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1.  Evaluation of Recombinant Influenza Virus-Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccines in Macaques▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(15):7619-7628.
There is an urgent need for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines that induce robust mucosal immunity. Influenza A viruses (both H1N1 and H3N2) were engineered to express simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) CD8 T-cell epitopes and evaluated following administration to the respiratory tracts of 11 pigtail macaques. Influenza virus was readily detected from respiratory tract secretions, although the infections were asymptomatic. Animals seroconverted to influenza virus and generated CD8 and CD4 T-cell responses to influenza virus proteins. SIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses bearing the mucosal homing marker β7 integrin were induced by vaccination of naïve animals. Further, SIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses could be boosted by recombinant influenza virus-SIV vaccination of animals with already-established SIV infection. Sequential vaccination with influenza virus-SIV recombinants of different subtypes (H1N1 followed by H3N2 or vice versa) produced only a limited boost in immunity, probably reflecting T-cell immunity to conserved internal proteins of influenza A virus. SIV challenge of macaques vaccinated with an influenza virus expressing a single SIV CD8 T cell resulted in a large anamnestic recall CD8 T-cell response, but immune escape rapidly ensued and there was no impact on chronic SIV viremia. Although our results suggest that influenza virus-HIV vaccines hold promise for the induction of mucosal immunity to HIV, broader antigen cover will be needed to limit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape.
PMCID: PMC2708626  PMID: 19439474
2.  Linking Pig-Tailed Macaque Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Haplotypes and Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Escape Mutations in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(24):14310-14325.
The influence of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) alleles on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diversity in humans has been well characterized at the population level. MHC-I alleles likely affect viral diversity in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) model, but this is poorly characterized. We studied the evolution of SIV in pig-tailed macaques with a range of MHC-I haplotypes. SIVmac251 genomes were amplified from the plasma of 44 pig-tailed macaques infected with SIVmac251 at 4 to 10 months after infection and characterized by Illumina deep sequencing. MHC-I typing was performed on cellular RNA using Roche/454 pyrosequencing. MHC-I haplotypes and viral sequence polymorphisms at both individual mutations and groups of mutations spanning 10-amino-acid segments were linked using in-house bioinformatics pipelines, since cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape can occur at different amino acids within the same epitope in different animals. The approach successfully identified 6 known CTL escape mutations within 3 Mane-A1*084-restricted epitopes. The approach also identified over 70 new SIV polymorphisms linked to a variety of MHC-I haplotypes. Using functional CD8 T cell assays, we confirmed that one of these associations, a Mane-B028 haplotype-linked mutation in Nef, corresponded to a CTL epitope. We also identified mutations associated with the Mane-B017 haplotype that were previously described to be CTL epitopes restricted by Mamu-B*017:01 in rhesus macaques. This detailed study of pig-tailed macaque MHC-I genetics and SIV polymorphisms will enable a refined level of analysis for future vaccine design and strategies for treatment of HIV infection.
IMPORTANCE Cytotoxic T lymphocytes select for virus escape mutants of HIV and SIV, and this limits the effectiveness of vaccines and immunotherapies against these viruses. Patterns of immune escape variants are similar in HIV type 1-infected human subjects that share the same MHC-I genes, but this has not been studied for SIV infection of macaques. By studying SIV sequence diversity in 44 MHC-typed SIV-infected pigtail macaques, we defined over 70 sites within SIV where mutations were common in macaques sharing particular MHC-I genes. Further, pigtail macaques sharing nearly identical MHC-I genes with rhesus macaques responded to the same CTL epitope and forced immune escape. This allows many reagents developed to study rhesus macaques to also be used to study pigtail macaques. Overall, our study defines sites of immune escape in SIV in pigtailed macaques, and this enables a more refined level of analysis of future vaccine design and strategies for treatment of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4249162  PMID: 25275134
3.  Standard Trivalent Influenza Virus Protein Vaccination Does Not Prime Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity in Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(24):13706-13718.
Yearly vaccination with the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) is recommended, since current vaccines induce little cross neutralization to divergent influenza strains. Whether the TIV can induce antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses that can cross-recognize divergent influenza virus strains is unknown. We immunized 6 influenza-naive pigtail macaques twice with the 2011–2012 season TIV and then challenged the macaques, along with 12 control macaques, serially with H1N1 and H3N2 viruses. We measured ADCC responses in plasma to a panel of H1 and H3 hemagglutinin (HA) proteins and influenza virus-specific CD8 T cell (CTL) responses using a sensitive major histocompatibility complex (MHC) tetramer reagent. The TIV was weakly immunogenic and, although binding antibodies were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), did not induce detectable influenza virus-specific ADCC or CTL responses. The H1N1 challenge elicited robust ADCC to both homologous and heterologous H1 HA proteins, but not influenza virus HA proteins from different subtypes (H2 to H7). There was no anamnestic influenza virus-specific ADCC or CTL response in vaccinated animals. The subsequent H3N2 challenge did not induce or boost ADCC either to H1 HA proteins or to divergent H3 proteins but did boost CTL responses. ADCC or CTL responses were not induced by TIV vaccination in influenza-naive macaques. There was a marked difference in the ability of infection compared to that of vaccination to induce cross-reactive ADCC and CTL responses. Improved vaccination strategies are needed to induce broad-based ADCC immunity to influenza.
PMCID: PMC3838265  PMID: 24109221
4.  Activation of NK cells by HIV-specific ADCC antibodies 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(5):1011-1018.
HIV-specific ADCC antibodies could play a role in providing protective immunity. We have developed a whole blood ADCC assay that measures NK cell activation in response to HIV peptide epitopes. These HIV peptide-specific ADCC responses are associated with escape from immune recognition and slower progression of HIV infection and represent interesting HIV vaccine antigens. However, the mechanism by which these epitopes are expressed and whether or not they induce NK-mediated killing of cells expressing such peptide-antigens is not understood. Herein, we show that fluorescent-tagged ADCC peptide epitopes associate with blood granulocytes. The peptide-associated granulocytes become a specific target for antibody-mediated killing, as shown by enhanced expression of apoptosis marker Annexin and reduction in cell numbers. When HIV Envelope gp140 protein is utilized in the ADCC assay, we detected binding to its ligand, CD4. During the incubation, cells co-expressing gp140 and CD4 reduce in number. We also detected increasing Annexin expression in these cells. These data indicate that blood cells expressing HIV-specific ADCC epitopes are targeted for killing by NK cells in the presence of ADCC antibodies in HIV+ plasma and provide a clearer framework to evaluate these antigens as vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC3899135  PMID: 23324623
HIV; ADCC; NK cells; granulocytes; apoptosis
5.  HIV Reactivation from Latency after Treatment Interruption Occurs on Average Every 5-8 Days—Implications for HIV Remission 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(7):e1005000.
HIV infection can be effectively controlled by anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in most patients. However therapy must be continued for life, because interruption of ART leads to rapid recrudescence of infection from long-lived latently infected cells. A number of approaches are currently being developed to ‘purge’ the reservoir of latently infected cells in order to either eliminate infection completely, or significantly delay the time to viral recrudescence after therapy interruption. A fundamental question in HIV research is how frequently the virus reactivates from latency, and thus how much the reservoir might need to be reduced to produce a prolonged antiretroviral-free HIV remission. Here we provide the first direct estimates of the frequency of viral recrudescence after ART interruption, combining data from four independent cohorts of patients undergoing treatment interruption, comprising 100 patients in total. We estimate that viral replication is initiated on average once every ≈6 days (range 5.1- 7.6 days). This rate is around 24 times lower than previous thought, and is very similar across the cohorts. In addition, we analyse data on the ratios of different ‘reactivation founder’ viruses in a separate cohort of patients undergoing ART-interruption, and estimate the frequency of successful reactivation to be once every 3.6 days. This suggests that a reduction in the reservoir size of around 50-70-fold would be required to increase the average time-to-recrudescence to about one year, and thus achieve at least a short period of anti-retroviral free HIV remission. Our analyses suggests that time-to-recrudescence studies will need to be large in order to detect modest changes in the reservoir, and that macaque models of SIV latency may have much higher frequencies of viral recrudescence after ART interruption than seen in human HIV infection. Understanding the mean frequency of recrudescence from latency is an important first step in approaches to prolong antiretroviral-free viral remission in HIV.
Author Summary
During treatment of HIV infection the virus persists in infected cells in a quiescent or ‘latent’ state. If treatment is stopped, then virus rebounds to detectable levels usually within 2–3 weeks. This is thought to occur due to release of infectious virus from a reservoir of long-lived latently infected cells. Reducing the number of latently infected cells should allow a prolonged period of HIV remission without antiviral treatment. A fundamental question is ‘how frequently does infectious virus emerge from the pool of latently infected cells?’, and thus how much would we need to reduce the number of latently infected cells to produce remission? Here we directly estimate the frequency of successful viral reactivation in four independent cohorts of patients undergoing treatment interruption. We find that active infection is initiated on average once every 5–8 days, considerably more slowly than previously thought. This has important implications for how much we need to reduce the number of latent cells in order to produce remission. Whereas previous analyses suggested that we would need to reduce the latent cell number 2000 fold to produce an average one-year remission, we show that reducing the latent cell number by 50–70 fold could achieve this aim.
PMCID: PMC4489624  PMID: 26133551
6.  Slaying the Trojan Horse: Natural Killer Cells Exhibit Robust Anti-HIV-1 Antibody-Dependent Activation and Cytolysis against Allogeneic T Cells 
Journal of Virology  2014;89(1):97-109.
Many attempts to design prophylactic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines have focused on the induction of neutralizing antibodies (Abs) that block infection by free virions. Despite the focus on viral particles, virus-infected cells, which can be found within mucosal secretions, are more infectious than free virus both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, assessment of human transmission couples suggests infected seminal lymphocytes might be responsible for a proportion of HIV-1 transmissions. Although vaccines that induce neutralizing Abs are sought, only some broadly neutralizing Abs efficiently block cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1. As HIV-1 vaccines need to elicit immune responses capable of controlling both free and cell-associated virus, we evaluated the potential of natural killer (NK) cells to respond in an Ab-dependent manner to allogeneic T cells bearing HIV-1 antigens. This study presents data measuring Ab-dependent anti-HIV-1 NK cell responses to primary and transformed allogeneic T-cell targets. We found that NK cells are robustly activated in an anti-HIV-1 Ab-dependent manner against allogeneic targets and that tested target cells are subject to Ab-dependent cytolysis. Furthermore, the educated KIR3DL1+ NK cell subset from HLA-Bw4+ individuals exhibits an activation advantage over the KIR3DL1− subset that contains both NK cells educated through other receptor/ligand combinations and uneducated NK cells. These results are intriguing and important for understanding the regulation of Ab-dependent NK cell responses and are potentially valuable for designing Ab-dependent therapies and/or vaccines.
IMPORTANCE NK cell-mediated anti-HIV-1 antibody-dependent functions have been associated with protection from infection and disease progression; however, their role in protecting from infection with allogeneic cells infected with HIV-1 is unknown. We found that HIV-1-specific ADCC antibodies bound to allogeneic cells infected with HIV-1 or coated with HIV-1 gp120 were capable of activating NK cells and/or trigging cytolysis of the allogeneic target cells. This suggests ADCC may be able to assist in preventing infection with cell-associated HIV-1. In order to fully utilize NK cell-mediated Ab-dependent effector functions, it might also be important that educated NK cells, which hold the highest activation potential, can become activated against targets bearing HIV-1 antigens and expressing the ligands for self-inhibitory receptors. Here, we show that with Ab-dependent stimulation, NK cells expressing inhibitory receptors can mediate robust activation against targets expressing the ligands for those receptors.
PMCID: PMC4301139  PMID: 25320293
7.  Modeling the Timing of Antilatency Drug Administration during HIV Treatment 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(24):14050-14056.
Latently infected cells are considered a major barrier to the cure of HIV infection, since they are long-lived under antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cause viral replication to restart soon after stopping ART. In the last decade, different types of antilatency drugs have been explored with the aim of reactivating and purging this latent reservoir and the hope of achieving a cure. Because of toxicity and safety considerations, antilatency drugs can only be given for a short time to patients on long-term ART, with little effect. We recently investigated the turnover of latently infected cells during active infection and have found that it was strongly correlated with viral load. This implies that although latently infected cells had long life spans in a setting of a low viral load (such as during ART), they turned over quickly under a high viral load. Possible reasons for this could be that an increased viral load causes increased activation or death of CD4+ T cells, including those that are latently infected. Taking these results into account, we developed a mathematical model to study the most appropriate timing of antilatency drugs in relationship to the initiation of ART. We found that the best timing of a short-term antilatency drug would be the start of ART, when viral load, CD4+ T cell activation, and latent cell turnover are all high. These results have important implications for the design of HIV cure-related clinical trials.
IMPORTANCE The antiretroviral therapy (ART) of HIV-infected patients currently needs to be lifelong, because the cells latently infected with HIV start new rounds of infection as soon as the treatment is stopped. In the last decade, a number of different types of antilatency drugs have been explored with the aim of “reactivating” and “purging” this latent reservoir and thus achieving a cure. These drugs have thus far been tested on patients only after long-term ART and have demonstrated little or no effect. We use mathematical modeling to show that the most efficacious timing of a short-term antilatency treatment may be the start of ART because of possible interactions of antilatency drugs with natural activation pathways.
PMCID: PMC4249129  PMID: 25253352
8.  Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity Is Associated with Control of Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus Infection of Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(10):5512-5522.
Emerging influenza viruses pose a serious risk to global human health. Recent studies in ferrets, macaques, and humans suggest that seasonal H1N1 (sH1N1) infection provides some cross-protection against 2009 pandemic influenza viruses (H1N1pdm), but the correlates of cross-protection are poorly understood. Here we show that seasonal infection of influenza-naïve Indian rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) with A/Kawasaki/173/2001 (sH1N1) virus induces antibodies capable of binding the hemagglutinin (HA) of both the homologous seasonal virus and the antigenically divergent A/California/04/2009 (H1N1pdm) strain in the absence of detectable H1N1pdm-specific neutralizing antibodies. These influenza virus-specific antibodies activated macaque NK cells to express both CD107a and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in the presence of HA proteins from either sH1N1 or H1N1pdm viruses. Although influenza virus-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-mediated NK cell activation diminished in titer over time following sH1N1 infection, these cells expanded rapidly within 7 days following H1N1pdm exposure. Furthermore, we found that influenza virus-specific ADCC was present in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and was able to activate lung NK cells. We concluded that infection with a seasonal influenza virus can induce antibodies that mediate ADCC capable of recognizing divergent influenza virus strains. Cross-reactive ADCC may provide a mechanism for reducing the severity of divergent influenza virus infections.
PMCID: PMC3648138  PMID: 23468501
9.  Trivalent Live Attenuated Influenza-Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccines: Efficacy and Evolution of Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Escape in Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(8):4146-4160.
There is an urgent need for a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine that induces robust mucosal immunity. CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) apply substantial antiviral pressure, but CTLs to individual epitopes select for immune escape variants in both HIV in humans and SIV in macaques. Inducing multiple simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CTLs may assist in controlling viremia. We vaccinated 10 Mane-A1*08401+ female pigtail macaques with recombinant influenza viruses expressing three Mane-A1*08401-restricted SIV-specific CTL epitopes and subsequently challenged the animals, along with five controls, intravaginally with SIVmac251. Seroconversion to the influenza virus vector resulted and small, but detectable, SIV-specific CTL responses were induced. There was a boost in CTL responses after challenge but no protection from high-level viremia or CD4 depletion was observed. All three CTL epitopes underwent a coordinated pattern of immune escape during early SIV infection. CTL escape was more rapid in the vaccinees than in the controls at the more dominant CTL epitopes. Although CTL escape can incur a “fitness” cost to the virus, a putative compensatory mutation 20 amino acids upstream from an immunodominant Gag CTL epitope also evolved soon after the primary CTL escape mutation. We conclude that vaccines based only on CTL epitopes will likely be undermined by rapid evolution of both CTL escape and compensatory mutations. More potent and possibly broader immune responses may be required to protect pigtail macaques from SIV.
PMCID: PMC3624373  PMID: 23345519
10.  Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Encoding Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Induces Heterosubtypic Immunity in Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(22):13418-13428.
Current influenza virus vaccines primarily aim to induce neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a safe and well-characterized vector for inducing both antibody and cellular immunity. We evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of MVA encoding influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) and/or nucleoprotein (NP) in cynomolgus macaques. Animals were given 2 doses of MVA-based vaccines 4 weeks apart and were challenged with a 2009 pandemic H1N1 isolate (H1N1pdm) 8 weeks after the last vaccination. MVA-based vaccines encoding HA induced potent serum antibody responses against homologous H1 or H5 HAs but did not stimulate strong T cell responses prior to challenge. However, animals that received MVA encoding influenza virus HA and/or NP had high frequencies of virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses within the first 7 days of H1N1pdm infection, while animals vaccinated with MVA encoding irrelevant antigens did not. We detected little or no H1N1pdm replication in animals that received vaccines encoding H1 (homologous) HA, while a vaccine encoding NP from an H5N1 isolate afforded no protection. Surprisingly, H1N1pdm viral shedding was reduced in animals vaccinated with MVA encoding HA and NP from an H5N1 isolate. This reduced shedding was associated with cross-reactive antibodies capable of mediating antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) effector functions. Our results suggest that ADCC plays a role in cross-protective immunity against influenza. Vaccines optimized to stimulate cross-reactive antibodies with ADCC function may provide an important measure of protection against emerging influenza viruses when NAbs are ineffective.
IMPORTANCE Current influenza vaccines are designed to elicit neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Vaccine-induced NAbs typically are effective but highly specific for particular virus strains. Consequently, current vaccines are poorly suited for preventing the spread of newly emerging pandemic viruses. Therefore, we evaluated a vaccine strategy designed to induce both antibody and T cell responses, which may provide more broadly cross-protective immunity against influenza. Here, we show in a translational primate model that vaccination with a modified vaccinia virus Ankara encoding hemagglutinin from a heterosubtypic H5N1 virus was associated with reduced shedding of a pandemic H1N1 virus challenge, while vaccination with MVA encoding nucleoprotein, an internal viral protein, was not. Unexpectedly, this reduced shedding was associated with nonneutralizing antibodies that bound H1 hemagglutinin and activated natural killer cells. Therefore, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) may play a role in cross-protective immunity to influenza virus. Vaccines that stimulate ADCC antibodies may enhance protection against pandemic influenza virus.
PMCID: PMC4249095  PMID: 25210172
11.  The High Cost of Fidelity 
The notoriously low fidelity of HIV-1 replication is largely responsible for the virus's rapid mutation rate, facilitating escape from immune or drug control. The error-prone activity of the viral reverse transcriptase (RT) is predicted to be the most influential mechanism for generating mutations. The low fidelity of RT has been successfully exploited by nucleoside and nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) that halt viral replication upon incorporation. Consequently, drug-resistant strains have arisen in which the viral RT has an increased fidelity of replication, thus reducing analogue incorporation. Higher fidelity, however, impacts on viral fitness. The appearance of compensatory mutations in combination with higher fidelity NRTI resistance mutations and the subsequent reversion of NRTI-resistant mutations upon cessation of antiretroviral treatment lend support to the notion that higher fidelity exacts a fitness cost. Potential mechanisms for reduced viral fitness are a smaller pool of mutant strains available to respond to immune or drug pressure, slower rates of replication, and a limitation to the dNTP tropism of the virus. Unraveling the relationship between replication fidelity and fitness should lead to a greater understanding of the evolution and control of HIV.
PMCID: PMC3887412  PMID: 24180375
12.  HIV Infection Abrogates the Functional Advantage of Natural Killer Cells Educated through KIR3DL1/HLA-Bw4 Interactions To Mediate Anti-HIV Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(8):4488-4495.
Combinations of KIR3DL1 and HLA-Bw4 alleles protect against HIV infection and/or disease progression. These combinations enhance NK cell responsiveness through the ontological process of education. However, educated KIR3DL1+ NK cells do not have enhanced degranulation upon direct recognition of autologous HIV-infected cells. Since antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is associated with improved HIV infection outcomes and NK cells overcome inhibition through killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) to mediate ADCC, we hypothesized that KIR3DL1-educated NK cells mediate anti-HIV ADCC against autologous cells. A whole-blood flow cytometry assay was used to evaluate ADCC-induced activation of NK cells. This assay assessed activation (gamma interferon [IFN-γ] production and/or CD107a expression) of KIR3DL1+ and KIR3DL1− NK cells, from HLA-Bw4+ and HLA-Bw4− HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals, in response to autologous HIV-specific ADCC targets. KIR3DL1+ NK cells were more functional than KIR3DL1− NK cells from HLA-Bw4+, but not HLA-Bw4−, healthy controls. In HIV-infected individuals, no differences in NK cell functionality were observed between KIR3DL1+ and KIR3DL1− NK cells in HLA-Bw4+ individuals, consistent with dysfunction of NK cells in the setting of HIV infection. Reflecting the partial normalization of NK cell responsiveness following initiation of antiretroviral therapy, a significant correlation was observed between the peripheral CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts in antiretroviral therapy-treated subjects and the functionality of NK cells. However, peripheral CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts were not correlated with an anti-HIV ADCC functional advantage in educated KIR3DL1+ NK cells. The abrogation of the functional advantage of educated NK cells may enhance HIV disease progression. Strategies to enhance the potency of NK cell-mediated ADCC may improve HIV therapies and vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3318670  PMID: 22345455
13.  Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity and NK Cell-Driven Immune Escape in HIV Infection: Implications for HIV Vaccine Development 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:637208.
The HIV-1 genome is malleable and a difficult target tot vaccinate against. It has long been recognised that cytotoxic T lymphocytes and neutralising antibodies readily select for immune escape HIV variants. It is now also clear that NK cells can also select for immune escape. NK cells force immune escape through both direct Killer-immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-mediated killing as well as through facilitating antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). These newer finding suggest NK cells and ADCC responses apply significant pressure to the virus. There is an opportunity to harness these immune responses in the design of more effective HIV vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3350948  PMID: 22611395
14.  Activation of NK Cells by ADCC Responses During Early HIV Infection 
Viral Immunology  2011;24(2):171-175.
Partial control of HIV occurs during acute infection, although the mechanisms responsible are poorly understood. We studied the ability of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) antibodies in serum to activate natural killer (NK) cells in longitudinal samples from 8 subjects with well-defined early HIV infection who controlled viremia to low levels. NK cell activation by ADCC antibodies to gp140 Env proteins was detected in half of the subjects at the first time point studied, a mean of 111 d after the estimated time of infection. In contrast, ADCC-mediated NK cell activation in response to linear HIV peptides evolved more slowly, over the first 2 y of infection. Our studies suggest that HIV-specific ADCC responses to conformational epitopes occur early during acute HIV infection, and broaden to include linear epitopes over time. These findings have implications for the immune control of HIV.
