Detection of drug resistance is critical for determining antiretroviral treatment options. Ultradeep pyrosequencing (UDPS; 454 Life Sciences) is capable of detecting virus variant subpopulations with much greater sensitivity than population sequencing, which typically has a detection limit around 20%. UDPS of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) (amino acids 56-120) was performed to detect the key mutations K65R and L74V associated with tenofovir and abacavir use. Plasma specimens from subjects with persistent rebound viremia following suppression on tenofovir (n = 8) or abacavir (n = 9)-based therapy were studied. Samples from a subject treated with zidovudine/lamivudine/efavirenz with a similar loss of virologic response served as a control. HIV-1 plasma RNA was ≥3.68 log10 copies/ml at all time points sequenced. The median number of UDPS sequences analyzed/time point was 33,246. Among the eight tenofovir-treated subjects, three showed high-frequency (>20%) RT K65R at the time of failure, whereas one showed low-frequency (<20%) L74V; no low-frequency K65R was detected in these subjects. Among the nine abacavir-treated subjects, three showed low-frequency K65R; no L74V was detected in these patients. No K65R or L74V was detected in the samples from the control subject. At failure, other RT mutations were detected, including low-frequency NNRTI-resistant species detected at ≥1 time point in nine subjects; the key NNRTI mutation K103N, however, was always observed at >20% frequency. Although UDPS is useful in the detection of low-frequency subpopulations with transmitted resistance in antiviral-naive patients, it may have less utility in treatment-experienced patients with persistent viremia on therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases