The Selection of Low Envelope Glycoprotein Reactivity to Soluble CD4 and Cold During Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection of Rhesus Macaques

J Virol. 2014 Jan;88(1):21-40. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01558-13. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


Envelope glycoprotein (Env) reactivity (ER) describes the propensity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Env to change conformation from the metastable unliganded state in response to the binding of ligands (antibodies and soluble CD4 [sCD4]) or incubation in the cold. To investigate Env properties that favor in vivo persistence, we inoculated rhesus macaques with three closely related CCR5-tropic simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) that differ in ER to cold (ERcold) and ER to sCD4 (ERsCD4); these SHIVs were neutralized by antibodies equivalently and thus were similar in ERantibody. All three SHIVs achieved high levels of acute viremia in the monkeys without alteration of their Env sequences, indicating that neither ERcold nor ERsCD4 significantly influences the establishment of infection. Between 14 and 100 days following infection, viruses with high ERcold and ERsCD4 were counterselected. Remarkably, the virus variant with low ERcold and low ERsCD4 did not elicit a neutralizing antibody response against the infecting virus, despite the generation of high levels of anti-Env antibodies in the infected monkeys. All viruses that achieved persistent viremia escaped from any autologous neutralizing antibodies and exhibited low ERcold and low ERsCD4. One set of gp120 changes determined the decrease in ERcold and ERsCD4, and a different set of gp120 changes determined resistance to autologous neutralizing antibodies. Each set of changes contributed to a reduction in Env-mediated entry. During infection of monkeys, any Env replication fitness costs associated with decreases in ERcold and ERsCD4 may be offset by minimizing the elicitation of autologous neutralizing antibodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology*
  • Cold Temperature*
  • DNA Primers
  • Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Immune Evasion
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • CD4 Antigens
  • DNA Primers
  • Glycoproteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins