Combined antiretroviral therapy and immune pressure lead to in vivo HIV-1 recombination with ancestral viral genomes

Maria José Buzón, Terri Wrin, Francisco M. Codoñer, Judith Dalmau, Pham Phung, Anna Bonjoch, Eoin Coakley, Bonaventura Clotet, Javier Martinez-Picado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Studies on drug interruption have provided new insights on the adaptive evolution of rebounding HIV-1 during antiretroviral pressure. We investigated the origin of new viral variants after discontinuation of protease (PR) inhibitors as a treatment remained exclusively based on reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and whether drug susceptibility, viral fitness, and neutralizing antibodies could be major driving forces for the evolution of virus populations. Methods: The study comprised 3 treatment-experienced subjects. Phylogenetic analysis of the PR, reverse transcriptase, and the viral envelope were carried out to ascertain the origin of the new viral variants with samples obtained over a 10-year period before and after a PR inhibitor withdrawal. In addition, drug susceptibility, replication capacity, and neutralization assays were performed. Results: New viral variants from all 3 subjects were derived through recombination with ancestral quasispecies. Computerized recombination models confirmed these results. Recombination was demonstrated by increased replication capacity, decreased drug susceptibility, and neutralization of ancestral virus envelope by contemporaneous plasma samples. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the relevance of HIV-1 reservoirs in adaptive evolution throughout recombination in response to selective pressure, such as antiretroviral therapy and immune responses. This result might assist in the design of new treatment strategies for patients experiencing treatment failure. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-117
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • drug interruption
  • drug resistance
  • PR inhibitors
  • recombination
  • replication capacity


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