Attenuated simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) have been described that produce low levels of plasma virion RNA and exhibit a reduced capacity to cause disease. These viruses are particularly useful in identifying viral determinants of pathogenesis. In the present study, we show that mutation of a highly conserved tyrosine (Tyr)-containing motif (Yxxφ) in the envelope glycoprotein (Env) cytoplasmic tail (amino acids YRPV at positions 721 to 724) can profoundly reduce the in vivo pathogenicity of SIVmac239. This domain constitutes both a potent endocytosis signal that reduces Env expression on infected cells and a sorting signal that directs Env expression to the basolateral surface of polarized cells. Rhesus macaques were inoculated with SIVmac239 control or SIVmac239 containing either a Tyr-721-to-Ile mutation (SIVmac239Y/I) or a deletion of Tyr-721 and the preceding glycine (ΔGY). To assess the in vivo replication competence, all viruses contained a stop codon in nef that has been shown to revert during in vivo but not in vitro replication. All three control animals developed high viral loads and disease. One of two animals that received SIVmac239Y/I and two of three animals that received SIVmac239ΔGY remained healthy for up to 140 weeks with low to undetectable plasma viral RNA levels and normal CD4+ T-cell percentages. These animals exhibited ongoing viral replication as determined by detection of viral sequences and culturing of mutant viruses from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and persistent anti-SIV antibody titers. In one animal that received SIVmac239Y/I, the Ile reverted to a Tyr and was associated with a high plasma RNA level and disease, while one animal that received SIVmac239ΔGY also developed a high viral load that was associated with novel and possibly compensatory mutations in the TM cytoplasmic domain. In all control and experimental animals, the nef stop codon reverted to an open reading frame within the first 2 months of inoculation, indicating that the mutant viruses had replicated well enough to repair this mutation. These findings indicate that the Yxxφ signal plays an important role in SIV pathogenesis. Moreover, because mutations in this motif may attenuate SIV through mechanisms that are distinct from those caused by mutations in nef, this Tyr-based sorting signal represents a novel target for future models of SIV and human immunodeficiency virus attenuation that could be useful in new vaccine strategies.
We previously showed that a prototype gel comprising zinc acetate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) protected mice against vaginal and rectal herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) challenge as well as macaques against vaginal simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) challenge. In this work, we modified buffers and cosolvents to obtain a stable, nearly iso-osmolal formulation and evaluated its safety and efficacy against SHIV-RT and HSV-2. In vitro toxicity to lactobacilli and Candida albicans was determined. Macaques were given daily doses of ZA and CG (ZA/CG) or CG alone vaginally for 14 days and challenged with SHIV-RT 24 h later. Mice were challenged vaginally or rectally with HSV-2 immediately after a single gel treatment to measure efficacy or vaginally 12 h after daily gel treatment for 7 days to evaluate the gel's impact on susceptibility to HSV-2 infection. The modified ZA/CG neither affected the viability of lactobacilli or C. albicans nor enhanced vaginal HSV-2 infection after daily ZA/CG treatment. Vaginal SHIV-RT infection of macaques was reduced by 66% (P = 0.006) when macaques were challenged 24 h after the last dose of gel. We observed 60% to 80% uninfected mice after vaginal (P < 0.0001) and rectal (P = 0.008) high-dose HSV-2 challenge. The modified ZA/CG gel is safe and effective in animal models and represents a potential candidate to limit the transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
We used the simian immunodeficiency virus mac251 (SIVmac251) macaque model to study the effect of the dose of mucosal exposure on vaccine efficacy. We immunized macaques with a DNA prime followed by SIV gp120 protein immunization with ALVAC-SIV and gp120 in alum, and we challenged them with SIVmac251 at either a single high dose or at two repeated low-dose exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose. Infection was neither prevented nor modified following a single high-dose challenge of the immunized macaques. However, two exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose resulted in protection from SIVmac251 acquisition in 3 out of 12 macaques. The remaining animals that were infected had a modulated pathogenesis, significant downregulation of interferon responsive genes, and upregulation of genes involved in B- and T-cell responses. Thus, the choice of the experimental model greatly influences the vaccine efficacy of vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
HIV/SIV disease progression is associated with multifocal damage to the GI tract epithelial barrier that correlates with microbial translocation and persistent pathological immune activation but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Investigating alterations in mucosal immunity during SIV infection, we found that damage to the colonic epithelial barrier was associated with loss of multiple lineages of IL-17-producing lymphocytes, cells that microarray analysis showed express genes important for enterocyte homeostasis, including IL-22. IL-22-producing lymphocytes were also lost after SIV infection. Potentially explaining coordinate loss of these distinct populations, we also observed loss of CD103+ DCs after SIV infection which associated with loss of IL-17 and IL-22-producing lymphocytes. CD103+ DCs expressed genes associated with promotion of IL-17/IL-22+ cells, and co-culture of CD103+ DCs and naïve T-cells led to increased IL17A and RORc expression in differentiating T-cells. These results reveal complex interactions between mucosal immune cell subsets providing potential mechanistic insights into mechanisms of mucosal immune dysregulation during HIV/SIV infection, and offer hints for development of novel therapeutic strategies to address this aspect of AIDS virus pathogenesis.
