Send to

Choose Destination
J Virol. 2010 Jun;84(11):5802-14. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00117-10. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Mathematical modeling of ultradeep sequencing data reveals that acute CD8+ T-lymphocyte responses exert strong selective pressure in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques but still fail to clear founder epitope sequences.

Author information

Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


The prominent role of antiviral cytotoxic CD8(+) T-lymphocytes (CD8-TL) in containing the acute viremia of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 and SIV) has rationalized the development of T-cell-based vaccines. However, the presence of escape mutations in the acute stage of infection has raised a concern that accelerated escape from vaccine-induced CD8-TL responses might undermine vaccine efficacy. We reanalyzed previously published data of 101,822 viral genomes of three CD8-TL epitopes, Nef(103-111)RM9 (RM9), Tat(28-35)SL8 (SL8), and Gag(181-189)CM9 (CM9), sampled by ultradeep pyrosequencing from eight macaques. Multiple epitope variants appeared during the resolution of acute viremia, followed by the predominance of a single mutant epitope. By fitting a mathematical model, we estimated the first acute escape rate as 0.36 day(-1) within escape-prone epitopes, RM9 and SL8, and the chronic escape rate as 0.014 day(-1) within the CM9 epitope. Our estimate of SIV acute escape rates was found to be comparable to very early HIV-1 escape rates. The timing of the first escape was more highly correlated with the timing of the peak CD8-TL response than with the magnitude of the CD8-TL response. The transmitted epitope decayed more than 400 times faster during the acute viral decline stage than predicted by a neutral evolution model. However, the founder epitope persisted as a minor population even at the viral set point; in contrast, the majority of acute escape epitopes were completely cleared. Our results suggest that a reservoir of SIV infection is preferentially formed by virus with the transmitted epitope.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center