Good protection against systemic challenge in the SIVmac model of AIDS has been provided by prior infection with attenuated virus. To determine if such protection extends to intrarectal mucosal challenge two molecular clones, SIVmacC8 and SIVmacJ5, were used in this study. SIVmacC8 has an attenuated phenotype in vivo, due to a 12-bp deletion in the nef/3'-LTR, whereas SIVmacJ5 has a full size nef open reading frame and induces AIDS in infected macaques. The J5 molecular clone was shown to infect rhesus macaques following atraumatic intrarectal inoculation. The dynamics were similar to those following intravenous inoculation resulting in early, high, cell-associated viremia and seroconversion. Four macaques previously infected with the attenuated SIVmacC8 resisted superinfection with SIVmacJ5, following intrarectal inoculation. These animals also resisted intrarectal infection with an HIV/SIV chimeric virus (SHIV) composed of SIVmac239 expressing the HXBc2 env, tat, and rev genes, suggesting that immunity to the envelope proteins was unlikely to be involved in the superinfection resistance. Infection with the attenuated SIVmac generated cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) detectable in the peripheral circulation, serum neutralizing antibodies, and SIV-binding antibodies in rectal fluids. SIVmacC8 proviral DNA was found in lymph nodes removed at necropsy but there was no evidence for local sequestration of challenge virus. SIV-specific CTL were detected in gut-associated lymph nodes and may have a role in limiting superinfection following mucosal exposure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Drs. E. J. Stott and A. Schultz for useful discussions and Professor Frances Gotch for the MHC typing. We are grateful to Terri Corcoran for virus neutralization data. We thank Julia Banks for technical assistance with serology. We are indebted to Dr. Harvey Holmes and the MRC AIDS Reagent Repository for provision of recombinant proteins and peptides. The work was supported by the UK MRC AIDS Directed Programme, E.U. Concerted Action on AIDS in Macaques, Programme EVA, and the UK Department of Health.