Acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 isolates among immunocompromised patients in southern Taiwan: Low prevalence and novel mutations

Jhao You Kuo, Chun Sheng Yeh, Shih Min Wang, Shun Hua Chen, Jen Ren Wang, Tsai Yun Chen, Huey Pin Tsai

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Abstract

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) can establish latency in humans and easily relapse in immunocompromised patients, with significant mortality. Treatment with acyclovir (ACV) can result in the emergence of HSV resistance. A total of 440 frozen HSV-1 isolates collected from 318 patients from January 2014 to July 2019 were obtained from National Cheng Kung University Hospital in southern Taiwan. These 440 isolates were subjected to phenotypic studies for ACV-resistance by initial screening with the plaque reduction assay (PRA) and further validation by the DNA reduction assay (DRA). The ACV-resistant strains were further investigated by Sanger sequencing for the full-length UL23 and UL30 genes, which encode thymidine kinase and DNA polymerase, respectively. Hematological malignancies or hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation patients accounted for 56.9% (124/218) among the immunocompromised patients (218/318) in this study. Repeated sampling for HSV testing was 50% (109/218) in immunocompromised patients. Only 1.38% (3/218) of immunocompromised patients and 0.9% (3/318) of all patients developed ACV-resistant HSV-1 as measured by phenotypic screening assays. It is noteworthy that a novel Y248D mutation in the UL23 gene from an immunocompromised patient was found by both PRA and DRA. In 3D protein predicting analysis, uncharged Y248 was located at an alpha-helix and substituted by negative-charged D248, which may alter the function of viral thymidine kinase. Besides, three unreported mutations related to natural polymorphism were found in virus isolates from two immunocompetent patients, including 683−688 deletion, R227H, and A351D in the UL30 gene. These data show that the prevalence of ACV-resistant HSV-1 among immunocompromised patients in southern Taiwan is low. These results will be helpful for the clinical management and treatment of HSV infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28985
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Volume95
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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