PMCID: PMC3070001  PMID: 21449728
16.  Polymorphisms and Interspecies Differences of the Activating and Inhibitory FcγRII of Macaca nemestrina Influence the Binding of Human IgG Subclasses1 
Little is known of the impact of Fc receptor polymorphism in macaques on the binding of human IgG (huIgG) and nothing is known of this interaction in the pigtail macaque (M. nemestrina) which is used in preclinical evaluation of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. We defined the sequence and huIgG binding characteristics of the M. nemestrina activating FcγRIIa (mnFcγRIIa) and inhibitory FcγRIIb (mnFcγRIIb) and predicted their structures using the huIgGFc:huFcγRIIa crystal structure. Large differences were observed in the binding of huIgG by mnFcγRIIa and mnFcγRIIb compared to their human FcR counterparts. MnFcγRIIa has markedly impaired binding of huIgG1 and huIgG2 immune complexes compared to huFcγRIIa (His131). In contrast, mnFcγRIIb has enhanced binding of huIgG1 and broader specificity as, unlike huFcγRIIb, it avidly binds IgG2. Mutagenesis and molecular modelling of mnFcγRIIa showed that Pro159 and Tyr160 impair the critical FG loop interaction with huIgG. The enhanced binding of huIgG1 and huIgG2 by mnFcγRIIb was shown to be dependent on His131 and Met132. Significantly, both His131 and Met132 are conserved across FcγRIIb of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. We identified functionally significant polymorphism of mnFcγRIIa, wherein Pro at position 131, also an important polymorphic site in huFcγRIIa, almost abolished binding of huIgG2 and huIgG1 and reduced binding of huIgG3 compared to mnFcγRIIa His131. These marked interspecies differences in IgG-binding between human and macaque FcRs and polymorphisms within species have implications for pre-clinical evaluation of antibodies and vaccines in macaques.
PMCID: PMC4080885  PMID: 24342805
17.  Short Communication: Antibody Responses to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Envelope from Infections with Multiple Subtypes Utilize the 1F7-Idiotypic Repertoire 
A common idiotype of anti-HIV antibodies (Abs), designated as 1F7, was recently observed on anti-HIV broadly neutralizing Abs (BnAbs). The presence of the 1F7-idiotype on BnAbs suggests that continuous selection of 1F7-idiotypic Abs may allow these clones to achieve the somatic hypermutation necessary for broad neutralization. As the selection of type-specific BnAbs occurs in the setting of infections with a wide array of HIV subtypes, we investigated Abs from subjects infected with diverse subtypes for the selection of 1F7-idiotypic Abs. We observed the 1F7-idiotype on antiviral Abs in infections with various HIV subtypes. Furthermore, gp140-specific 1F7-idiotypic Abs recognized the gp140 antigens from several HIV subtypes. These results demonstrate that the 1F7-idiotype is a common characteristic of Abs from infections with diverse HIV subtypes, and suggests that early cross-reactivity of 1F7-idiotypic clones may act in conjunction with somatic hypermutation to produce BnAbs.
PMCID: PMC3636582  PMID: 23265432
18.  Measuring Turnover of SIV DNA in Resting CD4+ T Cells Using Pyrosequencing: Implications for the Timing of HIV Eradication Therapies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93330.
Resting CD4+ T cells are a reservoir of latent HIV-1. Understanding the turnover of HIV DNA in these cells has implications for the development of eradication strategies. Most studies of viral latency focus on viral persistence under antiretroviral therapy (ART). We studied the turnover of SIV DNA resting CD4+ T cells during active infection in a cohort of 20 SIV-infected pigtail macaques. We compared SIV sequences at two Mane-A1*084:01-restricted CTL epitopes using serial plasma RNA and resting CD4+ T cell DNA samples by pyrosequencing, and used a mathematical modeling approach to estimate SIV DNA turnover. We found SIV DNA turnover in resting CD4+ T cells was slow in animals with low chronic viral loads, consistent with the long persistence of latency seen under ART. However, in animals with high levels of chronic viral replication, turnover was high. SIV DNA half-life within resting CD4 cells correleated with viral load (p = 0.0052) at the Gag KP9 CTL epitope. At a second CTL epitope in Tat (KVA10) there was a trend towards an association of SIV DNA half-life in resting CD4 cells and viral load (p = 0.0971). Further, we found that the turnover of resting CD4+ T cell SIV DNA was higher for escape during early infection than for escape later in infection (p = 0.0084). Our results suggest viral DNA within resting CD4 T cells is more labile and may be more susceptible to reactivation/eradication treatments when there are higher levels of virus replication and during early/acute infection.
PMCID: PMC3977820  PMID: 24710023
19.  Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infects Follicular Helper CD4 T Cells in Lymphoid Tissues during Pathogenic Infection of Pigtail Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(7):3760-3773.
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are a specialized subset of memory CD4+ T cells that are found exclusively within the germinal centers of secondary lymphoid tissues and are important for adaptive antibody responses and B cell memory. Tfh cells do not express CCR5, the primary entry coreceptor for both human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and therefore, we hypothesized that these cells would avoid infection. We studied lymph nodes and spleens from pigtail macaques infected with pathogenic strain SIVmac239 or SIVmac251, to investigate the susceptibility of Tfh cells to SIV infection. Pigtail macaque PD-1high CD127low memory CD4+ T cells have a phenotype comparable to that of human Tfh cells, expressing high levels of CXCR5, interleukin-21 (IL-21), Bcl-6, and inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS). As judged by either proviral DNA or cell-associated viral RNA measurements, macaque Tfh cells were infected with SIV at levels comparable to those in other CD4+ memory T cells. Infection of macaque Tfh cells was evident within weeks of inoculation, yet we confirmed that Tfh cells do not express CCR5 or either of the well-known alternative SIV coreceptors, CXCR6 and GPR15. Mutations in the SIV envelope gp120 region occurred in chronically infected macaques but were uniform across each T cell subset investigated, indicating that the viruses used the same coreceptors to enter different cell subsets. Early infection of Tfh cells represents an unexpected focus of viral infection. Infection of Tfh cells does not interrupt antibody production but may be a factor that limits the quality of antibody responses and has implications for assessing the size of the viral reservoir.
PMCID: PMC3624224  PMID: 23325697
20.  Correction: An “Escape Clock” for Estimating the Turnover of SIV DNA in Resting CD4+ T Cells 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(9):10.1371/annotation/7556ed6f-2d66-48a9-be38-4aefe4400393.
PMCID: PMC3784646
21.  Characterization of the Kynurenine Pathway and Quinolinic Acid Production in Macaque Macrophages 
The kynurenine pathway (KP) and one of its end-products, the excitotoxin quinolinic acid (QUIN), are involved in the pathogenesis of several major neuroinflammatory brain diseases. A relevant animal model to study KP metabolism is now needed to assess whether intervention in this pathway may improve the outcome of such diseases. Humans and macaques share a very similar genetic makeup. In this study, we characterized the KP metabolism in macaque primary macrophages of three different species in comparison to human cells. We found that the KP profiles in simian macrophages were very similar to those in humans when challenged with inflammatory cytokines. Further, we found that macaque macrophages are capable of producing a pathophysiological concentration of QUIN. Our data validate the simian model as a relevant model to study the human cellular KP metabolism in the context of inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3662399  PMID: 23761975
simian macrophages; kynurenine pathway; indoleamine 2; 3-dioxygenase; quinolinic acid
22.  Induction of SerpinB2 and Th1/Th2 Modulation by SerpinB2 during Lentiviral Infections In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57343.
SerpinB2, also known as plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2, is a major product of activated monocytes/macrophages and is often strongly induced during infection and inflammation; however, its physiological function remains somewhat elusive. Herein we show that SerpinB2 is induced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells following infection of pigtail macaques with CCR5-utilizing (macrophage-tropic) SIVmac239, but not the rapidly pathogenic CXCR4-utilizing (T cell-tropic) SHIVmn229. To investigate the role of SerpinB2 in lentiviral infections, SerpinB2−/− mice were infected with EcoHIV, a chimeric HIV in which HIV gp120 has been replaced with gp80 from ecotropic murine leukemia virus. EcoHIV infected SerpinB2−/− mice produced significantly lower anti-gag IgG1 antibody titres than infected SerpinB2+/+ mice, and showed slightly delayed clearance of EcoHIV. Analyses of published microarray studies showed significantly higher levels of SerpinB2 mRNA in monocytes from HIV-1 infected patients when compared with uninfected controls, as well as a significant negative correlation between SerpinB2 and T-bet mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These data illustrate that SerpinB2 can be induced by lentiviral infection in vivo and support the emerging notion that a physiological role of SerpinB2 is modulation of Th1/Th2 responses.
