Highly pathogenic adapted HIV-1 strains limit host immunity and dictate rapid disease progression

Judith Dalmau, Margalida Rotger, Itziar Erkizia, Andri Rauch, Pedro Reche, Maria Pino, Anna Esteve, Eduard Palou, Christian Brander, Roger Paredes, Pham Phung, Bonaventura Clotet, Amalio Telenti, Javier Martinez-Picado, Julia G. Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Objective: The study of HIV-1 rapid progressors has been limited to specific case reports. Nevertheless, identification and characterization of the viral and host factors involved in rapid progression are crucial when attempting to uncover the correlates of rapid disease outcome. Design: We carried out comparative functional analyses in rapid progressors (n=46) and standard progressors (n=46) early after HIV-1 seroconversion (≤1 year). The viral traits tested were viral replicative capacity, co-receptor usage, and genomic variation. Host CD8+ T-cell responses, humoral activity, and HLA immunogenetic markers were also determined. Results: Our data demonstrate an unusual convergence of highly pathogenic HIV-1 strains in rapid progressors. Compared with standard progressors, rapid progressor viral strains show higher in-vitro replicative capacity (81.5 vs. 67.9%; P=0.025) and greater X4/DM co-receptor usage (26.3 vs. 2.8%; P=0.006) in early infection. Limited or absent functional HIV-1 CD8+ T-cell responses and neutralizing activity were measured in rapid progressors. Moreover, the increase in common HLA allele-restricted CD8+ T-cell escape mutations in rapid progressors acts as a signature of uncontrolled HIV-1 replication and early impairment of adaptive cellular responses. Conclusion: Our data support a dominant role for viral factors in rapid progressors. Robust HIV-1 replication and intrinsic viral properties limit host adaptive immune responses, thus driving rapid disease progression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1272
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • HIV-1
  • Host factors
  • Pathogenesis
  • Rapid progressors
  • Viral factors


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