Even in the setting of maximally suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV persists indefinitely. Several mechanisms might contribute to this persistence, including chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction. In this study, we have explored a preclinical model for the evaluation of potential interventions that might serve to eradicate or to minimize the level of persistent virus. Given data that metabolic products of the inducible enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygeanse (IDO) might foster inflammation and viral persistence, chronically simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected, ART-treated rhesus macaques were treated with the IDO inhibitor 1-methyl tryptophan (1mT). Orally administered 1mT achieved targeted plasma levels, but did not impact tryptophan metabolism or decrease viral RNA or DNA in plasma or in intestinal tissues beyond levels achieved by ART alone. Animals treated with 1mT showed no difference in the levels of T cell activation or differentiation, or in the kinetics or magnitude of viral rebound following cessation of ART. Notwithstanding these negative results, our observations suggest that the chronically SIV-infected rhesus macaque on suppressive ART can serve as a tractable model in which to test and to prioritize the selection of other potential interventions designed to eradicate HIV in vivo. In addition, this model might be used to optimize the route and dose by which such interventions are administered and the methods by which their effects are monitored.
Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection increases HIV susceptibility. We previously established a rhesus macaque model of vaginal HSV-2 preexposure followed by cochallenge with HSV-2 and simian/human immunodeficiency virus-reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Using this model, we showed that a gel containing the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 in carrageenan (CG) reduced SHIV-RT infection. To evaluate the efficacy of new generation microbicides against both viruses, we first established dual infection after single vaginal cochallenge with SHIV-RT and HSV-2 in HSV-2-naive macaques. All animals (6/6) became HSV-2 infected, with 4/6 coinfected with SHIV-RT. In a control group cochallenged with SHIV-RT and UV-inactivated HSV-2, 2/4 became SHIV-RT infected, and none had detectable HSV-2. Low-level HSV-2-specific antibody and T cell responses were detected in some HSV-2-infected animals. To test a CG gel containing MIV-150 and zinc acetate (MZC), which provided naive animals full protection from SHIV-RT for at least 8 h, MZC (vs. CG) was applied daily for 14 days followed by cochallenge 8 h later. MZC prevented SHIV-RT infection (0/9 infected, p=0.04 vs. 3/6 in CG controls), but only reduced HSV-2 infection by 20% (6/9 infected vs. 5/6 in CG, p=0.6). In HSV-2-infected animals, none of the gel-treated animals seroconverted, and only the CG controls had measurable HSV-2-specific T cell responses. This study shows the promise of MZC to prevent immunodeficiency virus infection (even in the presence of HSV-2) and reduce HSV-2 infection after exposure to a high-dose inoculum. Additionally, it demonstrates the potential of a macaque coinfection model to evaluate broad-spectrum microbicides.
Analysis of rhesus macaques infected with a vpx deletion mutant virus of simian immunodeficiency virus mac239 (SIVΔvpx) demonstrates that Vpx is essential for efficient monocyte/macrophage infection in vivo but is not necessary for development of AIDS. To compare myeloid-lineage cell infection in monkeys infected with SIVΔvpx compared to SIVmac239, we analyzed lymphoid and gastrointestinal tissues from SIVΔvpx-infected rhesus (n = 5), SIVmac239-infected rhesus with SIV encephalitis (7 SIV239E), those without encephalitis (4 SIV239noE), and other SIV mutant viruses with low viral loads (4 SIVΔnef, 2 SIVΔ3). SIV+ macrophages and the percentage of total SIV+ cells that were macrophages in spleen and lymph nodes were significantly lower in rhesus infected with SIVΔvpx (2.2%) compared to those infected with SIV239E (22.7%), SIV239noE (8.2%), and SIV mutant viruses (10.1%). In colon, SIVΔvpx monkeys had fewer SIV+ cells, no SIV+ macrophages, and lower percentage of SIV+ cells that were macrophages than the other 3 groups. Only 2 SIVΔvpx monkeys exhibited detectable virus in the colon. We demonstrate that Vpx is essential for efficient macrophage infection in vivo and that simian AIDS and death can occur in the absence of detectable macrophage infection.
Developing a vaccine for HIV may be aided by a complete understanding of those rare cases where some HIV-infected individuals control replication of the virus1–3. The majority of these elite controllers (ECs) express HLA-B*57 or HLA-B*273. These alleles remain by far the most robust associations with low concentrations of plasma virus4,5, yet the mechanism of control in these individuals is not entirely clear. Here we vaccinated Indian rhesus macaques that express Mamu-B*08, an animal model for HLA-B*27-mediated elite control6, with three Mamu-B*08-restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes and demonstrate that these vaccinated animals controlled replication of the highly pathogenic SIVmac239 clonal virus. High frequencies of CD8+ T cells against these Vif and Nef epitopes in the blood, lymph nodes and colon, were associated with viral control. Moreover, the frequency of the Nef RL10-specific response correlated significantly with reduced acute phase viremia. Finally, two of the eight vaccinees lost control of viral replication in the chronic phase, concomitant with escape in all three targeted epitopes, further implicating these three CD8+ T cell responses in control of viral replication. Our findings indicate that narrowly targeted vaccine-induced virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses can control replication of the AIDS virus.
