Mamu-B*17+ Rhesus Macaques Vaccinated with env, vif, and nef Manifest Early Control of SIVmac239 Replication

J Virol. 2018 Jul 31;92(16):e00690-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00690-18. Print 2018 Aug 15.


Certain major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) alleles are associated with spontaneous control of viral replication in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques (RMs). These cases of "elite" control of HIV/SIV replication are often immune-mediated, thereby providing a framework for studying anti-lentiviral immunity. In this study, we examined how vaccination impacts SIV replication in RMs expressing the MHC-I allele Mamu-B*17 Approximately 21% of Mamu-B*17+ and 50% of Mamu-B*08+ RMs control chronic-phase viremia after SIVmac239 infection. Because CD8+ T cells targeting Mamu-B*08-restricted SIV epitopes have been implicated in virologic suppression in Mamu-B*08+ RMs, we investigated whether this might also be true for Mamu-B*17+ RMs. Two groups of Mamu-B*17+ RMs were vaccinated with genes encoding Mamu-B*17-restricted epitopes in Vif and Nef. These genes were delivered by themselves (group 1) or together with env (group 2). Group 3 included MHC-I-matched RMs and served as the control group. Surprisingly, the group 1 vaccine regimen had little effect on viral replication compared to group 3, suggesting that unlike Mamu-B*08+ RMs, preexisting SIV-specific CD8+ T cells alone do not facilitate long-term virologic suppression in Mamu-B*17+ RMs. Remarkably, however, 5/8 group 2 vaccinees controlled viremia to <15 viral RNA copies/ml soon after infection. No serological neutralizing activity against SIVmac239 was detected in group 2, although vaccine-elicited gp140-binding antibodies correlated inversely with nadir viral loads. Collectively, these data shed new light on the unique mechanism of elite control in Mamu-B*17+ RMs and implicate vaccine-induced, nonneutralizing anti-Env antibodies in the containment of immunodeficiency virus infection.IMPORTANCE A better understanding of the immune correlates of protection against HIV might facilitate the development of a prophylactic vaccine. Therefore, we investigated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection outcomes in rhesus macaques expressing the major histocompatibility complex class I allele Mamu-B*17 Approximately 21% of Mamu-B*17+ macaques spontaneously controlled chronic phase viremia after SIV infection, an effect that may involve CD8+ T cells targeting Mamu-B*17-restricted SIV epitopes. We vaccinated Mamu-B*17+ macaques with genes encoding immunodominant epitopes in Vif and Nef alone (group 1) or together with env (group 2). Although neither vaccine regimen prevented SIV infection, 5/8 group 2 vaccinees controlled viremia to below detection limits shortly after infection. This outcome, which was not observed in group 1, was associated with vaccine-induced, nonneutralizing Env-binding antibodies. Together, these findings suggest a limited contribution of Vif- and Nef-specific CD8+ T cells for virologic control in Mamu-B*17+ macaques and implicate anti-Env antibodies in containment of SIV infection.

Keywords: AIDS; human immunodeficiency virus; simian immunodeficiency virus; vaccines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Gene Products, env / immunology*
  • Gene Products, nef / immunology*
  • Gene Products, vif / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • SAIDS Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • SAIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / physiology
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia / prevention & control
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Gene Products, env
  • Gene Products, nef
  • Gene Products, vif
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • SAIDS Vaccines