Compensation by the E138K mutation in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase for deficits in viral replication capacity and enzyme processivity associated with the M184I/V mutations.

Abstract:

Recently, several phase 3 clinical trials (ECHO and THRIVE) showed that E138K and M184I were the most frequent mutations to emerge in patients who failed therapy with rilpivirine (RPV) together with two nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir (TDF). To investigate the basis for the copresence of E138K and M184I, we generated recombinant mutated and wild-type (WT) reverse transcriptase (RT) enzymes and HIV-1(NL4-3) infectious clones. Drug susceptibilities were determined in cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs). Structural modeling was performed to analyze any impact on deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) binding. The results of phenotyping showed that viruses containing both the E138K and M184V mutations were more resistant to each of FTC, 3TC, and ETR than viruses containing E138K and M184I. Viruses with E138K displayed only modest resistance to ETR, little resistance to efavirenz (EFV), and no resistance to either FTC or 3TC. E138K restored viral replication capacity (RC) in the presence of M184I/V, and this was confirmed in cell-free RT processivity assays. RT enzymes containing E138K, E138K/184I, or E138K/184V exhibited higher processivity than WT RT at low dNTP concentrations. Steady-state kinetic analysis demonstrated that the E138K mutation resulted in decreased K(m)s for dNTPs. In contrast, M184I/V resulted in an increased K(m) for dNTPs compared to those for WT RT. These results indicate that the E138K mutation compensates for both the deficit in dNTP usage and impairment in replication capacity by M184I/V. Structural modeling shows that the addition of E138K to M184I/V promotes tighter dNTP binding.

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