Journal of virology 2017 09 1291(19) pii 10.1128/JVI.00793-17
HIV-1 entry into target cells influences several aspects of HIV-1 pathogenesis, including viral tropism, HIV-1 transmission and disease progression, and response to entry inhibitors. The evolution from CCR5- to CXCR4-using strains in a given human host is still unpredictable. Here we analyzed timing and predictors for coreceptor evolution among recently HIV-1-infected individuals. Proviral DNA was longitudinally evaluated in 66 individuals using Geno2pheno[coreceptor] Demographics, viral load, CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell counts, CCR5Δ32 polymorphisms, GB virus C (GBV-C) coinfection, and HLA profiles were also evaluated. Ultradeep sequencing was performed on initial samples from 11 selected individuals. A tropism switch from CCR5- to CXCR4-using strains was identified in 9/49 (18.4%) individuals. Only a low baseline false-positive rate (FPR) was found to be a significant tropism switch predictor. No minor CXCR4-using variants were identified in initial samples of 4 of 5 R5/non-R5 switchers. Logistic regression analysis showed that patients with an FPR of >40.6% at baseline presented a stable FPR over time whereas lower FPRs tend to progressively decay, leading to emergence of CXCR4-using strains, with a mean evolution time of 27.29 months (range, 8.90 to 64.62). An FPR threshold above 40.6% determined by logistic regression analysis may make it unnecessary to further determine tropism for prediction of disease progression related to emergence of X4 strains or use of CCR5 antagonists. The detection of variants with intermediate FPRs and progressive FPR decay over time not only strengthens the power of Geno2pheno in predicting HIV tropism but also indirectly confirms a continuous evolution from earlier R5 variants toward CXCR4-using strains.IMPORTANCE The introduction of CCR5 antagonists in the antiretroviral arsenal has sparked interest in coreceptors utilized by HIV-1. Despite concentrated efforts, viral and human host features predicting tropism switch are still poorly understood. Limited longitudinal data are available to assess the influence that these factors have on predicting tropism switch and disease progression. The present study describes longitudinal tropism evolution in a group of recently HIV-infected individuals to determine the prevalence and potential correlates of tropism switch. We demonstrated here that a low baseline FPR determined by the Geno2pheno[coreceptor] algorithm can predict tropism evolution from CCR5 to CXCR4 coreceptor use.