The simian immunodeficiency virus- (SIV-) infected rhesus macaque is the preferred animal model for vaccine development, but the correlates of protection in this model are not completely understood. In this paper, we document the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response to SIV and its effects on viral evolution in an effort to identify events associated with disease progression regardless of MHC allele expression. We observed the evolution of epitopes targeted by CTLs in a group of macaques that included long-term nonprogressing (LTNP), slowly progressing (SP), normally progressing (NP), and rapidly progressing (RP) animals. Collectively, our data (1) identify novel CTL epitopes from an SP animal that are not restricted by known protective alleles, (2) illustrate that, in this small study, RP and NP animals accrue more mutations in CTL epitopes than in SP or LTNP macaques, and (3) demonstrate that the loss of CTL responses to immunodominant epitopes is associated with viral replication increases, which are not controlled by secondary CTL responses. These findings provide further evidence for the critical role of the primary cell-mediated immune responses in the control of retroviral infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis