Dolutegravir maintains a durable effect against HIV replication in tissue culture even after drug washout

Nathan Osman, Thibault Mesplède, Peter K Quashie, Maureen Oliveira, Veronica Zanichelli, Mark A Wainberg
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2015, 70 (10): 2810-5

OBJECTIVES: Of the currently approved HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), dolutegravir has shown greater efficacy than raltegravir at suppressing HIV-1 replication in treatment-experienced individuals. Biochemical experiments have also shown that dolutegravir has a longer dissociative half-life when bound to HIV integrase than does raltegravir. In order to study the intracellular efficacy of various INSTIs, we asked whether drug removal from INSTI-treated HIV-1-infected cells would result in different times to viral rebound. In addition, we assessed the role of the R263K substitution within the integrase ORF that is associated with low-level resistance to dolutegravir.

METHODS: HIV-infected MT-2 cells were treated with dolutegravir, raltegravir or a third experimental INSTI (MK-2048) and the drugs were washed out after varying times. Viral replication was monitored by measuring reverse transcriptase (RT) activity in the culture fluids.

RESULTS: We observed a significantly slower increase in RT activity after the removal of dolutegravir compared with raltegravir or MK-2048. The incubation time before the drug was removed also had an impact on the level of RT activity independently of the drug and virus used. The R263K substitution did not significantly impact on levels of RT activity after drug washout, suggesting that dolutegravir remained tightly bound to the integrase enzyme despite the presence of this mutation.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the residency time of INSTIs on integrase is a key factor in the activity of these drugs and that the anti-HIV activity of dolutegravir persists more effectively than that of other INSTIs after drug washout.

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