SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) infection of cynomolgus macaques provides an excellent model for investigating the basis of protective immunity against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). We explored the protective role of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) against the pathogenic molecular clone SIVmac-J5. Vaccine-induced CTL precursors (CTLp) against Env, Gag or Nef did not protect macaques against intravenous challenge. However, detection of Rev-specific CTLp in infected macaques was associated with effective virus containment. Furthermore, CTL against an immunodominant Gag/p26 epitope (amino acids 242-250) resulted in the emergence of a mutant virus that uniformly replaced wild-type virus in the spleen and partially escaped recognition. During primary infection, CTLp detection in blood coincided with decreasing viremia. After 12 months, two outcomes emerged. In one group of macaques, persistent viremia was associated with high viral load in lymphoid organs and declining CD4+ T-cell counts. CTLp were maintained in asymptomatic macaques, but declined in the symptomatic phase of infection. In a second group, loss of detectable viremia was associated with low-level virus reservoirs in lymphoid organs, asymptomatic status and maintained CD4+ T-cell counts. CTLp peaked in the first 4 months of infection and subsequently declined in this group. These studies provide insights into the complex interplay between virus replication and host immunity.

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Keywords Animals, Antibody Specificity, Chronic Disease, Macaca/*immunology, SAIDS Vaccines/*adverse effects/*immunology, Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency , Simian immunodeficiency virus/*genetics/*immunology, Syndrome/*immunology/*prevention & control, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/*immunology/*metabolism
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Journal Immunological Reviews
Geretti, A.M, & Osterhaus, A.D.M.E. (2001). Virus replication and evolution drive the kinetics and specificity of SIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte. Immunological Reviews, 183, 109–114. doi:10.1034/j.1600-065x.2001.1830109.x