Over 40 species of nonhuman primates host simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs). In natural hosts, infection is generally assumed to be nonpathogenic due to a long coevolutionary history between host and virus, although pathogenicity is difficult to study in wild nonhuman primates. We used whole-blood RNA-seq and SIV prevalence from 29 wild Ugandan red colobus (Piliocolobus tephrosceles) to assess the effects of SIV infection on host gene expression in wild, naturally SIV-infected primates. We found no evidence for chronic immune activation in infected individuals, suggesting that SIV is not immunocompromising in this species, in contrast to human immunodeficiency virus in humans. Notably, an immunosuppressive gene, CD101, was upregulated in infected individuals. This gene has not been previously described in the context of nonpathogenic SIV infection. This expands the known variation associated with SIV infection in natural hosts and may suggest a novel mechanism for tolerance of SIV infection in the Ugandan red colobus.
Keywords: CD101; gene expression; red colobus; simian immunodeficiency virus.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution 2019. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.