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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Aug 1;92(16):7490-4.

Persistent infection of rhesus macaques with T-cell-line-tropic and macrophage-tropic clones of simian/human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIV).

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  • 1Department of Medical Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


To elucidate the functions of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genes in a nonhuman primate model, we have constructed infectious recombinant viruses (chimeras) between the pathogenic molecular clone of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) SIVmac239 and molecular clones of HIV-1 that differ in phenotypic properties controlled by the env gene. HIV-1SF33 is a T-cell-line-tropic virus which induces syncytia, and HIV-1SF162 is a macrophage-tropic virus that does not induce syncytia. A DNA fragment encoding tat, rev, and env (gp160) of SIVmac239 has been replaced with the counterpart genetic region of HIV-1SF33 and HIV-1SF162 to derive chimeric recombinant simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) strains SHIVSF33 and SHIVSF162, respectively. In the acute infection stage, macaques inoculated with SHIVSF33 had levels of viremia similar to macaques infected with SIVmac239, whereas virus loads were 1/10th to 1/100th those in macaques infected with SHIVSF162. Of note is the relatively small amount of virus detected in lymph nodes of SHIVSF162-infected macaques. In the chronic infection stage, macaques infected with SHIVSF33 also showed higher virus loads than macaques infected with SHIVSF162. Virus persists for over 1 year, as demonstrated by PCR for amplification of viral DNA in all animals and by virus isolation in some animals. Antiviral antibodies, including antibodies to the HIV-1 env glycoprotein (gp160), were detected; titers of antiviral antibodies were higher in macaques infected with SHIVSF33 than in macaques infected with SHIVSF162. Although virus has persisted for over 1 year after inoculation, these animals have remained healthy with no signs of immunodeficiency. These findings demonstrate the utility of the SHIV/macaque model for analyzing HIV-1 env gene functions and for evaluating vaccines based on HIV-1 env antigens.

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