In rhesus macaques (RMs), experimental depletion of CD4+ T-cells prior to SIV infection results in higher viremia and emergence of CD4-independent SIV-envelopes. In this study we used the rhesus recombinant anti-CD4 antibody CD4R1 to deplete RM CD4+ T-cells prior to SIVmac251 infection and investigate the sources of the increased viral burden and the lifespan of productively infected cells. CD4-depleted animals showed (i) set-point viral load two-logs higher than controls; (ii) macrophages constituting 80% of all SIV vRNA+ cells in lymph node and mucosal tissues; (iii) substantial expansion of pro-inflammatory monocytes; (iv) aberrant activation and infection of microglial cells; and (v) lifespan of productively infected cells significantly longer in comparison to controls, but markedly shorter than previously estimated for macrophages. The net effect of CD4+ T-cell depletion is an inability to control SIV replication and a shift in the tropism of infected cells to macrophages, microglia, and, potentially, other CD4-low cells which all appear to have a shortened in vivo lifespan. We believe these findings have important implications for HIV eradication studies.
Many sets of data indicate that HIV-infected individuals maintain a low level of chronic immune activation and inflammation even in the presence of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). This residual immune activation seems to be associated with accelerated aging and an increased incidence of non-AIDS-defining illnesses. Several published studies suggest that physical activity is a beneficial nonpharmacological intervention to reduce chronic inflammation. However, currently available data on the potential benefits of regular physical exercises for HIV-infected individuals are limited. Nonetheless, increasing evidence suggests that the introduction of regular physical exercise in the clinical management of HIV-infected individuals may have a significant positive impact in reducing some of the long-term complications of both infection and ART. Based on a comprehensive review of the existing data, we propose that regular physical exercise should be further studied as a potential antiinflammatory, nonpharmacological approach to be used to treat HIV residual disease and non-AIDS-defining illnesses in ART-treated HIV-infected individuals.
Despite many advances in AIDS research, a cure for HIV infection remains elusive. Here, we performed autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in three Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (SHIV)-infected, antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated rhesus macaques (RMs) using HSCs collected prior to infection and compared them to three SHIV-infected, ART-treated, untransplanted control animals to assess the effect of conditioning and autologous HSCT on viral persistence. As expected, ART drastically reduced virus replication, below 100 SHIV-RNA copies per ml of plasma in all animals. After several weeks on ART, experimental RMs received myeloablative total body irradiation (1080 cGy), which resulted in the depletion of 94-99% of circulating CD4+ T-cells, and low to undetectable SHIV-DNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Following HSC infusion and successful engraftment, ART was interrupted (40-75 days post-transplant). Despite the observed dramatic reduction of the peripheral blood viral reservoir, rapid rebound of plasma viremia was observed in two out of three transplanted RMs. In the third transplanted animal, plasma SHIV-RNA and SHIV DNA in bulk PBMCs remained undetectable at week two post-ART interruption. No further time-points could be assessed as this animal was euthanized for clinical reasons; however, SHIV-DNA could be detected in this animal at necropsy in sorted circulating CD4+ T-cells, spleen and lymph nodes but not in the gastro-intestinal tract or tonsils. Furthermore, SIV DNA levels post-ART interruption were equivalent in several tissues in transplanted and control animals. While persistence of virus reservoir was observed despite myeloablation and HSCT in the setting of short term ART, this experiment demonstrates that autologous HSCT can be successfully performed in SIV-infected ART-treated RMs offering a new experimental in vivo platform to test innovative interventions aimed at curing HIV infection in humans.
A rare subset of HIV-infected individuals, designated viremic non-progressors (VNP), remain asymptomatic and maintain normal levels of CD4+ T-cells despite persistently high viremia. To identify mechanisms potentially responsible for the VNP phenotype, we compared VNPs (average >9 years of HIV infection) to HIV-infected individuals who have similar CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load, but who are likely to progress if left untreated ("putative progressors", PP), thus avoiding the confounding effect of differences related to substantial CD4+ T cell depletion. We found that VNPs, compared to PPs, had preserved levels of CD4+ stem cell memory cells (TSCM (p<0.0001), which was associated with decreased HIV infection of these cells in VNPs (r?=?-0.649, p?=?0.019). In addition, VNPs had decreased HIV infection in CD4+ central memory (TCM) cells (p?=?0.035), and the total number of TCM cells was associated with increased proliferation of memory CD4+ T cells (r?=?0.733, p?=?0.01). Our results suggest that, in HIV-infected VNPs, decreased infection of CD4+ TCM and TSCM, cells are involved in preservation of CD4+ T cell homeostasis and lack of disease progression despite high viremia.
