Indexed on: 04 May '12Published on: 04 May '12Published in: Journal of virology
Mutations at amino acids 143, 148, and 155 in HIV-1 integrase (IN) define primary resistance pathways in subjects failing raltegravir (RAL)-containing treatments. Although each pathway appears to be genetically distinct, shifts in the predominant resistant virus population have been reported under continued drug pressure. To better understand this dynamic, we characterized the RAL susceptibility of 200 resistant viruses, and we performed sequential clonal analysis for selected cases. Patient viruses containing Y143R, Q148R, or Q148H mutations consistently exhibited larger reductions in RAL susceptibility than patient viruses containing N155H mutations. Sequential analyses of virus populations from three subjects revealed temporal shifts in subpopulations representing N155H, Y143R, or Q148H escape pathways. Evaluation of molecular clones isolated from different time points demonstrated that Y143R and Q148H variants exhibited larger reductions in RAL susceptibility and higher IN-mediated replication capacity (RC) than N155H variants within the same subject. Furthermore, shifts from the N155H pathway to either the Q148R or H pathway or the Y143R pathway were dependent on the amino acid substitution at position 148 and the secondary mutations in Y143R- or Q148R- or H-containing variants and correlated with reductions in RAL susceptibility and restorations in RC. Our observations in patient viruses were confirmed by analyzing site-directed mutations. In summary, viruses that acquire mutations defining the 143 or 148 escape pathways are less susceptible to RAL and exhibit greater RC than viruses containing 155 pathway mutations. These selective pressures result in the displacement of N155H variants by 143 or 148 variants under continued drug exposure.