Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) stocks for in vivo nonhuman primate models of AIDS are typically generated by transfection of 293T cells with molecularly cloned viral genomes or by expansion in productively infected T cells. Although titers of stocks are determined for infectivity in vitro prior to in vivo inoculation, virus production methods may differentially affect stock features that are not routinely analyzed but may impact in vivo infectivity, mucosal transmissibility, and early infection events. We performed a detailed analysis of nine SIV stocks, comprising five infection-derived SIVmac251 viral swarm stocks and paired infection- and transfected-293T-cell-derived stocks of both SIVmac239 and SIVmac766. Representative stocks were evaluated for (i) virus content, (ii) infectious titer, (iii) sequence diversity and polymorphism frequency by single-genome amplification and 454 pyrosequencing, (iv) virion-associated Env content, and (v) cytokine and chemokine content by 36-plex Luminex analysis. Regardless of production method, all stocks had comparable particle/infectivity ratios, with the transfected-293T stocks possessing the highest overall virus content and infectivity titers despite containing markedly lower levels of virion-associated Env than infection-derived viruses. Transfected-293T stocks also contained fewer and lower levels of cytokines and chemokines than infection-derived stocks, which had elevated levels of multiple analytes, with substantial variability among stocks. Sequencing of the infection-derived SIVmac251 stocks revealed variable levels of viral diversity between stocks, with evidence of stock-specific selection and expansion of unique viral lineages. These analyses suggest that there may be underappreciated features of SIV in vivo challenge stocks with the potential to impact early infection events, which may merit consideration when selecting virus stocks for in vivo studies.
A hallmark of pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections is the rapid and near-complete depletion of mucosal CD4+ T lymphocytes from the gastrointestinal tract. Loss of these cells and disruption of epithelial barrier function are associated with microbial translocation, which has been proposed to drive chronic systemic immune activation and disease progression. Here, we evaluate in rhesus macaques a novel attenuated variant of pathogenic SIVmac239, termed ΔGY, which contains a deletion of a Tyr and a proximal Gly from a highly conserved YxxØ trafficking motif in the envelope cytoplasmic tail. Compared to SIVmac239, ΔGY established a comparable acute peak of viremia but only transiently infected lamina propria and caused little or no acute depletion of mucosal CD4+ T cells and no detectable microbial translocation. Nonetheless, these animals developed T-cell activation and declining peripheral blood CD4+ T cells and ultimately progressed with clinical or pathological features of AIDS. ΔGY-infected animals also showed no infection of macrophages or central nervous system tissues even in late-stage disease. Although the ΔGY mutation persisted, novel mutations evolved, including the formation of new YxxØ motifs in two of four animals. These findings indicate that disruption of this trafficking motif by the ΔGY mutation leads to a striking alteration in anatomic distribution of virus with sparing of lamina propria and a lack of microbial translocation. Because these animals exhibited wild-type levels of acute viremia and immune activation, our findings indicate that these pathological events are dissociable and that immune activation unrelated to gut damage can be sufficient for the development of AIDS.
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.
It has been suggested that poor immunogenicity may explain the lack of vaccine efficacy in preventing or controlling HIV infection in the Step trial. To investigate this issue we vaccinated eight Indian rhesus macaques with a trivalent replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 5 vaccine expressing SIV Gag, Pol, and Nef using a regimen similar to that employed in the Step trial. We detected broad vaccine-induced CD8+ (2–7 pool-specific responses) and CD4+ (5–19 pool-specific responses) T-cell responses in IFN-γ ELISPOT assays at one week post-boost using fresh PBMC. However, using cryopreserved cells at one and four weeks post-boost we observed a reduction in both the number and magnitude of most vaccine-induced responses. This demonstrates that the time points and conditions chosen to perform immune assays may influence the observed breadth and frequency of vaccine-induced T-cell responses. To evaluate protective efficacy, we challenged the immunized macaques, along with naïve controls, with repeated, limiting doses of the heterologous swarm isolate SIVsmE660. Vaccination did not significantly affect acquisition or control of virus replication in vaccinees compared to naïve controls. Post-infection we observed an average of only two anamnestic CD8+ T-cell responses per animal, which may not have been sufficiently broad to control heterologous virus replication. While the trivalent vaccine regimen induced relatively broad T-cell responses in rhesus macaques, it failed to protect against infection or control viral replication. Our results are consistent with those observed in the Step trial and indicate that SIV immunization and challenge studies in macaque models of HIV infection can be informative in assessing pre-clinical HIV vaccines.