Effective strategies for preventing human immunodeficiency virus infection are urgently needed, but recent failures in key clinical trials of vaccines and microbicides highlight the need for new approaches validated in relevant animal models. Here, we show that 2 new chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 inhibitors, 5P12-RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) and 6P4-RANTES, fully protect against infection in the rhesus vaginal challenge model. These highly potent molecules, which are amenable to low-cost production, represent promising new additions to the microbicides pipeline.
HIV infection results in gastrointestinal (GI) tract damage, microbial translocation, and immune activation, which are not completely ameliorated with suppression of viremia by antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. Furthermore, increased morbidity and mortality of ARV-treated HIV-infected individuals is associated with these dysfunctions. Thus, to enhance GI tract physiology, we treated SIV-infected pigtail macaques with ARVs, probiotics, and prebiotics or with ARVs alone. This synbiotic treatment resulted in increased frequency and functionality of GI tract APCs, enhanced reconstitution and functionality of CD4+ T cells, and reduced fibrosis of lymphoid follicles in the colon. Thus, ARV synbiotic supplementation in HIV-infected individuals may improve GI tract immunity and thereby mitigate inflammatory sequelae, ultimately improving prognosis.
HIV-1 and its simian counterpart SIV have been exquisitely tailored by evolution to evade host immunity. By virtue of specific adaptations that thwart individual innate or adaptive immune mechanisms, and an overall replication strategy that provides for rapid establishment of a large, systemic viral population, capable of dynamic adaptation to almost all immune selection pressures, these viruses, once established, almost invariably stay one step ahead of the host, and in the vast majority of infected individuals, replicate indefinitely. Although many of vaccine approaches tested to date have been able to enhance the magnitude of the immune responses to HIV/SIV infection, most of these responses, whether cellular or humoral in nature, have largely failed to be both effectively anti-viral and targeted such that fully functional escape variants are not easily selected. Recent advances, however, have provided strong evidence that the initial stages of infection following mucosal transmission of these viruses are more vulnerable to immune intervention, and have led to the development of vaccine strategies that elicit responses able to effectively intervene in these early stages of infection, either preventing acquisition of infection or by establishing early, stringent, and durable control. Here, we place HIV/AIDS vaccine development in the context of the basic immunobiology of HIV/SIV, review the evidence for the vulnerability of early infection to immunity, and discuss how these newly recognized immune vulnerabilities might be exploited for the development of an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine.
HIV/SIV; T cell vaccines; antibody vaccines; immune evasion; nonhuman primate models; persistent vectors; immune clearance
Specific major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alleles are associated with an increased frequency of spontaneous control of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV). The mechanism of control is thought to involve MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cells, but it is not clear whether particular CD8+ T cell responses or a broad repertoire of epitope-specific CD8+ T cell populations (termed T cell breadth) are principally responsible for mediating immunologic control. To test the hypothesis that heterozygous macaques control SIV replication as a function of superior T cell breadth, we infected MHC-homozygous and MHC-heterozygous cynomolgus macaques with the pathogenic virus SIVmac239. As measured by a gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (IFN-γ ELISPOT) using blood, T cell breadth did not differ significantly between homozygotes and heterozygotes. Surprisingly, macaques that controlled SIV replication, regardless of their MHC zygosity, shared durable T cell responses against similar regions of Nef. While the limited genetic variability in these animals prevents us from making generalizations about the importance of Nef-specific T cell responses in controlling HIV, these results suggest that the T cell-mediated control of virus replication that we observed is more likely the consequence of targeting specificity rather than T cell breadth.
Despite the fact that approximately half of all HIV patients acquire infection through penile exposure, there have been no recent studies of penile SIV transmission in rhesus macaques and the nature of the virus variants transmitted, target cells, and pathways of virus dissemination to systemic lymphoid tissues are not known. Single genome amplification (SGA) and sequencing of HIV-1 RNA in plasma of acutely infected humans allows the identification and enumeration of transmitted/founder viruses responsible for productive systemic infection. Studies using the SGA strategy have shown that intrarectal and intravaginal SIV transmission to macaques recapitulates key features of human HIV transmission. To date, no studies have used the SGA assay to identify transmitted/founder virus(es) in macaques infected after penile SIV exposure. Here we report that SIV can be transmitted by penile SIV exposure. However, similar exposure to a high-dose inoculum infects only about half the animals, which is about 50% less efficient transmission than occurs after vaginal SIV challenge. In addition, only a single SIV env variant established the systemic infection in all five animals that became infected after penile exposure, a result that is consistent with low incidence and few transmitted HIV variants in heterosexually infected men. Our results suggest that the penile transmission of SIVmac251 in rhesus macaques recapitulates the key features of penile HIV-1 transmission and may provide insight into host or viral factors that permit penile transmission and dissemination. Furthermore, this SIV challenge exposure route will be useful in testing vaccines and other prophylactic approaches.
Memory CD4+ T cell homeostasis and AIDS progression are independent of naive CD4+ T cells in SIV infection of nonhuman primates.
The development of AIDS in chronic HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection has been closely linked to progressive failure of CD4+ memory T cell (TM) homeostasis. CD4+ naive T cells (TN) also decline in these infections, but their contribution to disease progression is less clear. We assessed the role of CD4+ TN in SIV pathogenesis using rhesus macaques (RMs) selectively and permanently depleted of CD4+ TN before SIV infection. CD4+ TN-depleted and CD4+ TN-repleted RMs were created by subjecting juvenile RMs to thymectomy versus sham surgery, respectively, followed by total CD4+ T cell depletion and recovery from this depletion. Although thymectomized and sham-treated RMs manifested comparable CD4+ TM recovery, only sham-treated RMs reconstituted CD4+ TN. CD4+ TN-depleted RMs responded to SIVmac239 infection with markedly attenuated SIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses, delayed SIVenv-specific Ab responses, and reduced SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses. However, CD4+ TN-depleted and -repleted groups showed similar levels of SIV replication. Moreover, CD4+ TN deficiency had no significant effect on CD4+ TM homeostasis (either on or off anti-retroviral therapy) or disease progression. These data demonstrate that the CD4+ TN compartment is dispensable for CD4+ TM homeostasis in progressive SIV infection, and they confirm that CD4+ TM comprise a homeostatically independent compartment that is intrinsically capable of self-renewal.
Live-attenuated strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) routinely confer apparent sterilizing immunity against pathogenic SIV challenge in rhesus macaques. Understanding the mechanisms of protection by live-attenuated SIV may provide important insights into the immune responses needed for protection against HIV-1. Here we investigated the development of antibodies that are functional against neutralization-resistant SIV challenge strains, and tested the hypothesis that these antibodies are associated with protection. In the absence of detectable neutralizing antibodies, Env-specific antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) emerged by three weeks after inoculation with SIVΔnef, increased progressively over time, and was proportional to SIVΔnef replication. Persistent infection with SIVΔnef elicited significantly higher ADCC titers than immunization with a non-persistent SIV strain that is limited to a single cycle of infection. ADCC titers were higher against viruses matched to the vaccine strain in Env, but were measurable against viruses expressing heterologous Env proteins. In two separate experiments, which took advantage of either the strain-specificity or the time-dependent maturation of immunity to overcome complete protection against SIVmac251 challenge, measures of ADCC activity were higher among the SIVΔnef-inoculated macaques that remained uninfected than among those that became infected. These observations show that features of the antibody response elicited by SIVΔnef are consistent with hallmarks of protection by live-attenuated SIV, and reveal an association between Env-specific antibodies that direct ADCC and apparent sterilizing protection by SIVΔnef.