Autophagy, a homeostatic process whereby eukaryotic cells target cytoplasmic cargo for degradation, plays a broad role in health and disease states. Here we screened the TRIM family for roles in autophagy and found that half of TRIMs modulated autophagy. In mechanistic studies, we show that TRIMs associate with autophagy factors and act as platforms assembling ULK1 and Beclin 1 in their activated states. Furthermore, TRIM5? acts as a selective autophagy receptor. Based on direct sequence-specific recognition, TRIM5? delivered its cognate cytosolic target, a viral capsid protein, for autophagic degradation. Thus, our study establishes that TRIMs can function both as regulators of autophagy and as autophagic cargo receptors, and reveals a basis for selective autophagy in mammalian cells.
Despite eliciting an early antiviral T cell response, HIV-specific T cells are unable to prevent disease progression, partly because of their loss of effector functions, known as T cell exhaustion. Restoring this T cell functionality represents a critical step for regaining immunological control of HIV-1 replication, and may be fundamental for the development of a functional cure for HIV. In this context, the use of animal models is invaluable for evaluating the efficacy and mechanisms of novel therapeutics aimed at reinvigorating T cell functions.
Inflammation in HIV infection is predictive of non-AIDS morbidity and death, higher set point plasma virus load and virus acquisition; thus, therapeutic agents are in development to reduce its causes and consequences. However, inflammation may simultaneously confer both detrimental and beneficial effects. This dichotomy is particularly applicable to type I interferons (IFN-I) which, while contributing to innate control of infection, also provide target cells for the virus during acute infection, impair CD4 T-cell recovery, and are associated with disease progression. Here we manipulated IFN-I signalling in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) during simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) transmission and acute infection with two complementary in vivo interventions. We show that blockade of the IFN-I receptor caused reduced antiviral gene expression, increased SIV reservoir size and accelerated CD4 T-cell depletion with progression to AIDS despite decreased T-cell activation. In contrast, IFN-?2a administration initially upregulated expression of antiviral genes and prevented systemic infection. However, continued IFN-?2a treatment induced IFN-I desensitization and decreased antiviral gene expression, enabling infection with increased SIV reservoir size and accelerated CD4 T-cell loss. Thus, the timing of IFN-induced innate responses in acute SIV infection profoundly affects overall disease course and outweighs the detrimental consequences of increased immune activation. Yet, the clinical consequences of manipulation of IFN signalling are difficult to predict in vivo and therapeutic interventions in human studies should be approached with caution.
Recent studies have identified a subset of memory T cells with stem cell-like properties (T(SCM)) that include increased longevity and proliferative potential. In this study, we examined the dynamics of CD4(+) T(SCM) during pathogenic SIV infection of rhesus macaques (RM) and nonpathogenic SIV infection of sooty mangabeys (SM). Whereas SIV-infected RM show selective numeric preservation of CD4(+) T(SCM), SIV infection induced a complex perturbation of these cells defined by depletion of CD4(+)CCR5(+) T(SCM), increased rates of CD4(+) T(SCM) proliferation, and high levels of direct virus infection. The increased rates of CD4(+) T(SCM) proliferation in SIV-infected RM correlated inversely with the levels of central memory CD4(+) T cells. In contrast, nonpathogenic SIV infection of SM evidenced preservation of both CD4(+) T(SCM) and CD4(+) central memory T cells, with normal levels of CD4(+) T(SCM) proliferation, and lack of selective depletion of CD4(+)CCR5(+) T(SCM). Importantly, SIV DNA was below the detectable limit in CD4(+) T(SCM) from 8 of 10 SIV-infected SM. We propose that increased proliferation and infection of CD4(+) T(SCM) may contribute to the pathogenesis of SIV infection in RM.
Mother-to-infant transmission (MTIT) of HIV is a serious global health concern, with over 300,000 children newly infected in 2011. SIV infection of rhesus macaques (RMs) results in similar rates of MTIT to that of HIV in humans. In contrast, SIV infection of sooty mangabeys (SMs) rarely results in MTIT. The mechanisms underlying protection from MTIT in SMs are unknown. In this study we tested the hypotheses that breast milk factors and/or target cell availability dictate the rate of MTIT in RMs (transmitters) and SMs (non-transmitters). We measured viral loads (cell-free and cell-associated), levels of immune mediators, and the ability to inhibit SIV infection in vitro in milk obtained from lactating RMs and SMs. In addition, we assessed the levels of target cells (CD4+CCR5+ T cells) in gastrointestinal and lymphoid tissues, including those relevant to breastfeeding transmission, as well as peripheral blood from uninfected RM and SM infants. We found that frequently-transmitting RMs did not have higher levels of cell-free or cell-associated viral loads in milk compared to rarely-transmitting SMs. Milk from both RMs and SMs moderately inhibited in vitro SIV infection, and presence of the examined immune mediators in these two species did not readily explain the differential rates of transmission. Importantly, we found that the percentage of CD4+CCR5+ T cells was significantly lower in all tissues in infant SMs as compared to infant RMs despite robust levels of CD4+ T cell proliferation in both species. The difference between the frequently-transmitting RMs and rarely-transmitting SMs was most pronounced in CD4+ memory T cells in the spleen, jejunum, and colon as well as in central and effector memory CD4+ T cells in the peripheral blood. We propose that limited availability of SIV target cells in infant SMs represents a key evolutionary adaptation to reduce the risk of MTIT in SIV-infected SMs.
Depletion of CD4(+) central memory T (TCM) cells dictates the tempo of progression to AIDS in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) both in the natural history of infection and in the context of vaccination. CD4(+) TCM cells of sooty mangabeys (SMs), a natural host for SIV in which infection is nonpathogenic, are less susceptible to SIV infection than CD4(+) TCM cells of RMs. Whether this relative protection from infection translates into increased stability of CD4(+) TCM cells in natural versus nonnatural hosts has not yet been determined. Here we compared, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, the levels of CD4(+) TCM cells in a large cohort of SMs and RMs and the association between CD4(+) TCM levels and the main virologic and immunologic markers of disease progression. Consistent with their lower susceptibility to infection, CD4(+) TCM cells of SIV-infected SMs are lost with kinetics 20 times slower than those of SIV-infected RMs. Remarkably, the estimated length of time of SIV infection needed for CD4(+) TCM cells to fall to half of their initial levels is <16 months for RMs but >17 years for SMs. Furthermore, the fraction of proliferating CD4(+) TCM cells is significantly lower in SIV-infected SMs than in SIV-infected RMs, and the extent of CD4(+) TCM cell proliferation is associated positively with CD4(+) T cell levels in SIV-infected SMs but negatively with CD4(+) T cell levels in SIV-infected RMs. Collectively, these findings identify increased stability and maintenance of the prohomeostatic role of CD4(+) TCM cells as features distinguishing nonprogressive from progressive SIV infections and support the hypothesis of a direct mechanistic link between the loss of CD4(+) TCM cells and disease progression.
Defining the parameters that modulate vaccine responses in African populations will be imperative to design effective vaccines for protection against HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and dengue virus infections. This study aimed to evaluate the contribution of the patient-specific immune microenvironment to the response to the licensed yellow fever vaccine 17D (YF-17D) in an African cohort.
Abstract Subsets of CD16-positive monocytes produce proinflammatory cytokines and expand during chronic infection with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV). HIV-infected macrophage in tissues may be long lived and contribute to the establishment and maintenance of the HIV reservoir. We found that the (intermediate) CD14(++)CD16(+) and (nonclassical) CD14(+)CD16(++) monocyte subsets are significantly expanded during infection of Rhesus macaques with pathogenic SIVmac251 but not during infection of sooty mangabeys with the nonpathogenic isolate SIVSM. In vitro glucocorticoid (GC) treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from uninfected or SIVmac251-infected Rhesus macaques and HIV-infected patients treated or not with antiretroviral therapy (ART) resulted in a significant decrease in the frequency of both CD16-positive monocyte subsets. Short-term in vivo treatment with high doses of GC of chronically SIVmac251-infected macaques resulted in a significant decrease in the CD14(+)CD16(++) population and, to a lesser extent, in the CD14(++)CD16(+) monocytes, as well as a significant decrease in the number of macrophages in tissues. Surprisingly, treatment of SIVmac251-infected macaques with ART significantly increased the CD14(++)CD16(+) population and the addition of GC resulted in a significant decrease in only the CD14(+)CD16(++) subset. No difference in SIV DNA levels in blood, lymph nodes, gut, and spleen was found between the groups treated with ART or ART plus GC. Thus, it appears that high doses of GC treatment in the absence of ART could affect both CD16-positive populations in vivo. Whether the efficacy of this treatment at higher doses to decrease virus levels outweighs its risks remains to be determined.
