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J Immunol. 2002 Sep 15;169(6):3438-46.

MHC class I alleles influence set-point viral load and survival time in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected rhesus monkeys.

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Department of Virology and Immunology, German Primate Center, Goettingen, Germany.


In HIV-infected humans and SIV-infected rhesus macaques, host genes influence viral containment and hence the duration of the disease-free latency period. Our knowledge of the rhesus monkey immunogenetics, however, is limited. In this study, we describe partial cDNA sequences of five newly discovered rhesus macaque (Mamu) class I alleles and PCR-based typing techniques for the novel and previously published Mhc class I alleles. Using 15 primer pairs for PCR-based typing and DNA sequence analysis, we identified at least 21 Mhc class I alleles in a cohort of 91 SIV-infected macaques. The results confirm the presence of multiple class I genes in rhesus macaques. Of these alleles, Mamu-A*01 was significantly associated with lower set-point viral load and prolonged survival time. Mamu-A*1303 was associated with longer survival and a "novel" Mhc class I allele with lower set-point viral load. The alleles are frequent in rhesus macaques of Indian origin (12-22%). In addition, survival probability of individual SIV-infected rhesus monkeys increased with their number of alleles considered to be associated with longer survival. The results contribute to improve the interpretation and quality of preclinical studies in rhesus monkeys.

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