Live-attenuated vaccines can prevent simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection upon experimental challenge of rhesus macaques. Although safety considerations preclude vaccinating humans with live-attenuated HIV-1, it may be possible to replicate the types of immunity induced by live-attenuated SIV through an alternative approach. Thus, identifying the immune responses underlying protection by live-attenuated SIV and understanding their induction would provide guidance for HIV-1 vaccine design. An important role for the maturation of virus-specific antibody responses could explain the time-dependent development of protection by live-attenuated SIV. However, antibodies that block the entry of the challenge virus into cells are usually undetectable. Antibodies can also direct the killing of virus-infected cells by antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Here we show that live-attenuated SIV induces progressive increases in ADCC over time, and that the development of these antibodies is dependent upon the persistent replication of the vaccine strain. In two different experiments, the animals immunized with live-attenuated SIV that remained uninfected after pathogenic SIV challenge had higher measures of ADCC than those that became infected. Our results suggest that antibodies contribute to protection by live-attenuated SIV, and that persistent stimulation of antibody responses may be essential for HIV-1 vaccines to induce high ADCC activity.
Recombinant strains of replication-competent rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV) were constructed in which strong promoter/enhancer elements were used to drive expression of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Env or Gag or a Rev-Tat-Nef fusion protein. Cultured rhesus monkey fibroblasts infected with each recombinant strain were shown to express the expected protein. Three RRV-negative and two RRV-positive rhesus monkeys were inoculated intravenously with a mixture of these three recombinant RRVs. Expression of SIV Gag was readily detected in lymph node biopsy specimens taken at 3 weeks postimmunization. Impressive anti-SIV cellular immune responses were elicited on the basis of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) tetramer staining and gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays. Responses were much greater in magnitude in the monkeys that were initially RRV negative but were still readily detected in the two monkeys that were naturally infected with RRV at the time of immunization. By 3 weeks postimmunization, responses measured by MHC tetramer staining in the two Mamu-A*01+ RRV-negative monkeys reached 9.3% and 13.1% of all CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood to the Gag CM9 epitope and 2.3% and 7.3% of all CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood to the Tat SL8 epitope. Virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses persisted at high levels up to the time of challenge at 18 weeks postimmunization, and responding cells maintained an effector memory phenotype. Despite the ability of the RRVenv recombinant to express high levels of Env in cultured cells, and despite the appearance of strong anti-RRV antibody responses in immunized monkeys, anti-Env antibody responses were below our ability to detect them. Immunized monkeys, together with three unimmunized controls, were challenged intravenously with 10 monkey infectious doses of SIVmac239. All five immunized monkeys and all three controls became infected with SIV, but peak viral loads were 1.2 to 3.0 log10 units lower and chronic-phase viral loads were 1.0 to 3.0 log10 units lower in immunized animals than the geometric mean of unimmunized controls. These differences were statistically significant. Anti-Env antibody responses following challenge indicated an anamnestic response in the vaccinated monkeys. These findings further demonstrate the potential of recombinant herpesviruses as preventive vaccines for AIDS. We hypothesize that this live, replication-competent, persistent herpesvirus vector could match, or come close to matching, live attenuated strains of SIV in the degree of protection if the difficulty with elicitation of anti-Env antibody responses can be overcome.
Nonhuman primate (NHP) disease models for AIDS have made important contributions to the search for effective vaccines for AIDS. Viral diversity, persistence, capacity for immune evasion, and safety considerations have limited development of conventional approaches using killed or attenuated vaccines, necessitating the development of novel approaches. Here we highlight the knowledge gained and lessons learned in testing vaccine concepts in different virus/NHP host combinations.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections in nonhuman primates (e.g., Asian macaques) have striking similarities with human AIDS. Chimeric viral constructs containing HIV genes can be used to model AIDS in nonhuman primates.