During HIV infection the severe depletion of intestinal CD4+ T-cells is associated with microbial translocation, systemic immune activation, and disease progression. This study examined intestinal and peripheral CD4+ T-cell subsets reconstitution under combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), and systemic immune activation markers.
APOBEC3G (A3G) is a cytidine deaminase that restricts human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and other lentiviruses. Most of these viruses encode a Vif protein that directly binds A3G and leads to its proteasomal degradation. Both Vif proteins of HIV-1 and African green monkey simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVagm) bind residue 128 of A3G. However, this position does not control the A3G degradation by Vif variants derived from HIV-2 and SIVmac, which both originated from SIV of sooty mangabey monkeys (SIVsmm), suggesting that the A3G binding site for Vif proteins of the SIVsmm/HIV-2 lineage differs from that of HIV-1. To map the SIVsmm Vif binding site of A3G, we performed immunoprecipitations of individual A3G domains, Vif/A3G degradation assays and a detailed mutational analysis of human A3G. We show that A3G residue 129, but not the adjacent position 128, confers susceptibility to degradation by SIVsmm Vif. An artificial A3G mutant, the P129D mutant, was resistant to degradation by diverse Vifs from HIV-1, HIV-2, SIVagm, and chimpanzee SIV (SIVcpz), suggesting a conserved lentiviral Vif binding site. Gorilla A3G naturally contains a glutamine (Q) at position 129, which makes its A3G resistant to Vifs from diverse lineages. We speculate that gorilla A3G serves as a barrier against SIVcpz strains. In summary, we show that Vif proteins from distinct lineages bind to the same A3G loop, which includes positions 128 and 129. The multiple adaptations within this loop among diverse primates underscore the importance of counteracting A3G in lentiviral evolution.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVsmm) infection of sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) is characterized by stable CD4(+) T cell counts despite high plasma levels of CCR5-tropic viruses. However, in rare instances, SIVsmm acquires CXCR4 coreceptor tropism and causes severe CD4(+) T cell depletion, albeit without clinical signs of immunodeficiency. Here, we show that CXCR4-tropic SIVsmm strains lost their ability to downmodulate TCR-CD3 by evolving unusual Nef mutations that initially reduced (I132V) and subsequently disrupted (I123L and L146F) interaction with the CD3 ? chain. This coevolution of Env and Nef function suggests that CD3 downmodulation is advantageous for viral replication in activated CCR5(+) memory T cells, but not in resting naive CXCR4(+) T cells that have not yet undergone TCR-CD3-mediated stimulation. This may explain why HIV-1, which generally lacks the CD3 downmodulation function, commonly switches to CXCR4 usage, whereas this is extremely rare for SIV strains that have retained this Nef activity.
HIV and SIV generally require CD4 binding prior to coreceptor engagement, but Env can acquire the ability to use CCR5 independently of CD4 under various circumstances. The ability to use CCR5 coupled with low-to-absent CD4 levels is associated with enhanced macrophage infection and increased neutralization sensitivity, but the additional features of these Envs that may affect cell targeting is not known.
In contrast to pathogenic HIV/SIV infections of humans and rhesus macaques (RMs), natural SIV infection of sooty mangabeys (SMs) is typically non-pathogenic despite high viremia. Several studies suggested that low immune activation and relative resistance of CD4+ central memory T-cells from virus infection are mechanisms that protect SMs from AIDS. In 2008 it was reported that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) of SMs exhibit attenuated interferon-alpha (IFN-?) responses to TLR7/9 ligands in vitro, and that species-specific amino acid substitutions in SM Interferon Regulatory Factor-7 (IRF7) are responsible for this observation. Based on these findings, these authors proposed that "muted" IFN-? responses are responsible for the benign nature of SIV infection in SMs. However, other studies indicated that acutely SIV-infected SMs show robust IFN-? responses and marked upregulation of Interferon Stimulated Genes (ISGs). To investigate this apparent disparity, we first examined the role of the reported IRF7 amino acid substitutions in SMs. To this end, we sequenced all IRF7 exons in 16 breeders, and exons displaying variability (exons 2,3,5,6,7,8) in the remainder of the colony (177 animals). We found that the reported Ser-Gly substitution at position 191 was a sequencing error, and that several of the remaining substitutions represent only minor alleles. In addition, functional assays using recombinant SM IRF7 showed no defect in its ability to translocate in the nucleus and drive transcription from an IFN-? promoter. Furthermore, in vitro stimulation of SM peripheral blood mononuclear cells with either the TLR7 agonist CL097 or SIV(mac239) induced an 500-800-fold induction of IFN-? and IFN-? mRNA, and levels of IFN-? production by pDCs similar to those of RMs or humans. These data establish that IFN-? and IRF7 signaling in SMs are largely intact, with differences with RMs that are minor and unlikely to play any role in the AIDS resistance of SIV-infected SMs.
CD4(+) T cells rather than macrophages are the principal cells infected by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in vivo. Macrophage tropism has been linked to the ability to enter cells through CCR5 in conjunction with limiting CD4 levels, which are much lower on macrophages than on T cells. We recently reported that rhesus macaques (RM) experimentally depleted of CD4(+) T cells before SIV infection exhibit extensive macrophage infection as well as high chronic viral loads and rapid progression to AIDS. Here we show that early-time-point and control Envs were strictly CD4 dependent but that, by day 42 postinfection, plasma virus of CD4(+) T cell-depleted RM was dominated by Envs that mediate efficient infection using RM CCR5 independently of CD4. Early-time-point and control RM Envs were resistant to neutralization by SIV-positive (SIV(+)) plasma but became sensitive if preincubated with sCD4. In contrast, CD4-independent Envs were highly sensitive to SIV(+) plasma neutralization. However, plasma from SIV-infected CD4(+) T cell-depleted animals lacked this CD4-inducible neutralizing activity and failed to neutralize any Envs regardless of sCD4 pre-exposure status. Enhanced sensitivity of CD4-independent Envs from day 42 CD4(+) T cell-depleted RM was also seen with monoclonal antibodies that target both known CD4-inducible and other Env epitopes. CD4 independence and neutralization sensitivity were both conferred by Env amino acid changes E84K and D470N that arose independently in multiple animals, with the latter introducing a potential N-linked glycosylation site within a predicted CD4-binding pocket of gp120. Thus, the absence of CD4 T cells results in failure to produce antibodies that neutralize CD4-independent Envs and CD4-pretriggered control Envs. In the absence of this constraint and with a relative paucity of CD4(+) target cells, widespread macrophage infection occurs in vivo accompanied by emergence of variants carrying structural changes that enable entry independently of CD4.
In pathogenic HIV and SIV infections of humans and rhesus macaques (RMs), preferential depletion of CD4(+) Th17 cells correlates with mucosal immune dysfunction and disease progression. Interleukin (IL)-21 promotes differentiation of Th17 cells, long-term maintenance of functional CD8(+) T cells, and differentiation of memory B cells and antibody-secreting plasma cells. We hypothesized that administration of IL-21 will improve mucosal function in the context of pathogenic HIV/SIV infections. To test this hypothesis, we infected 12 RMs with SIV(mac239) and at day 14 post-infection treated six of them with rhesus rIL-21-IgFc. IL-21-treatment was safe and did not increase plasma viral load or systemic immune activation. Compared to untreated animals, IL-21-treated RMs showed (i) higher expression of perforin and granzyme B in total and SIV-specific CD8(+) T cells and (ii) higher levels of intestinal Th17 cells. Remarkably, increased levels of Th17 cells were associated with reduced levels of intestinal T cell proliferation, microbial translocation and systemic activation/inflammation in the chronic infection. In conclusion, IL-21-treatment in SIV-infected RMs improved mucosal immune function through enhanced preservation of Th17 cells. Further preclinical studies of IL-21 may be warranted to test its potential use during chronic infection in conjunction with antiretroviral therapy.