HIV vaccine; Adenovirus serotype 5; Simian Immunodeficiency Virus; CD8+ T cells; CD4+ T cells; Step trial
Live attenuated SIV vaccines (LAVs) remain the most efficacious of all vaccines in nonhuman primate (NHP) models of HIV/AIDS, yet the basis of their robust protection remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the degree of LAV-mediated protection against intravenous wildtype SIVmac239 challenge strongly correlates with the magnitude and function of SIV-specific, effector-differentiated T cells in lymph node, but not with such T cell responses in blood or with other cellular, humoral and innate immune parameters. Maintenance of protective T cell responses was associated with persistent LAV replication in lymph node, which occurred almost exclusively in follicular helper T cells. Thus, effective LAVs maintain lymphoid tissue-based, effector-differentiated, SIV-specific T cells that intercept and suppress early wildtype SIV amplification and, if present in sufficient frequencies, can completely control and perhaps clear infection, an observation that provides rationale for development of safe, persistent vectors that can elicit and maintain such responses.
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.
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.
Previously we showed that repeated vaginal application of a MIV-150/zinc acetate carrageenan (MIV-150/ZA/CG) gel and a zinc acetate carrageenan (ZA/CG) gel significantly protected macaques from vaginal simian human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) infection. Gels were applied either daily for 2 weeks or every other day for 4 weeks, and the animals were challenged 4–24 h later. Herein, we examined the effects of a single vaginal dose administered either before or after virus challenge. Encouraged by the vaginal protection seen with MIV-150/ZA/CG, we also tested it rectally. Vaginal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG, ZA/CG, and CG gel were performed once 8–24 h before, 1 h after, or 24 h before and 1 h after vaginal challenge. Rectal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG and CG gel were performed once 8 or 24 h before rectal challenge. While vaginal pre-challenge and pre/post-challenge application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel offered significant protection (88%, p<0.002), post-challenge application alone did not significantly protect. ZA/CG gel reduced infection prechallenge, but not significantly, and the effect was completely lost post-challenge. Rectal application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel afforded limited protection against rectal challenge when applied 8–24 h before challenge. Thus, MIV-150/ZA/CG gel is a highly effective vaginal microbicide that demonstrates 24 h of protection from vaginal infection and may demonstrate efficacy against rectal infection when given close to the time of HIV exposure.
We previously showed that a carrageenan (CG) gel containing 50 μM MIV-150 (MIV-150/CG) reduced vaginal simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT infection of macaques (56%, p>0.05) when administered daily for 2 weeks with the last dose given 8 h before challenge. Additionally, when 100 mg of MIV-150 was loaded into an intravaginal ring (IVR) inserted 24 h before challenge and removed 2 weeks after challenge, >80% protection was observed (p<0.03). MIV-160 is a related NNRTI with a similar IC50, greater aqueous solubility, and a shorter synthesis. To objectively compare MIV-160 with MIV-150, herein we evaluated the antiviral effects of unformulated MIV-160 in vitro as well as the in vivo protection afforded by MIV-160 delivered in CG (MIV-160/CG gel) and in an IVR under regimens used with MIV-150 in earlier studies. Like MIV-150, MIV-160 exhibited potent antiviral activity against SHIV-RT in macaque vaginal explants. However, formulated MIV-160 exhibited divergent effects in vivo. The MIV-160/CG gel offered no protection compared to CG alone, whereas the MIV-160 IVRs protected significantly. Importantly, the results of in vitro release studies of the MIV-160/CG gel and the MIV-160 IVR suggested that in vivo efficacy paralleled the amount of MIV-160 released in vitro. Hundreds of micrograms of MIV-160 were released daily from IVRs while undetectable amounts of MIV-160 were released from the CG gel. Our findings highlight the importance of testing different modalities of microbicide delivery to identify the optimal formulation for efficacy in vivo.
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.