The trimeric envelope glycoprotein (Env) spikes displayed on the surfaces of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions are composed of three heterodimers of the viral glycoproteins gp120 and gp41. Although binding of gp120 to cell surface CD4 and a chemokine receptor is known to elicit conformational changes in gp120 and gp41, changes in quaternary structure of the trimer have only recently been elucidated. For the HIV-1 BaL isolate, CD4 attachment results in a striking rearrangement of the trimer from a “closed” to an “open” conformation. The effect of CD4 on SIV trimers, however, has not been described. Using cryo-electron tomography, we have now determined molecular architectures of the soluble CD4 (sCD4)-bound states of SIV Env trimers for three different strains (SIVmneE11S, SIVmac239, and SIV CP-MAC). In marked contrast to HIV-1 BaL, SIVmneE11S and SIVmac239 Env showed only minor conformational changes following sCD4 binding. In SIV CP-MAC, where trimeric Env displays a constitutively “open” conformation similar to that seen for HIV-1 BaL Env in the sCD4-complexed state, we show that there are no significant further changes in conformation upon the binding of either sCD4 or 7D3 antibody. The density maps also show that 7D3 and 17b antibodies target epitopes on gp120 that are on opposites sides of the coreceptor binding site. These results provide new insights into the structural diversity of SIV Env and show that there are strain-dependent variations in the orientation of sCD4 bound to trimeric SIV Env.
The AIDS-causing lentiviruses HIV and SIV effectively evade host immunity, and once established, infections with these viruses are only rarely controlled by immunologic mechanisms1-3. However, the initial establishment of infection in the first few days after mucosal exposure, prior to viral dissemination and massive replication, may be more vulnerable to immune control4. Here, we report that SIV vaccines that include rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV) vectors5 establish indefinitely persistent, high frequency, SIV-specific effector-memory T cell (TEM) responses at potential sites of SIV replication in rhesus macaques (RM) and stringently control highly pathogenic SIVmac239 infection early after mucosal challenge. Thirteen of 24 RM receiving either RhCMV vectors alone or RhCMV vectors followed by adenovirus 5 (Ad5) vectors (vs. 0 of 9 DNA/Ad5-vaccinated RM) manifested early complete control of SIV (undetectable plasma virus), and in 12/13 of these RM, we observed long-term (≥1 year) protection characterized by: 1) occasional blips of plasma viremia that ultimately waned; 2) predominantly undetectable cell-associated viral load in blood and lymph node mononuclear cells; 3) no depletion of effector site CD4+ memory T cells; 4) no induction or boosting of SIVenv-specific antibodies (Abs); and 5) induction and then loss of T cell responses to an SIV protein (vif) not included in the RhCMV vectors. Protection correlated with the magnitude of the peak SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in the vaccine phase, and occurred without anamnestic T cell responses. Remarkably, long-term RhCMV vector-associated SIV control was insensitive to either CD8+ or CD4+ lymphocyte depletion, and at necropsy, cell-associated SIV was only occasionally measurable at the limit of detection with ultrasensitive assays, observations suggesting the possibility of eventual viral clearance. Thus, persistent vectors such as CMV and their associated TEM responses might significantly contribute to an efficacious HIV/AIDS vaccine.
Interaction with the complement system is an underappreciated aspect of HIV-1 infection; even in primary infection, complement fragments are found on virions with potential to affect the interplay between the virus and dendritic cells (DC). Since opsonization may affect the efficiency of uptake and the type of receptors utilized, we compared the interactions of DC with free HIV-1 (F-HIV) and complement opsonized HIV-1 (C-HIV). We demonstrate that C-HIV significantly enhanced the uptake by immature DC (IDC) and mature DC (MDC) and that the internalization rate was dependent on both opsonization of the virus and DC maturation state. Increased DC uptake of C-HIV was not due to opsonization related increased binding of virus to the surface of DC but rather increased internalization of C-HIV despite utilizing a similar repertoire of receptors as F-HIV. Both F-HIV and C-HIV interacted with C-type lectins, integrins, and CD4 and blocking these receptor families prevented HIV-1 from binding to DC at 4°C. Blocking integrins significantly reduced the binding and uptake of F-HIV and C-HIV implicating the involvement of several integrins such as β1-integrin, CR3, LFA-1, and α4β7. Distinctive for C-HIV was usage of β1-integrin and for F-HIV, usage of β7-integrin, whereas both F-HIV and C-HIV utilized both integrin chains of CR3. We have in this study identified the receptor types used by both F-HIV and C-HIV to bind to DC. Noteworthy, C-HIV was internalized more efficiently by DC than F-HIV, probably via receptor mediated endocytosis, which may entail different intracellular processing of the virus leading to both elevated infection and altered activation of HIV specific immune responses.
CD4+ T cell depletion is a fundamental component of HIV infection and AIDS pathogenesis, and is not always reversed following anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Here the SIV-infected Rhesus macaque model was utilized to assess recombinant simian IL-7 in its glycosylated form (rsIL-7gly) to enhance regeneration of CD4+ T cells, particularly the crucial central memory (CM) compartment, post ART. We assessed the impact of rsIL-7gly administration as single injections and as a cluster of three doses. Irrespective of the dosing strategy utilized, the rsIL-7gly administration transiently increased proliferation of both CM and naïve cells, in both CD4+ and CD8+ subsets without increasing SIV levels in the blood. Administration of rsIL-7gly at intervals of 4-6 weeks maximized the proliferative response to therapy, but resulted in only transient increases in peripheral blood T cell counts. However, more frequent rsIL-7gly ‘clustered’ dosing (weekly × 3, with 2 weeks rest and then repeat) induced only an initial proliferative burst by CD4+ T cells, this dosing strategy resulted in sustained increases in peripheral blood CD4+ T cell counts. The clustered rsIL-7gly treatment regimen was shown to increase the half-life of a bromodeoxy-uridine (BrDU) label among memory T cells in the blood when compared to macaques treated with ART alone, consistent with enhanced cell survival. These results indicate that dosing intervals have a major impact on the response to rsIL-7gly in SIV+ ART treated RM, and that optimum dosing strategies may be ones that induce CD4+ T cell proliferation initially and provide increased CD4+ T cell survival.
Chronic HIV-1 infection is characterized by high levels of persistent immune activation. Both HIV-1-encoded TLR7/8 ligands and TLR ligands encoded by products of microbial translocation have been implicated in inducing and sustaining immune activation in infected individuals, but the consequences of simultaneous exposure to different TLR ligands is not well understood.
To examine the impact of pre-exposure of monocytes to HIV-1 encoded TLR8 ligands on their ability to respond to subsequent stimulation with microbial TLR2/4 ligands.
Stable monocytic cell lines (THP1-Blue™-CD14 cells) or primary monocytes were stimulated with ligands for TLR2, TLR4 and TLR8, including chemically inactivated HIV-1, alone, or in sequential combinations. Responses by THP1 cells to TLR stimulation were quantified using quanti-blue colometric assay, and TLR-induced TNF-α production of primary monocytes was quantified by intracellular cytokine staining using flow cytometry.
The exposure of monocytes to HIV-1 or HIV-1-derived TLR8 ligands sensitized these cells for TLR4 stimulation, resulting in a significant higher response to LPS compared to cells that were not pre-stimulated with TLR8 ligands or HIV-1.
TLR crosstalk can enhance the pro-inflammatory monocytes response to products of microbial translocation, and might play an important role in the modulation of immune function in HIV-1 infection.
HIV-1; Toll-like receptors; monocytes; LPS; microbial translocation
The impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on the genetics of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) populations has been incompletely characterized. We analyzed SIV genetic variation before, during, and after ART in a macaque model. Six pigtail macaques were infected with an SIV/HIV chimeric virus, RT-SHIVmne, in which SIV reverse transcriptase (RT) was replaced by HIV-1 RT. Three animals received a short course of efavirenz (EFV) monotherapy before combination ART was started. All macaques received 20 weeks of tenofovir, emtricitabine, and EFV. Plasma virus populations were analyzed by single-genome sequencing. Population diversity was measured by average pairwise difference, and changes in viral genetics were assessed by phylogenetic and panmixia analyses. After 20 weeks of ART, viral diversity was not different from pretherapy viral diversity despite more than 10,000-fold declines in viremia, indicating that, within this range, there is no relationship between diversity and plasma viremia. In two animals with consistent SIV RNA suppression to <15 copies/ml during ART, there was no evidence of viral evolution. In contrast, in the four macaques with viremias >15 copies/ml during therapy, there was divergence between pre- and during-ART virus populations. Drug resistance mutations emerged in two of these four animals, resulting in virologic failure in the animal with the highest level of pretherapy viremia. Taken together, these findings indicate that viral diversity does not decrease with suppressive ART, that ongoing replication occurs with viremias >15 copies/ml, and that in this macaque model of ART drug resistance likely emerges as a result of incomplete suppression and preexisting drug resistance mutations.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) increases the risk of HIV-1 infection and, although several reports describe the interaction between these two viruses, the exact mechanism for this increased susceptibility remains unclear. Dendritic cells (DCs) at the site of entry of HSV-2 and HIV-1 contribute to viral spread in the mucosa. Specialized DCs present in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues produce retinoic acid (RA), an important immunomodulator, able to influence HIV-1 replication and a key mediator of integrin α4β7 on lymphocytes. α4β7 can be engaged by HIV-1 on the cell-surface and CD4+ T cells expressing high levels of this integrin (α4β7high) are particularly susceptible to HIV-1 infection. Herein we provide in-vivo data in macaques showing an increased percentage of α4β7high CD4+ T cells in rectal mucosa, iliac lymph nodes and blood within 6 days of rectal exposure to live (n = 11), but not UV-treated (n = 8), HSV-2. We found that CD11c+ DCs are a major target of HSV-2 infection in in-vitro exposed PBMCs. We determined that immature monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) express aldehyde dehydrogenase ALDH1A1, an enzyme essential for RA production, which increases upon HSV-2 infection. Moreover, HSV-2-infected moDCs significantly increase α4β7 expression on CD4+ T lymphocytes and HIV-1 infection in DC-T cell mixtures in a RA-dependent manner. Thus, we propose that HSV-2 modulates its microenviroment, influencing DC function, increasing RA production capability and amplifying a α4β7highCD4+ T cells. These factors may play a role in increasing the susceptibility to HIV-1.
The vast majority of HIV-1 infections occur through genital and rectal mucosa. A better understanding of the characteristics of the mucosal microenvironment that help HIV-1 replication is critical to developing strategies for prevention of HIV-1 transmission. HSV-2 infects genital and rectal mucosa and infected individuals carry an increased risk for HIV-1 infection. Clarifying the mechanisms involved in the increased susceptibility of HSV-2 positive individuals to HIV-1 infection may help understating the characteristics of mucosal microenvironment that facilitate HIV-1 transmission. We previously described a specific interaction between HIV-1 and integrin α4β7, a signature molecule that allows lymphocytes to gain access to the gut tissue, a major site of HIV-1 replication. Vitamin A and its metabolite, retinoic acid, have an important role in balancing the immune response in the gut and in the expression of integrin α4β7. Here we describe that HSV-2 rectal infection in monkeys increases the frequency of α4β7+ CD4+ T cells in blood and rectal tissue and that this could be at least partially explained by the ability of HSV-2 infected DCs to secrete retinoic acid and up-regulate α4β7 on CD4+ T cells. These phenomena could be responsible for increasing HIV-1 replication in DC-T cell co-cultures.
Recognition of HIV-1 ssRNA by TLR7 induces the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines that may contribute to the systemic immune activation associated with HIV-1 disease progression. Here we describe a novel association between polymorphisms in IRF7, a master regulator of IFNα, and the ability of pDCs to produce IFNα in response to HIV-1. IRF7 polymorphisms may therefore affect the ability of individuals to respond to HIV-1 and alter HIV-1 disease progression.
Immunization of rhesus macaques with strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that are limited to a single cycle of infection elicits T-cell responses to multiple viral gene products and antibodies capable of neutralizing lab-adapted SIV, but not neutralization-resistant primary isolates of SIV. In an effort to improve upon the antibody responses, we immunized rhesus macaques with three strains of single-cycle SIV (scSIV) that express envelope glycoproteins modified to lack structural features thought to interfere with the development of neutralizing antibodies. These envelope-modified strains of scSIV lacked either five potential N-linked glycosylation sites in gp120, three potential N-linked glycosylation sites in gp41, or 100 amino acids in the V1V2 region of gp120. Three doses consisting of a mixture of the three envelope-modified strains of scSIV were administered on weeks 0, 6, and 12, followed by two booster inoculations with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) G trans-complemented scSIV on weeks 18 and 24. Although this immunization regimen did not elicit antibodies capable of detectably neutralizing SIVmac239 or SIVmac251UCD, neutralizing antibody titers to the envelope-modified strains were selectively enhanced. Virus-specific antibodies and T cells were observed in the vaginal mucosa. After 20 weeks of repeated, low-dose vaginal challenge with SIVmac251UCD, six of eight immunized animals versus six of six naïve controls became infected. Although immunization did not significantly reduce the likelihood of acquiring immunodeficiency virus infection, statistically significant reductions in peak and set point viral loads were observed in the immunized animals relative to the naïve control animals.
