Use of a high resolution melting (HRM) assay to compare Gag, Pol, and Env diversity in adults with different stages of HIV infection

Matthew M. Cousins, Oliver Laeyendecker, Geetha Beauchamp, Ronald Brookmeyer, William I. Towler, Sarah E. Hudelson, Leila Khaki, Beryl Koblin, Margaret Chesney, Richard D. Moore, Gabor D. Kelen, Thomas Coates, Connie Celum, Susan P. Buchbinder, George R. Seage, Thomas C. Quinn, Deborah Donnell, Susan H. Eshleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Cross-sectional assessment of HIV incidence relies on laboratory methods to discriminate between recent and non-recent HIV infection. Because HIV diversifies over time in infected individuals, HIV diversity may serve as a biomarker for assessing HIV incidence. We used a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay to compare HIV diversity in adults with different stages of HIV infection. This assay provides a single numeric HRM score that reflects the level of genetic diversity of HIV in a sample from an infected individual. Methods: HIV diversity was measured in 203 adults: 20 with acute HIV infection (RNA positive, antibody negative), 116 with recent HIV infection (tested a median of 189 days after a previous negative HIV test, range 14-540 days), and 67 with non-recent HIV infection (HIV infected >2 years). HRM scores were generated for two regions in gag, one region in pol, and three regions in env. Results: Median HRM scores were higher in non-recent infection than in recent infection for all six regions tested. In multivariate models, higher HRM scores in three of the six regions were independently associated with non-recent HIV infection. Conclusions: The HRM diversity assay provides a simple, scalable method for measuring HIV diversity. HRM scores, which reflect the genetic diversity in a viral population, may be useful biomarkers for evaluation of HIV incidence, particularly if multiple regions of the HIV genome are examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27211
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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