Background: Because of high intersubtype HIV-1 genetic variability, it has been shown that subtype-specific patterns of resistance to antiretroviral drugs exist. We wished to ascertain whether this might be true for integrase inhibitors.
Methods: We compared the susceptibility of subtype B and C HIV-1 integrase enzymes, harboring the previously reported resistance mutations E92Q, N155H, and E92Q/N155H, to clinically relevant integrase inhibitors. This was performed biochemically using a microtiter plate system.
Results: Subtype C integrase enzymes bearing the resistance mutations E92Q/N155H were approximately 10-fold more susceptible to each of two integrase inhibitors, raltegravir and elvitegravir, than were subtype B recombinant integrase containing the same mutations.
Conclusion: Polymorphic differences within the subtype B and C integrase genes likely cause variations in the contribution of N155H alone or in combination with E92Q to drug resistance. It is possible that different viral subtypes may favor different mutational pathways, potentially leading to varying levels of drug resistance among different subtypes.