Human adenovirus (AdHu)-based candidate AIDS vaccine can provide protection from simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) transmission and disease progression. However, their potential use may be limited by widespread preexisting immunity to the vector. In contrast, preexisting immunity to chimpanzee adenoviruses (AdC) is relatively rare. In this study, we utilized two regimens of prime-boost immunizations with AdC serotype SAd-V23 (also called AdC6) and SAd-V24 (also called AdC7) expressing SIV Gag/Tat to test their immunogenicity and ability to protect rhesus macaques (RMs) from a repeated low-dose SIVmac239 challenge. Both AdC6 followed by AdC7 (AdC6/7) and AdC7 followed by AdC6 (AdC7/6) induced robust SIV Gag/Tat-specific T cell responses as measured by tetramer staining and functional assays. However, no significant protection from SIV transmission was observed in either AdC7/6- or AdC7/6-vaccinated RMs. Interestingly, in the RMs showing breakthrough infections, AdC7/6-SIV immunization was associated with a transient but significant (P = 0.035 at day 90 and P = 0.033 at day 120 postinfection) reduction in the setpoint viral load compared to unvaccinated controls. None of the measured immunological markers (i.e., number or functionality of SIV-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses and level of activated and/or CCR5(+) CD4(+) target cells) at the time of challenge correlated with protection from SIV transmission in the AdC-SIV-vaccinated RMs. The robust immunogenicity observed in all AdC-immunized RMs and the transient signal of protection from SIV replication exhibited by AdC7/6-vaccinated RMs even in the absence of any envelope immunogen suggest that AdC-based vectors may represent a promising platform for candidate AIDS vaccines.
Studying SIV infection of natural host monkey species, such as sooty mangabeys, has provided insights into the immune changes associated with these nonprogressive infections. Mangabeys maintain immune health despite high viremia or the dramatic CD4 T cell depletion that can occur following multitropic SIV infection. Here we evaluate double-negative (DN)(CD3+CD4-CD8-) T cells that are resistant to SIV infection due to a lack of CD4 surface expression, for their potential to fulfill a role as helper T cells. We first determined that DN T cells are polyclonal and predominantly exhibit an effector memory phenotype (CD95+CD62L-). Microarray analysis of TCR (anti-CD3/CD28) stimulated DN T cells indicated that these cells are multifunctional and upregulate genes with marked similarity to CD4 T cells, such as immune genes associated with Th1 (IFN?), Th2 (IL4, IL5, IL13, CD40L), Th17 (IL17, IL22) and TFH (IL21, ICOS, IL6) function, chemokines such as CXCL9 and CXCL10 and transcription factors known to be actively regulated in CD4 T cells. Multifunctional T-helper cell responses were maintained in DN T cells from uninfected and SIV infected mangabeys and persisted in mangabeys exhibiting SIV mediated CD4 loss. Interestingly, TCR stimulation of DN T cells from SIV infected mangabeys results in a decreased upregulation of IFN? and increased IL5 and IL13 expression compared to uninfected mangabeys. Evaluation of proliferative capacity of DN T cells in vivo (BrDU labeling) indicated that these cells maintain their ability to proliferate despite SIV infection, and express the homeostatic cytokine receptors CD25 (IL2 receptor) and CD127 (IL7 receptor). This study identifies the potential for a CD4-negative T cell subset that is refractory to SIV infection to perform T-helper functions in mangabeys and suggests that immune therapeutics designed to increase DN T cell function during HIV infection may have beneficial effects for the host immune system.
There is significant debate about whether the gut plays a major role in viral replication and pathology in HIV infection. Here we aimed to estimate the contribution of the gut to the total virus observed in plasma, by comparing the frequency of different viral mutants in plasma and gut in SIV infection.
Over the past decades, AIDS research has made tremendous progress in all key areas, including pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment. In particular, the introduction of potent antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected individuals. However, several challenges remain, including the absence of a vaccine that can reliably prevent virus acquisition, and the inability of current ART regimens to eradicate the infection.
The host-pathogen interaction is strikingly complex during HIV infection. While several immune effector mechanisms (i.e. cytotoxic T cells, neutralizing antibodies, NK cells, among others) can play a strong antiviral role in vivo, the virus is remarkably able to evade these responses. In addition, the virus preferentially infects and kills activated memory CD4+ T cells, thus exploiting the host antiviral immune response as a source of new cellular targets for infection. Recent advances in understanding (i) how HIV perturbs the host immune system, (ii) how the immune system fights HIV; and (iii) how HIV disease persists when virus replication is suppressed by antiretroviral drugs may hopefully lead to better prevention and treatment strategies for this deadly viral infection.