Accumulating evidence indicates that immune impairment in persistent viral infections could lead to T-cell exhaustion. To evaluate the potential contribution of induction of negative costimulatory molecules to impaired T-cell responses, we primed naïve T cells with mature monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) pulsed with HIV-1 in vitro. We used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry, respectively, to compare the gene and surface-protein expression profiles of naïve T cells primed with HIV-pulsed or mock-pulsed DCs. We detected elevated expressions of negative costimulatory molecules, including lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3), CD160, cytolytic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), T-cell immunoglobulin mucin-containing domain-3 (TIM-3), programmed death-1 (PD-1) and TRAIL (tumor necrosis-factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand) in T cells primed by HIV-pulsed DCs. The PD-1+ T-cell population also coexpressed TIM-3, LAG-3, and CTLA-4. Interestingly, we also found an increase in gene expression of the transcriptional repressors Blimp-1 (B-lymphocyte–induced maturation protein-1) and Foxp3 (forkhead transcription factor) in T-cells primed by HIV-pulsed DCs; Blimp-1 expression was directly proportional to the expression of the negative costimulatory molecules. Furthermore, levels of the effector cytokines interleukin-2, tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ, and perforin and granzyme B were decreased in T-cell populations primed by HIV-pulsed DCs. In conclusion, in vitro priming of naïve T-cells with HIV-pulsed DC leads to expansion of T cells with coexpression of a broad array of negative costimulatory molecules and Blimp-1, with potential deleterious consequences for T-cell responses.
The hallmark of HIV-1 and SIV infections is CD4+ T cell depletion. Both direct cell killing and indirect mechanisms related to immune activation have been suggested to cause the depletion of T cells. We have now identified a mechanism by which immune activation-induced fibrosis of lymphoid tissues leads to depletion of naive T cells in HIV-1 infected patients and SIV-infected rhesus macaques. The T regulatory cell response to immune activation increased procollagen production and subsequent deposition as fibrils via the TGF-β1 signaling pathway and chitinase 3-like-1 activity in fibroblasts in lymphoid tissues from patients infected with HIV-1. Collagen deposition restricted T cell access to the survival factor IL-7 on the fibroblastic reticular cell (FRC) network, resulting in apoptosis and depletion of T cells, which, in turn, removed a major source of lymphotoxin-β, a survival factor for FRCs during SIV infection in rhesus macaques. The resulting loss of FRCs and the loss of IL-7 produced by FRCs may thus perpetuate a vicious cycle of depletion of T cells and the FRC network. Because this process is cumulative, early treatment and antifibrotic therapies may offer approaches to moderate T cell depletion and improve immune reconstitution during HIV-1 infection.
Plasma viremia decreases coincident with the appearance of virus-specific CD8+ T cells during acute HIV or SIV infection. This finding, along with demonstrations of viral mutational escape from CD8+ T-cell responses and transient increase in plasma viremia after depletion of CD8+ T cells in SIV-infected monkeys strongly suggest a role for CD8+ T cells in controlling HIV/SIV. However, direct quantitative or qualitative correlates between CD8+ T-cell activity and virus control have not been established. To directly assess the impact of large numbers of virus-specific CD8+ T cells present at time of SIV infection, we transferred in vitro expanded autologous central and effector memory-derived Gag CM9-, Nef YY9- and Vif WY8-specific CD8+ T-cell clones to acutely infected rhesus macaques. The cells persisted in PBMC between 4 and 9 days but were not detected in gut-associated lymphoid tissue or lymph nodes. Interestingly, a high frequency of the infused cells localized to the lungs where they persisted at high frequency for more than 6 weeks. While persisting cells in the lungs were antigen reactive, there was no measurable effect on virus load. Sequencing of virus from the animal receiving Nef YY9-specific CD8+ T cells demonstrated an escape mutation in this epitope less than 3 weeks post infection, consistent with immune selection pressure by the infused cells. These studies establish methods for adoptive transfer of autologous SIV-specific CD8+ T cells for evaluating immune control during acute infection, and demonstrate that infused cells retain function and persist for at least 2 months in specific tissues.