Background: The host range of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is quite narrow. Therefore, analyzing HIV-1 pathogenesis in vivo has been limited owing to lack of appropriate animal model systems. To overcome this, chimeric simian and human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) that encode HIV-1 Env and are infectious to macaques have been developed and used to investigate the pathogenicity of HIV-1 in vivo. So far, we have many SHIV strains that show different pathogenesis in macaque experiments. However, dynamic aspects of SHIV infection have not been well understood. To fully understand the dynamic properties of SHIVs, we focused on two representative strains-the highly pathogenic SHIV, SHIV-KS661, and the less pathogenic SHIV, SHIV-#64-and measured the time-course of experimental data in cell culture.
Methods: We infected HSC-F with SHIV-KS661 and -#64 and measured the concentration of Nef-negative (target) and Nef-positive (infected) HSC-F cells, the total viral load, and the infectious viral load daily for 9 days. The experiments were repeated at two different multiplicities of infection, and a previously developed mathematical model incorporating the infectious and non-infectious viruses was fitted to the full dataset of each strain simultaneously to characterize the infection dynamics of these two strains.
Results and conclusions: We quantified virological indices including virus burst sizes and basic reproduction number of both SHIV-KS661 and -#64. Comparing the burst size of total and infectious viruses (viral RNA copies and TCID50, respectively), we found that there was a statistically significant difference between the infectious virus burst size of SHIV-KS661 and -#64, while there was no significant difference between the total virus burst size. Furthermore, our analyses showed that the fraction of infectious virus among the produced SHIV-KS661 viruses, which is defined as the infectious viral load (TCID50/ml) divided by the total viral load (RNA copies/ml), is more than 10-fold higher than that of SHIV-#64 during overall infection (i.e., for 9 days). Taken together, we conclude that the highly pathogenic SHIV produces infectious virions more effectively than the less pathogenic SHIV in cell culture.
Keywords: Parameter estimation; Population dynamics model; Simian/human immunodeficiency virus; Virus dynamics.