Derivation and characterization of pathogenic transmitted/founder molecular clones from simian immunodeficiency virus SIVsmE660 and SIVmac251 following mucosal infection

Michael J. Lopker, Gregory Q. Del Prete, Jacob Estes, Hui Li, Carolyn Reid, Laura Newman, Leslie Lipkey, Celine Camus, Juliet L. Easlick, Shuyi Wang, Julie M. Decker, Katharine J. Bar, Gerald Learn, Ranajit Pal, Deborah E. Weiss, Beatrice H. Hahn, Jeffrey D. Lifson, George M. Shaw, Brandon F. Keele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Currently available simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infectious molecular clones (IMCs) and isolates used in nonhuman primate (NHP) models of AIDS were originally derived from infected macaques during chronic infection or end stage disease and may not authentically recapitulate features of transmitted/founder (T/F) genomes that are of particular interest in transmission, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment studies. Wetherefore generated and characterized T/F IMCs from genetically and biologically heterogeneous challenge stocks of SIVmac251 and SIVsmE660. Single-genome amplification (SGA) was used to identify full-length T/F genomes present in plasma during acute infection resulting from atraumatic rectal inoculation of Indian rhesus macaques with low doses of SIVmac251 or SIVsmE660. All 8 T/F clones yielded viruses that were infectious and replication competent in vitro, with replication kinetics similar to those of the widely used chronic-infection-derived IMCs SIVmac239 and SIVsmE543. Phenotypically, the new T/F virus strains exhibited a range of neutralization sensitivity profiles. Four T/F virus strains were inoculated into rhesus macaques, and each exhibited typical SIV replication kinetics. The SIVsm T/F viruses were sensitive to TRIM5αrestriction. All T/F viruses were pathogenic in rhesus macaques, resulting in progressive CD4+ T cell loss in gastrointestinal tissues, peripheral blood, and lymphatic tissues. The animals developed pathological immune activation; lymphoid tissue damage, including fibrosis; and clinically significant immunodeficiency leading to AIDS-defining clinical endpoints. These T/F clones represent a new molecular platform for the analysis of virus transmission and immunopathogenesis and for the generation of novel "bar-coded" challenge viruses and next-generation simianhuman immunodeficiency viruses that may advance the HIV/AIDS vaccine agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8435-8453
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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