Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Mackelprang RD, Carrington M, Thomas KK, Hughes JP, Baeten JM, Wald A, Farquhar C, Fife K, Campbell MS, Kapiga S, Gao X, Mullins JI, Lingappa JR (2015). Host genetic and viral determinants of HIV-1 RNA set point among HIV-1 seroconverters from sub-saharan Africa. Journal of virology, 89(4), 2104-11. (pubmed) (doi)


We quantified the collective impact of source partner HIV-1 RNA levels, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, and innate responses through Toll-like receptor (TLR) alleles on the HIV-1 set point. Data came from HIV-1 seroconverters in African HIV-1 serodiscordant couple cohorts. Linear regression was used to determine associations with set point and R(2) to estimate variation explained by covariates. The strongest predictors of set point were HLA alleles (B53:01, B14:01, and B*27:03) and plasma HIV-1 levels of the transmitting partner, which explained 13% and 10% of variation in set point, respectively. HLA-A concordance between partners and TLR polymorphisms (TLR2 rs3804100 and TLR7 rs179012) also were associated with set point, explaining 6% and 5% of the variation, respectively. Overall, these factors and genital factors of the transmitter (i.e., male circumcision, bacterial vaginosis, and use of acyclovir) explained 46% of variation in set point. We found that both innate and adaptive immune responses, together with plasma HIV-1 levels of the transmitting partner, explain almost half of the variation in viral load set point.