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Virology. 2008 Mar 15;372(2):430-41. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Efficient inhibition of SIV replication in rhesus CD4+ T-cell clones by autologous immortalized SIV-specific CD8+ T-cell clones.

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  • 1AIDS Vaccine Program, SAIC-Frederick, Inc., NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses play an important role in controlling the replication of primate lentiviruses. Induction of these responses is a key objective for most current AIDS vaccine approaches. Despite a variety of approaches for measuring properties and activities of CTL, the functions responsible for controlling viral replication in vivo have not been clearly identified. Assays measuring CTL-mediated suppression of viral replication in vitro are beginning to be used as possible correlates of in vivo virus suppressive activity, but the utility and interpretive value of these assays are typically limited by properties of the cells that have been used. We investigated the capacity of SIV-specific CTL clones (effectors), immortalized by transduction with human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), to suppress SIV replication in autologous hTERT immortalized CD4(+) T-cell clones (targets). Immortalized and non-immortalized SIV-specific effector cells showed IFN-gamma production and degranulation in response to viral antigen specific stimulation and significantly inhibited SIV(mac)239 replication (2 to 4 log decrease in viral RNA or cell-associated proviral DNA) (p<0.0005). Our in vitro assays of inhibition of viral replication, using T-cell clones as effectors and targets, provide a well-defined approach for evaluating possible mechanisms of CTL-mediated control of viral production which may involve direct killing of infected target cells and/or release of proinflammatory cytokines such as IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. The use of hTERT immortalized effector and target cells for such assays preserves relevant functional properties while providing a convenient, reproducible means of conducting studies over time.

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