Amino acid substitutions at position 190 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase increase susceptibility to delavirdine and impair virus replication.


Suboptimal treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) often results in the rapid selection of drug-resistant virus. Several amino acid substitutions at position 190 of reverse transcriptase (RT) have been associated with reduced susceptibility to the NNRTI, especially nevirapine (NVP) and efavirenz (EFV). In the present study, the effects of various 190 substitutions observed in viruses obtained from NNRTI-experienced patients were characterized with patient-derived HIV isolates and confirmed with a panel of isogenic viruses. Compared to wild-type HIV, which has a glycine at position 190 (G190), viruses with 190 substitutions (A, C, Q, S, V, E, or T, collectively referred to as G190X substitutions) were markedly less susceptible to NVP and EFV. In contrast, delavirdine (DLV) susceptibility of these G190X viruses increased from 3 to 300-fold (hypersusceptible) or was only slightly decreased. The replication capacity of viruses with certain 190 substitutions (C, Q, V, T, and E) was severely impaired and was correlated with reduced virion-associated RT activity and incomplete protease (PR) processing of the viral p55(gag) polyprotein. These defects were the result of inadequate p160(gagpol) incorporation into virions. Compensatory mutations within RT and PR improved replication capacity, p55(gag) processing, and RT activity, presumably through increased incorporation of p160(gagpol) into virions. We observe an inverse relationship between the degree of NVP and EFV resistance and the impairment of viral replication in viruses with substitutions at 190 in RT. These observations may have important implications for the future design and development of antiretroviral drugs that restrict the outgrowth of resistant variants with high replication capacity.




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