PMCID: PMC3583835  PMID: 23460840
23.  Activation of NK cells by ADCC antibodies and HIV disease progression 
Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is of considerable interest as an immune response that may facilitate control of HIV infection. We studied ADCC responses prospectively in a cohort of 79 HIV+ subjects followed for a mean of 2.3 years without antiretroviral therapy. We used a novel assay of the ability of ADCC to activate NK cells, either from the same HIV+ subject or a healthy blood donor. We found ADCC responses to either gp140 Env protein or HIV peptide pools were common in HIV+ subjects when NK cells from the HIV+ subject were used, but did not correlate with markers of HIV disease progression. In contrast, ADCC responses to whole gp140 Env protein were strongly associated with a slower decline in CD4 T cell loss when healthy donor NK cells were used as effectors. Our data had implications for induction of the most effective ADCC responses by HIV vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3175260  PMID: 21792067
HIV; ADCC; NK Cells; CD4 T cells; viral load
24.  Influence of Cytokines on HIV-Specific Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity Activation Profile of Natural Killer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38580.
There is growing interest in HIV-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) as an effective immune response to prevent or control HIV infection. ADCC relies on innate immune effector cells, particularly NK cells, to mediate control of virus-infected cells. The activation of NK cells (i.e., expression of cytokines and/or degranulation) by ADCC antibodies in serum is likely subject to the influence of other factors that are also present. We observed that the HIV-specific ADCC antibodies, within serum samples from a panel of HIV-infected individuals induced divergent activation profiles of NK cells from the same donor. Some serum samples primarily induced NK cell cytokine expression (i.e., IFNγ), some primarily initiated NK cell expression of a degranulation marker (CD107a) and others initiated a similar magnitude of responses across both effector functions. We therefore evaluated a number of HIV-relevant soluble factors for their influence on the activation of NK cells by HIV-specific ADCC antibodies. Key findings were that the cytokines IL-15 and IL-10 consistently enhanced the ability of NK cells to respond to HIV-specific ADCC antibodies. Furthermore, IL-15 was demonstrated to potently activate “educated” KIR3DL1+ NK cells from individuals carrying its HLA-Bw4 ligand. The cytokine was also demonstrated to activate “uneducated” KIR3DL1+ NK cells from HLA-Bw6 homozygotes, but to a lesser extent. Our results show that cytokines influence the ability of NK cells to respond to ADCC antibodies in vitro. Manipulating the immunological environment to enhance the potency of NK cell-mediated HIV-specific ADCC effector functions could be a promising immunotherapy or vaccine strategy.
PMCID: PMC3372512  PMID: 22701674
25.  An “Escape Clock” for Estimating the Turnover of SIV DNA in Resting CD4+ T Cells 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(4):e1002615.
Persistence of HIV DNA presents a major barrier to the complete control of HIV infection under current therapies. Most studies suggest that cells with latently integrated HIV decay very slowly under therapy. However, it is much more difficult to study the turnover and persistence of HIV DNA during active infection. We have developed an “escape clock” approach for measuring the turnover of HIV DNA in resting CD4+ T cells. This approach studies the replacement of wild-type (WT) SIV DNA present in early infection by CTL escape mutant (EM) strains during later infection. Using a strain-specific real time PCR assay, we quantified the relative amounts of WT and EM strains in plasma SIV RNA and cellular SIV DNA. Thus we can track the formation and turnover of SIV DNA in sorted resting CD4+ T cells. We studied serial plasma and PBMC samples from 20 SIV-infected Mane-A*10 positive pigtail macaques that have a signature Gag CTL escape mutation. In animals with low viral load, WT virus laid down early in infection is extremely stable, and the decay of this WT species is very slow, consistent with findings in subjects on anti-retroviral medications. However, during active, high level infection, most SIV DNA in resting cells was turning over rapidly, suggesting a large pool of short-lived DNA produced by recent infection events. Our results suggest that, in order to reduce the formation of a stable population of SIV DNA, it will be important either to intervene very early or intervene during active replication.
Author Summary
New treatments for HIV have proved very successful at controlling viral replication and preventing the onset of AIDS. However, these treatments must be continued for life, because if they are stopped the virus rapidly ‘rebounds’ to its original levels. The reason for this rebound is the existence of a population of viruses that lie dormant inside cells during treatment, and reactivate as soon as treatment is stopped. This ‘latent virus’ is extremely long-lived under drug therapy conditions, and therefore presents a major barrier to viral eradication. However, very little is known about the survival and reactivation of latently infected cells during ongoing infection, because virus is being formed and destroyed all the time. We have developed a novel ‘escape clock’ approach to measure how long viral DNA lasts in monkeys. We find that, in the setting of low viral load, the lifespan of infected cells is very long, whereas during active infection there is a surprisingly high turnover of viral DNA within resting CD4 T cells. We believe this is due to high level of immune activation when there is a high level of replicating virus. This result may have important implications for the optimal timing of drug treatment.
PMCID: PMC3320584  PMID: 22496643

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