Rapid Inflammasome Activation following Mucosal SIV Infection of Rhesus Monkeys

Cell. 2016 Apr 21;165(3):656-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.03.021. Epub 2016 Apr 13.


The earliest events following mucosal HIV-1 infection, prior to measurable viremia, remain poorly understood. Here, by detailed necropsy studies, we show that the virus can rapidly disseminate following mucosal SIV infection of rhesus monkeys and trigger components of the inflammasome, both at the site of inoculation and at early sites of distal virus spread. By 24 hr following inoculation, a proinflammatory signature that lacked antiviral restriction factors was observed in viral RNA-positive tissues. The early innate response included expression of NLRX1, which inhibits antiviral responses, and activation of the TGF-β pathway, which negatively regulates adaptive immune responses. These data suggest a model in which the virus triggers specific host mechanisms that suppress the generation of antiviral innate and adaptive immune responses in the first few days of infection, thus facilitating its own replication. These findings have important implications for the development of vaccines and other strategies to prevent infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Inflammasomes / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / physiology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transcriptome
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Virus Replication


  • Inflammasomes
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta