Genotypic and Phenotypic Characterization of Replication-Competent HIV-2 Isolated from Controllers and Progressors

Cynthia Lungu, Ronald J. Overmars, Esmée Grundeken, Patrick H.M. Boers, Marchina E. van der Ende, Thibault Mesplède*, Rob A. Gruters*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Although some individuals with HIV-2 develop severe immunodeficiency and AIDS-related complications, most may never progress to AIDS. Replication-competent HIV-2 isolated from asymptomatic long-term non-progressors (controllers) have lower replication rates than viruses from individuals who progress to AIDS (progressors). To investigate potential retroviral factors that correlate with disease progression in HIV-2, we sequenced the near full-length genomes of replication-competent viruses previously outgrown from controllers and progressors and used phylogeny to seek genotypic correlates of disease progression. We validated the integrity of all open reading frames and used cell-based assays to study the retroviral transcriptional activity of the long terminal repeats (LTRs) and Tat proteins of HIV-2 from controllers and progressors. Overall, we did not identify genotypic defects that may contribute to HIV-2 non-progression. Tat-induced, LTR-mediated transcription was comparable between viruses from controllers and progressors. Our results were obtained from a small number of participants and should be interpreted accordingly. Overall, they suggest that progression may be determined before or during integration of HIV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2236
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023

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