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J Virol. 2007 Jan;81(1):349-61. Epub 2006 Oct 11.

Simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239 infection of major histocompatibility complex-identical cynomolgus macaques from Mauritius.

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  • 1Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 555 Science Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Nonhuman primates are widely used to study correlates of protective immunity in AIDS research. Successful cellular immune responses have been difficult to identify because heterogeneity within macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes results in quantitative and qualitative differences in immune responses. Here we use microsatellite analysis to show that simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-susceptible cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius have extremely simple MHC genetics, with six common haplotypes accounting for two-thirds of the MHC haplotypes in feral animals. Remarkably, 39% of Mauritian cynomolgus macaques carry at least one complete copy of the most frequent MHC haplotype, and 8% of these animals are homozygous. In stark contrast, entire MHC haplotypes are rarely conserved in unrelated Indian rhesus macaques. After intrarectal infection with highly pathogenic SIVmac239 virus, a pair of MHC-identical Mauritian cynomolgus macaques mounted concordant cellular immune responses comparable to those previously reported for a pair of monozygotic twins infected with the same strain of human immunodeficiency virus. Our identification of relatively abundant SIV-susceptible, MHC-identical macaques will facilitate research into protective cellular immunity.

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