Clinical and subclinical genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) reactivations have been associated with increases in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genital shedding. Whether HSV-2 shedding contributes to the selection of specific genital HIV-1 variants remains unknown. We evaluated the genetic diversity of genital and blood HIV-1 RNA and DNA in 14 HIV-1/HSV-2-co-infected women, including seven with HSV-2 genital reactivation, and seven without as controls. HIV-1 DNA and HIV-1 RNA env V1-V3 sequences in paired blood and genital samples were compared. The HSV-2 selection pressure on HIV was estimated according to the number of synonymous substitutions (dS), the number of non-synonymous substitutions (dN) and the dS/dN ratio within HIV quasi-species. HIV-1 RNA levels in cervicovaginal secretions were higher in women with HSV-2 replication than in controls (p0.02). Plasma HIV-1 RNA and genital HIV-1 RNA and DNA were genetically compartmentalized. No differences in dS, dN and the dS/dN ratio were observed between the study groups for either genital HIV-1 RNA or plasma HIV-1 RNA. In contrast, dS and dN in genital HIV-1 DNA were significantly higher in patients with HSV-2 genital reactivation (p <0.01 and p <0.05, respectively). The mean of the dS/dN ratio in genital HIV-1 DNA was slightly higher in patients with HSV-2 genital replication, indicating a trend for purifying selection (p 0.056). HSV-2 increased the genetic diversity of genital HIV-1 DNA. These observations confirm molecular interactions between HSV-2 and HIV-1 at the genital tract level.
Keywords: Africa; HIV-1; HSV-2; Herpes simplex virus; genital herpes; phylogeny; variability.
Copyright © 2015 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.