Correlation between env V1/V2 region diversification and neutralizing antibodies during primary infection by simian immunodeficiency virus sm in rhesus macaques

J Virol. 2004 Apr;78(7):3561-71. doi: 10.1128/jvi.78.7.3561-3571.2004.


Evolution of the domain encoding the V1/V2 variable region of the simian immunodeficiency virus sm (SIVsm) envelope (env) gene was analyzed in relation to route of virus challenge, virus load, and neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers during primary infection of rhesus macaques with the pathogenic SIVsmE660 isolate. In this model system animals are initially infected with multiple viruses as evidenced by the presence of multiple V1/V2 genotypic variants that could be resolved by using a heteroduplex tracking assay (HTA). Overlapping subsets of the multiple variants were established in each animal. There was no selection for the establishment of specific variants in comparing intravenous- and intrarectal-challenged macaques at week 2 postinfection, suggesting that no genotypic selection occurred at the mucosal surface. There was an initial period of significant stability of the V1/V2 variants. Macaques challenged intravenously displayed subsequent V1/V2 diversification significantly earlier than macaques challenged intrarectally and well past the initial resolution of viremia. The time when SIVsmE660-specific NAbs reached a threshold titer of 100 was significantly correlated with the timing of V1/V2 diversification, even though antibodies to the Env protein could be detected much earlier. The time when NAbs reached a titer of 400 was significantly correlated with virus load late in infection. These results show that the route of infection affects the timing of V1/V2 diversification and that this diversification is correlated with the maturation of a specific NAb response. However, prior immunization capable of priming an anamnestic Env antibody response did not accelerate V1/V2 diversification. This result suggests that diversification of the SIV env V1/V2 region is the result of a type-specific antibody response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Products, env / chemistry*
  • Gene Products, env / genetics
  • Gene Products, env / immunology*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Macaca mulatta / immunology*
  • Macaca mulatta / virology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neutralization Tests
  • SAIDS Vaccines / immunology
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / classification
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*
  • Vaccination
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia / immunology
  • Viremia / virology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Gene Products, env
  • SAIDS Vaccines