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Virology. 2014 Jun;458-459:53-68. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.03.024. Epub 2014 May 8.

Identification and characterization of a macrophage-tropic SIV envelope glycoprotein variant in blood from early infection in SIVmac251-infected macaques.

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Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA; Division of Medical Sciences Program in Virology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.
New England Primate Research Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, MA, USA.
Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:


Macrophages play an important role in HIV/SIV pathogenesis by serving as a reservoir for viral persistence in brain and other tissues. Infected macrophages have been detected in brain early after infection, but macrophage-tropic viruses are rarely isolated until late-stage infection. Little is known about early variants that establish persistent infection in brain. Here, we characterize a unique macrophage-tropic SIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) variant from two weeks post-infection in blood of an SIVmac251-infected macaque that is closely related to sequences in brain from animals with neurological disease. SIVmac251 clones expressing this Env are highly fusogenic, and replicate efficiently in T cells and macrophages. N173 and N481 were identified as novel determinants of macrophage tropism and neutralization sensitivity. These results imply that macrophage-tropic SIV capable of establishing viral reservoirs in brain can be present in blood during early infection. Furthermore, these SIVmac251 clones will be useful for studies on pathogenesis, eradication, and vaccines.


Brain; Envelope glycoprotein (Env); Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Macrophage tropism; Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)

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