Deletion of Gly-720 and Tyr-721 from a highly conserved GYxxØ trafficking signal in the SIVmac239 envelope glycoprotein cytoplasmic domain, producing a virus termed ΔGY, leads to a striking perturbation in pathogenesis in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Infected macaques develop immune activation and progress to AIDS, but with only limited and transient infection of intestinal CD4+ T cells and an absence of microbial translocation. Here we evaluated ΔGY in pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina), a species in which SIVmac239 infection typically leads to increased immune activation and more rapid progression to AIDS than in rhesus macaques. In pig-tailed macaques, ΔGY also replicated acutely to high peak plasma RNA levels identical to those for SIVmac239 and caused only transient infection of CD4+ T cells in the gut lamina propria and no microbial translocation. However, in marked contrast to rhesus macaques, 19 of 21 pig-tailed macaques controlled ΔGY replication with plasma viral loads of <15 to 50 RNA copies/ml. CD4+ T cells were preserved in blood and gut for up to 100 weeks with no immune activation or disease progression. Robust antiviral CD4+ T cell responses were seen, particularly in the gut. Anti-CD8 antibody depletion demonstrated CD8+ cellular control of viral replication. Two pig-tailed macaques progressed to disease with persisting viremia and possible compensatory mutations in the cytoplasmic tail. These studies demonstrate a marked perturbation in pathogenesis caused by ΔGY's ablation of the GYxxØ trafficking motif and reveal, paradoxically, that viral control is enhanced in a macaque species typically predisposed to more pathogenic manifestations of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science