We used the simian immunodeficiency virus mac251 (SIV(mac251)) macaque model to study the effect of the dose of mucosal exposure on vaccine efficacy. We immunized macaques with a DNA prime followed by SIV gp120 protein immunization with ALVAC-SIV and gp120 in alum, and we challenged them with SIV(mac251) at either a single high dose or at two repeated low-dose exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose. Infection was neither prevented nor modified following a single high-dose challenge of the immunized macaques. However, two exposures to a 10-fold-lower dose resulted in protection from SIV(mac251) acquisition in 3 out of 12 macaques. The remaining animals that were infected had a modulated pathogenesis, significant downregulation of interferon responsive genes, and upregulation of genes involved in B- and T-cell responses. Thus, the choice of the experimental model greatly influences the vaccine efficacy of vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, the translocation of microbial products from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to portal and systemic circulation has been proposed as a major driver of the chronic immune activation that is associated with disease progression. Consistently, microbial translocation is not present in nonpathogenic SIV infections of natural host species. In vivo studies demonstrated that HIV/SIV-associated microbial translocation results from a series of immunopathological events occurring at the GI mucosa: (i) early and severe mucosal CD4(+) depletion, (ii) mucosal immune hyperactivation/persistent inflammation; (iii) damage to the integrity of the intestinal epithelium with enterocyte apoptosis and tight junction disruption; and (iv) subverted the gut microbiome, with a predominance of opportunistic bacteria. Direct in situ evidence of microbial translocation has been provided for SIV-infected rhesus macaques showing translocated microbial products in the intestinal lamina propria and distant sites. While the mechanisms by which microbial translocation causes immune activation remain controversial, a key pathogenic event appears to be innate immunity activation via Toll-like receptors and other pathogen recognition receptors. Accumulating clinical observations suggest that microbial translocation might affect HIV disease progression, response to therapy, and non-AIDS comorbidities. Given its detrimental effect on overall immunity, several interventions to prevent/block microbial translocation are currently under investigation as novel therapeutic agents for HIV/AIDS.
Natural host sooty mangabeys (SM) infected with simian immunodeficiency virus SIVsmm do not develop AIDS despite high viremia. SM and other natural hosts express very low levels of CCR5 on CD4(+) T cells, and we recently showed that SIVsmm infection and robust replication occur in vivo in SM genetically lacking CCR5, indicating the use of additional entry pathways. SIVsmm uses several alternative coreceptors of human origin in vitro, but which molecules of SM origin support entry is unknown. We cloned a panel of putative coreceptors from SM and tested their ability to mediate infection, in conjunction with smCD4, by pseudotypes carrying Envs from multiple SIVsmm subtypes. smCXCR6 supported efficient infection by all SIVsmm isolates with entry levels comparable to those for smCCR5, and smGPR15 enabled entry by all isolates at modest levels. smGPR1 and smAPJ supported low and variable entry, whereas smCCR2b, smCCR3, smCCR4, smCCR8, and smCXCR4 were not used by most isolates. In contrast, SIVsmm from rare infected SM with profound CD4(+) T cell loss, previously reported to have expanded use of human coreceptors, including CXCR4, used smCXCR4, smCXCR6, and smCCR5 efficiently and also exhibited robust entry through smCCR3, smCCR8, smGPR1, smGPR15, and smAPJ. Entry was similar with both known alleles of smCD4. These alternative coreceptors, particularly smCXCR6 and smGPR15, may support virus replication in SM that have restricted CCR5 expression as well as SM genetically lacking CCR5. Defining expression of these molecules on SM CD4(+) subsets may delineate distinct natural host target cell populations capable of supporting SIVsmm replication without CD4(+) T cell loss.