Studies using transformed human cell lines suggest that most SIV strains use CCR5 as co-receptor. Our analysis of primary rhesus macaque CD4+ T-cell clones revealed marked differences in susceptibility to SIVmac239 infection. We investigated whether different levels of CCR5 expression account for clonal differences in SIVmac239 susceptibility. Macaque CD4+ T cells showed significant CCR5 downregulation 1-2 days following CD3 mAb stimulation, which gradually recovered at resting state, 7-10 days after activation. Exposure of clones to SIVmac239 during their CCR5low or CCR5high expression states revealed differences in SIV susceptibility independent of surface CCR5 levels. Furthermore, a CCR5 antagonist similarly reduced SIVmac239 infection of clones during their CCR5low or CCR5high expression states. Our data suggest a model where i) very low levels of CCR5 are sufficient for efficient SIV infection, ii) CCR5 levels above this threshold do not enhance infection, and iii) low level infection can occur in the absence of CCR5.
AIDS; CCR5; CD4; SIV; rhesus macaques
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repeated use, coitus-independent microbicide gels that do not contain antiretroviral agents also used as first line HIV therapy are urgently needed to curb HIV spread. Current formulations require high doses (millimolar range) of antiretroviral drugs and typically only provide short-term protection in macaques. We used the macaque model to test the efficacy of a novel combination microbicide gel containing zinc acetate and micromolar doses of the novel non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor MIV-150 for up to 24 h after repeated gel application.
Methods and Findings
Rhesus macaques were vaginally challenged with SHIV-RT up to 24 h after repeated administration of microbicide versus placebo gels. Infection status was determined by measuring virologic and immunologic parameters. Combination microbicide gels containing 14 mM zinc acetate dihydrate and 50 µM MIV-150 afforded full protection (21 of 21 animals) for up to 24 h after 2 weeks of daily application. Partial protection was achieved with the MIV-150 gel (56% of control at 8 h after last application, 11% at 24 h), while the zinc acetate gel afforded more pronounced protection (67% at 8–24 h). Marked protection persisted when the zinc acetate or MIV-150/zinc acetate gels were applied every other day for 4 weeks prior to challenge 24 h after the last gel was administered (11 of 14 protected). More MIV-150 was associated with cervical tissue 8 h after daily dosing of MIV-150/zinc acetate versus MIV-150, while comparable MIV-150 levels were associated with vaginal tissues and at 24 h.
A combination MIV-150/zinc acetate gel and a zinc acetate gel provide significant protection against SHIV-RT infection for up to 24 h. This represents a novel advancement, identifying microbicides that do not contain anti-viral agents used to treat HIV infection and which can be used repeatedly and independently of coitus, and underscores the need for future clinical testing of their safety and ability to prevent HIV transmission in humans.
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.
Despite multiple lines of evidence suggesting their involvement, the precise role of CD8+ T-cells in controlling HIV replication remains unclear. To determine whether CD8+ T cells can limit retroviral replication in the absence of other immune responses, we transferred 1-13 × 109 allogeneic in vitro expanded SIV-specific CD8+ T-cell clones matched for the relevant restricting MHC-I allele into rhesus macaques near the time of intravenous (i.v.) SIV challenge. Additionally, in vitro expanded autologous SIV-specific CD8+ T-cell clones were infused 4-9 months post-infection. Infused cells did not appreciably impact acute or chronic viral replication. The partially MHC-matched allogeneic cells were not detected in the blood or most tissues after 3 days but persisted longer in the lungs as assessed by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Autologous cells transferred i.v. or intraperitoneally (i.p.) were found in BAL and blood samples for up to 8 weeks post-infusion. Interestingly, despite having a nominally activated phenotype (CD69+HLA-DR+), many of these cells persisted in the BAL without dividing. This suggests that expression of such markers by T cells at mucosal sites may not reflect recent activation, but may instead identify stable resident memory T cells. The lack of impact following transfer of such a large number of functional antigen-specific CD8+ T cells on SIV replication may reflect the magnitude of the immune response required to contain the virus.