Vaccine/challenge experiments that utilize live attenuated strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in monkeys may be useful for elucidating what is needed from a vaccine in order to achieve protective immunity. Derivatives of SIVmac239 and SIVmac239Δnef were constructed in which env sequences were replaced with those of the heterologous strain E543; these were then used in vaccine/challenge experiments. When challenge occurred at 22 weeks, 10 of 12 monkeys exhibited apparent sterilizing immunity despite a mismatch of Env sequences, compared to 12 of 12 monkeys with apparent sterilizing immunity when challenge virus was matched in its Env sequence. However, when challenge occurred at 6 weeks, 6 of 6 SIV239Δnef-immunized monkeys became superinfected by challenge virus mismatched in its Env sequence (SIV239/EnvE543). These results contrast markedly not only with the results of the week 22 challenge but also with the sterilizing immunity observed in 5 of 5 SIV239Δnef-immunized rhesus monkeys challenged at 5 weeks with SIV239, i.e., with no mismatch of Env sequences. We conclude from these studies that a mismatch of Env sequences in the challenge virus can have a dramatic effect on the extent of apparent sterilizing immunity when challenge occurs relatively early, 5 to 6 weeks after the nef-deleted SIV administration. However, by 22 weeks, mismatch of Env sequences has little or no influence on the degree of protection against challenge virus. Our findings suggest that anti-Env immune responses are a key component of the protective immunity elicited by live attenuated, nef-deleted SIV.
Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress HIV-1 replication sufficiently to eliminate measurable plasma viremia, infected cells remain and ensure viral recrudescence after discontinuation of ART. We used a macaque model of HIV-1/AIDS to evaluate the location of infected cells during ART. Twelve macaques were infected with RT-SHIVmne, a SIV containing HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, conferring sensitivity to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Ten to fourteen weeks post-infection, 6 animals were treated with 3 or 4 antiretroviral drugs for 17-20 weeks; 6 control animals remained untreated. Viral DNA (vDNA) and RNA (vRNA) were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and at necropsy in multiple tissues by quantitative PCR and RT-PCR. The majority of virally infected cells were located in lymphoid tissues with variable levels in the gastrointestinal tract of both treated and untreated animals. Tissue viral DNA levels correlated with week 1 plasma viremia, suggesting that tissues that harbor proviral DNA are established within the first week of infection. PBMC vDNA levels did not correlate with plasma viremia or tissue levels of vDNA. vRNA levels were high in lymphoid and gastrointestinal tissues of the untreated animals; animals on ART had little vRNA expressed in tissues and virus could not be cultured from lymph node resting CD4+ cells after 17-20 weeks on ART, indicating little or no ongoing viral replication. Strategies for eradication of HIV-1 will need to target residual virus in ART suppressed individuals, which may not be accurately reflected by frequencies of infected cells in blood.
Live-attenuated SIV vaccines (LAVs) have been the most effective to date in preventing or partially controlling infection by wild-type SIV in non-human primate models of HIV-1 transmission to women acting by mechanisms of protection that are not well understood. To gain insights into mechanisms of protection by LAVs that could aid development of effective vaccines to prevent HIV-1 transmission to women, we used in situ tetramer staining to determine whether increased densities or changes in the local distribution of SIV-specific CD8 T cells correlated with the maturation of SIVΔnef vaccine-induced protection prior to and after intra-vaginal challenge with wild-type SIVmac251. We evaluated the immunodominant Mamu-A1*001:01/Gag (CM9) and Mamu-A1*001:01/Tat (SL8) epitope response in genital and lymphoid tissues, and found that tetramer+ cells were present at all time points examined. In the cervical vaginal tissues, most tetramer+ cells were distributed diffusely throughout the lamina propria or co-localized with other CD8 T cells within lymphoid aggregates. The distribution and densities of the tetramer+ cells at the portal of entry did not correlate with the maturation of protection or change after challenge. Given these findings, we discuss the possibility that changes in other aspects of the immune system, including the quality of the resident population of virus-specific effector CD8 T cells could contribute to maturation of protection, as well as the potential for vaccine strategies that further increase the size and quality of this effector population to prevent HIV-1 transmission.
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.