Istvan Bartha, Jonathan M Carlson, Chanson J Brumme, Paul J McLaren, Zabrina L Brumme, Mina John, David W Haas, Javier Martinez-Picado, Judith Dalmau, Cecilio Lopez-Galindez, Concepcion Casado, Andri Rauch, Huldrych F Günthard, Enos Bernasconi, Pietro Vernazza, Thomas Klimkait, Sabine Yerly, Stephen J O'Brien, Jennifer Listgarten, Nico Pfeifer, Christoph Lippert, Nicolo Fusi, Zoltan Kutalik, Todd M Allen, Viktor Müller, P Richard Harrigan, David Heckerman, Amalio Telenti, and Jacques Fellay
29 October 2013
HIV-1 sequence diversity is affected by selection pressures arising from host genomic factors. Using paired human and viral data from 1071 individuals, we ran >3000 genome-wide scans, testing for associations between host DNA polymorphisms, HIV-1 sequence variation and plasma viral load (VL), while considering human and viral population structure. We observed significant human SNP associations to a total of 48 HIV-1 amino acid variants (p<2.4 × 10−12). All associated SNPs mapped to the HLA class I region. Clinical relevance of host and pathogen variation was assessed using VL results. We identified two critical advantages to the use of viral variation for identifying host factors: (1) association signals are much stronger for HIV-1 sequence variants than VL, reflecting the ‘intermediate phenotype’ nature of viral variation; (2) association testing can be run without any clinical data. The proposed genome-to-genome approach highlights sites of genomic conflict and is a strategy generally applicable to studies of host–pathogen interaction.