Ongoing antigenic stimulation appears to be an important prerequisite for the persistent expression of PD-1, an inhibitory TCR co-receptor of the CD28 family. Although recent publications have emphasized the utility of PD-1 as a marker for dysfunctional T cells in chronic viral infections, its dependence on antigenic stimulation potentially renders it a sensitive indicator of low-level viral replication. To explore the antigenic threshold for the maintenance of PD-1 expression on virus-specific T cells, we compared PD-1 expression on virus-specific and memory T cell populations in controlled and uncontrolled SIV and HIV-1 infection. In both controlled live attenuated SIV (LASIV) infection in rhesus macaques and HIV-1 infection in elite controllers, elevated levels of PD-1 expression were observed on SIV- and HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells. However, in contrast to chronic wild-type SIV infection and uncontrolled HIV-1 infection, controlled SIV/HIV-1 infection did not result in increased expression of PD-1 on total memory T cells. PD-1 expression on SIV-specific CD8+ T cells rapidly decreased after the emergence of CTL escape in cognate epitopes, but was maintained in the setting of low or undetectable levels of plasma viremia in LASIV-infected macaques. After vaccination of naïve macaques with a single-cycle SIV, PD-1 expression on SIV-specific CD8+ T cells initially increased but was rapidly downregulated. These results demonstrate that PD-1 can serve as a sensitive indicator of persistent, low-level virus replication and that generalized PD-1 expression on T lymphocytes is a distinguishing characteristic of uncontrolled lentiviral infections.
While mucosal responses are important for preventing infections with HIV, the optimal strategies for inducing them remain unclear. To evaluate vaccine strategies targeting the oral mucosal lymphoid tissue inductive sites as an approach to provide immunity at distal sites, we vaccinated healthy macaques via the palatine/lingual tonsils with aldrithiol 2 (AT-2) inactivated SIVmac239, combined with CpG-C immunostimulatory oligonucleotide (CpG-C ISS-ODN , C274) as the adjuvant. Macaques received 5 doses of C274 or control ODN C661 and AT-2 SIV on the tonsillar tissues every 6 weeks before being challenged rectally with SIVmac239, 8 weeks after the last immunization. Although no T or B cell responses were detected in the blood prior to challenge, Ab responses were detected in the rectum . Immunization with AT-2 SIV significantly reduced the frequency of infection compared to non-immunized controls, irrespective of adjuvant. In the vaccinated animals that became infected, peak viremias were somewhat reduced. SIV-specific responses were detected in the blood once animals became infected with no detectable differences between the differently immunized groups and the controls. This work provides evidence that vaccine immunogens applied to the oral mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues can provide benefit against rectal challenge, a finding with important implications for mucosal vaccination strategies.
SIV; mucosal; vaccine; CpG ISS-ODN
Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus infections are characterized by a severe loss of Th-17 cells (IL-17+CD4+ T cells) that has been associated with disease progression and systemic dissemination of bacterial infections. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has led to repopulation of CD4+ T cells in peripheral tissues with little sustainable repopulation in mucosal tissues. Given the central importance of Th-17 cells in mucosal homeostasis, it is not known if the failure of ART to permanently repopulate mucosal tissues is associated with a failure to restore Th-17 cells that are lost during infection.
Dynamics of α4+β7hi CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood of SIV infected rhesus macaques were evaluated and compared to animals that were treated with ART. The frequency of Th-17 and Tc-17 cells was determined following infection and after therapy. Relative expression of IL-21, IL-23, and TGFβ was determined using Taqman PCR.
Treatment of SIV infected rhesus macaques with anti-retroviral therapy was associated with a substantial repopulation of mucosal homing α4+β7hi CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood. This repopulation, however, was not accompanied by a restoration of Th-17 responses. Interestingly, SIV infection was associated with an increase in Tc-17 responses (IL-17+CD8+ T cells) suggesting to a skewing in the ratio of Th-17 : Tc-17 cells from a predominantly Th-17 phenotype to a predominantly Tc-17 phenotype. Surprisingly, Tc-17 responses remained high during the course of therapy suggesting that ART failed to correct the imbalance in Th-17 : Tc-17 responses induced following SIV infection.
ART was associated with substantial repopulation of α4+β7hi CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood with little or no rebound of Th-17 cells. On the other hand, repopulation of α4+β7hi CD4+ T cells was accompanied by persistence of high levels of Tc-17 cells in peripheral blood. The dysregulation of Th-17 and Tc-17 responses likely plays a role in disease progression.
