A multiple-site-specific heteroduplex tracking assay as a tool for the study of viral population dynamics
PublisherThe National Academy of Sciences
MetadataShow full item record
DescriptionRapidly evolving entities, such as viruses, can undergo complex genetic changes in the face of strong selective pressure. We have developed a modified heteroduplex tracking assay (HTA) capable of detecting the presence of single, specific mutations or sets of linked mutations. The initial application of this approach, termed multiple-site-specific (MSS) HTA, was directed toward the detection of mutations in the HIV-1 pro gene at positions 46, 48, 54, 82, 84, and 90, which are associated with resistance to multiple protease inhibitors. We demonstrate that MSS HTA is sensitive and largely specific to all targeted mutations. The assay allows the accurate and reproducible quantitation of viral subpopulations comprising 3% or more of the total population. Furthermore, we used MSS HTA in longitudinal studies of pro gene evolution in vitro and in vivo. In the examples shown here, populations turned over rapidly and more than one population was present frequently. To demonstrate the versatility of MSS HTA, we also constructed a probe sensitive to changes at positions 181 and 184 of the RT coding domain. Changes at these positions are involved in resistance to nevirapine and 2′,3′-dideoxy-3′-thiacytidine (3TC), respectively. This assay easily detected the evolution of resistance to 3TC. MSS HTA provides a rapid and sensitive approach for detecting the presence of and quantifying complex mixtures of distinct genotypes, including genetically linked mutations, and, as one example, represents a useful tool for following the evolution of drug resistance during failure of HIV-1 antiviral therapy.
- Scholarship