A multi-scale mathematical modeling framework to investigate anti-viral therapeutic opportunities in targeting HIV-1 accessory proteins.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.08.032
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) employs accessory proteins to evade innate immune responses by neutralizing the anti-viral activity of host restriction factors. Apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme 3G (APOBEC3G, A3G) and bone marrow stromal cell antigen 2 (BST2) are host resistance factors that potentially inhibit HIV-1 infection. BST2 reduces viral production by tethering budding HIV-1 particles to virus producing cells, while A3G inhibits the reverse transcription (RT) process and induces viral genome hypermutation through cytidine deamination, generating fewer replication competent progeny virus. Two HIV-1 proteins counter these cellular restriction factors: Vpu, which reduces surface BST2, and Vif, which degrades cellular A3G. The contest between these host and viral proteins influences whether HIV-1 infection is established and progresses towards AIDS. In this work, we present an age-structured multi-scale viral dynamics model of in vivo HIV-1 infection. We integrated the intracellular dynamics of anti-viral activity of the host factors and their neutralization by HIV-1 accessory proteins into the virus/cell population dynamics model. We calculate the basic reproductive ratio (Ro) as a function of host-viral protein interaction coefficients, and numerically simulated the multi-scale model to understand HIV-1 dynamics following host factor-induced perturbations. We found that reducing the influence of Vpu triggers a drop in Ro, revealing the impact of BST2 on viral infection control. Reducing Vif׳s effect reveals the restrictive efficacy of A3G in blocking RT and in inducing lethal hypermutations, however, neither of these factors alone is sufficient to fully restrict HIV-1 infection. Interestingly, our model further predicts that BST2 and A3G function synergistically, and delineates their relative contribution in limiting HIV-1 infection and disease progression. We provide a robust modeling framework for devising novel combination therapies that target HIV-1 accessory proteins and boost antiviral activity of host factors.