HIV-1 Protease Evolvability is Affected by Synonymous Nucleotide Recoding [article]

Maria Nevot, Ana Jordan-Paiz, Glòria Martrus, Cristina Andrés, Damir García-Cehic, Josep Gregori, Sandra Franco, Josep Quer, Miguel Angel Martinez
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
One unexplored aspect of HIV-1 genetic architecture is how codon choice influences population diversity and evolvability. Here we compared the development of HIV-1 resistance to protease inhibitors (PIs) between wild-type (WT) virus and a synthetic virus (MAX) carrying a codon-pair re-engineered protease sequence including 38 (13%) synonymous mutations. WT and MAX viruses showed indistinguishable replication in MT-4 cells or PBMCs. Both viruses were subjected to serial passages in MT-4 cells
more » ... h selective pressure from the PIs atazanavir (ATV) and darunavir (DRV). After 32 successive passages, both the WT and MAX viruses developed phenotypic resistance to PIs (IC 50 14.6 ± 5.3 and 21.2 ± 9 nM for ATV, and 5. 9 ± 1.0 and 9.3 ± 1.9 for DRV, respectively). Ultra-deep sequence clonal analysis revealed that both viruses harbored previously described resistance mutations to ATV and DRV. However, the WT and MAX virus proteases showed different resistance variant repertoires, with the G16E and V77I substitutions observed only in WT, and the L33F, S37P, G48L, Q58E/K, and L89I substitutions detected only in MAX. Remarkably, G48L and L89I are rarely found in vivo in PI-treated patients. The MAX virus showed significantly higher nucleotide and amino acid diversity of the propagated viruses with and without PIs (P < 0.0001), suggesting higher selective pressure for change in this recoded virus. Our results indicate that HIV-1 protease position in sequence space delineates the evolution of its mutant spectra. Nevertheless, the investigated synonymously recoded variant showed mutational robustness and evolvability similar to the WT virus.
doi:10.1101/315366 fatcat:oyja6i23lfckvgi7vvuujk6poy