HIV; SIV; simian; immunodeficiency; Mucosa; CD4; Gut; Intestine; ART; PMPA; FTC; Tenofovir
HIV-infected individuals rely on antiretroviral therapy (ART) to control viral replication. Despite abundant demonstrable benefits, the multiple limitations of ART point to the potential advantages of therapeutic vaccination approaches that could provide sustained host control of viral replication after discontinuation of ART. We provide evidence from a non-human primate model that a therapeutic vaccine applied to the tonsils can maintain low viral loads after cessation of ART.
Animals received 40 weeks of ART initiated 9 weeks after rectal SIVmac239 infection. During ART, animals were vaccinated (or not) with AT-2 inactivated SIVmac239 using CpG-C ISS-ODN (C274) or polyICLC as adjuvants. PolyICLC/AT-2 SIV vaccinated animals maintained viral loads <3×103 copies/ml for up to 16 weeks post-ART, whereas the C274/AT-2 SIV vaccinated and non-vaccinated animals' viremia ranged between 1×104–4×105 copies/ml (p<0.03). Neutralizing Ab activity in plasma was increased by polyICLC/AT-2 tonsillar vaccination under ART, compared to controls (p<0.03). Subsequent vaccination of all animals with polyICLC/AT-2 SIV in the absence of ART did not alter viral loads. Other immune parameters measured in blood and tissues were comparable between groups.
These results provide support for the potential benefit of mucosally delivered vaccines in therapeutic immunization strategies for control of AIDS virus infection.
HIV/SIV are thought to infect minimally activated CD4+ T cells after viral entry. Not much is known about why SIV selectively targets these cells. Here we show that CD4+ T cells that express high levels of the α4β7 heterodimer are preferentially infected very early during the course of SIV infection. At day 2–4 post infection, α4+β7hiCD4+ T cells had ∼ 5x more SIV-gag DNA than β7−CD4+ T cells. α4+β7hiCD4+ T cells displayed a predominantly central memory (CD45RA−CD28+CCR7+) and resting (CD25−CD69−HLA-DR−Ki-67−) phenotype. Though the expression of detectable CCR5 was variable on α4+β7hi and β7−CD4+ T cells, both CCR5+ and CCR5− subsets of α4+β7hi and β7−CD4+ T cells were found to express sufficient levels of CCR5 mRNA suggesting that both these subsets could be efficiently infected by SIV. In line with this, we found similar levels of SIV infection in β7−CD4+CCR5+ and β7−CD4+CCR5− T cells. α4β7hiCD4+ T cells were found to harbor most Th-17 cells that were significantly depleted during acute SIV infection. Taken together, our results show that resting memory α4+β7hiCD4+ T cells in blood are preferentially depleted during acute SIV infection, and the loss of these cells alters the balance between Th-17 and Th-1 responses thereby contributing to disease pathogenesis.
HIV; SIV; simian; immunodeficiency; α4β7; Mucosa; CD4; Gut; Intestine; homing
The recently described Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) technology can produce highly selective ligands to a variety of biological targets at a low production cost.
To investigate the in vivo use of DARPins for future application to novel anti-HIV strategies, we identified potent CD4-specific DARPins that recognize rhesus CD4 and followed the fate of intravenously injected CD4-specific DARPin 57.2 in rhesus macaques. The human CD4-specific DARPin 57.2 bound macaque CD4+ cells and exhibited potent inhibitory activity against SIV infection in vitro. DARPin 57.2 or the control E3_5 DARPin was injected into rhesus macaques and the fate of cell-free and cell-bound CD4-specific DARPin was evaluated. DARPin-bound CD4+ cells were detected in the peripheral blood as early as 30 minutes after the injection, decreasing within 6 hours and being almost undetectable within 24 hours. The amount of DARPin bound was dependent on the amount of DARPin injected. CD4-specific DARPin was also detected on CD4+ cells in the lymph nodes within 30 minutes, which persisted with similar kinetics to blood. More extensive analysis using blood revealed that DARPin 57.2 bound to all CD4+ cell types (T cells, monocytes, dendritic cells) in vivo and in vitro with the amount of binding directly proportional to the amount of CD4 on the cell surface. Cell-free DARPins were also detected in the plasma, but were rapidly cleared from circulation.
We demonstrated that the CD4-specific DARPin can rapidly and selectively bind its target cells in vivo, warranting further studies on possible clinical use of the DARPin technology.