1a, and gN4a were the predominant glycoprotein genotypes in HCMV infected AIDS patients and composed 86.96%, 78.8%, and 49.2%, respectively. Only gN4a genotype infection significantly increased viral load (P = 0.048). 71% (43/60) of HCMV infected AIDS patients were found to carry multiple HCMV strains infection. A novel potential linkage of gO1a/gN4a was identified from multiple HCMV infected patients. It was the most frequent occurrence, accounted for 51.5% in 33 patients with gO and gN genotypes infection. Furthermore, the gO1a/gN4a linkage was correlated to an increased viral load (P = 0.020).
The gN4a correlates to higher level HCMV load in AIDS patients. Interestingly, a novel gO1a/gN4a linkage is identified from the patients with multiple HCMV strains infection and is also associated with an increased viral load. Therefore, the pathogenic mechanism underlying glycoprotein polymorphisms and interaction of variants should be analyzed further.