APOL1 variant alleles associate with reduced risk for opportunistic infections in HIV infection

Ping An, Efe Sezgin, Gregory D. Kirk, Priya Duggal, Elizabeth Binns-Roemer, George Nelson, Sophie Limou, Mark L. Van Natta, Douglas A. Jabs, Michelle Estrella, Jeffrey B. Kopp, Cheryl A. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), an innate immune factor against African trypanosoma brucei, inhibits HIV-1 in vitro. The impact of APOL1 G1-G2 variants on HIV-1-associated opportunistic infections (OIs) is unknown. Here, we report findings from a metaanalysis of four HIV/AIDS prospective cohorts (ALIVE, LSOCA, MACS, and WIHS) including 2066 African American participants. Using a global test combining all four cohorts, carriage of two APOL1 variant alleles is associated with a 50% reduction in odds of OI (combined OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.33-0.76). Subgroup analysis of OI etiological categories (viral, parasitic, fungal and Mycobacterial) suggests the possibility of specific protection from fungal infections (OR 0.54. 95% CI 0.32-0.93; PBonferroni corrected = 0.08). We observe an association of APOL1 variant alleles with host protection against OI in HIV-positive individuals. The study suggests a broader role of APOL1 variant alleles in innate immunity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number284
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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