Pigtail macaques (PTM) are an excellent model for HIV research; however, the dynamics of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) SIVmac239 infection in PTM have not been fully evaluated. We studied nine PTM prior to infection, during acute and chronic SIVmac239 infections, until progression to AIDS. We found PTM manifest clinical AIDS more rapidly than rhesus macaques (RM), as AIDS-defining events occurred at an average of 42.17 weeks after infection in PTM compared to 69.56 weeks in RM (P = 0.0018). However, increased SIV progression was not associated with increased viremia, as both peak and set-point plasma viremias were similar between PTM and RM (P = 0.7953 and P = 0.1006, respectively). Moreover, this increased disease progression was not associated with rapid CD4(+) T cell depletion, as CD4(+) T cell decline resembled other SIV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) models. Since immune activation is the best predictor of disease progression during HIV infection, we analyzed immune activation by turnover of T cells by BrdU decay and Ki67 expression. We found increased levels of turnover prior to SIV infection of PTM compared to that observed with RM, which may contribute to their increased disease progression rate. These data evaluate the kinetics of SIVmac239-induced disease progression and highlight PTM as a model for HIV infection and the importance of immune activation in SIV disease progression.
Development of a safe and effective prophylactic HIV-1 vaccine presents unique challenges. The pessimism following the failure of two HIV-1 vaccine concepts in clinical trials, HIV-1 gp120 and an adenovirus-based approach to induce only cellular immune responses, has been replaced by cautious optimism engendered by the RV144 trial outcome, the isolation of several new broadly reactive neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, and recent primate model data indicating prevention of viral acquisition by active or passive immunization. Intense efforts are underway to optimize immunogen design, adjuvants, and the tools for preclinical evaluation of candidate vaccines in primates, where correlates of protection can be examined in detail - as proof-of-concept for clinical trials.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in African nonhuman primate (NHP) natural hosts is usually nonpathogenic, despite high levels of virus replication. We have previously shown that chronic SIV infection in sooty mangabeys (SMs) and African green monkeys (AGMs) is associated with low levels of immune activation and bystander T cell apoptosis. To compare these features with those observed in another natural host, the mandrill (MND), we conducted a cross-sectional survey of the 23 SIV-infected and 25 uninfected MNDs from the only semifree colony of mandrills available worldwide. Viral loads (VLs) were determined and phenotypic and functional analysis of peripheral blood- and lymph node-derived lymphocytes was performed. We found that mandrills chronically infected with SIVmnd-1 or SIVmnd-2 have similar levels of viral replication, and we observed a trend toward lower CD4+ T cell counts in chronically SIVmnd-2-infected MNDs than SIVmnd-1-infected MNDs. No correlation between CD4+ T cell counts and VLs in SIV-infected MNDs could be established. Of note, the levels of T cell activation, proliferation, and apoptosis were comparable between SIVmnd-1- and SIVmnd-2-infected MNDs and to those observed in uninfected animals, with the only exception being an increase in tumor necrosis factor alpha-producing CD8+ T cells in SIVmnd-2-infected MNDs. Overall, these findings recapitulate previous observations in SIV-infected SMs and AGMs and lend further evidence to the hypothesis that low levels of immune activation protect natural SIV hosts from disease progression.
CD4+ T cells play a central role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV/AIDS, and their depletion during chronic HIV infection is a hallmark of disease progression. However, the relative contribution of CD4+ T cells as mediators of antiviral immune responses and targets for virus replication is still unclear. Here, we have generated data in SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) that suggest that CD4+ T cells are essential in establishing control of virus replication during acute infection. To directly assess the role of CD4+ T cells during primary SIV infection, we in vivo depleted these cells from RMs prior to infecting the primates with a pathogenic strain of SIV. Compared with undepleted animals, CD4+ lymphocyte-depleted RMs showed a similar peak of viremia, but did not manifest any post-peak decline of virus replication despite CD8+ T cell- and B cell-mediated SIV-specific immune responses comparable to those observed in control animals. Interestingly, depleted animals displayed rapid disease progression, which was associated with increased virus replication in non-T cells as well as the emergence of CD4-independent SIV-envelopes. Our results suggest that the antiviral CD4+ T cell response may play an important role in limiting SIV replication, which has implications for the design of HIV vaccines.
The following series of concise summaries addresses the evolution of infectious agents in relation to sex in animals and humans from the perspective of three specific questions: (1) what have we learned about the likely origin and phylogeny, up to the establishment of the infectious agent in the genital econiche, including the relative frequency of its sexual transmission; (2) what further research is needed to provide additional knowledge on some of these evolutionary aspects; and (3) what evolutionary considerations might aid in providing novel approaches to the more practical clinical and public health issues facing us currently and in the future?
Chronic immune activation is a key factor driving the immunopathogenesis of AIDS. During pathogenic HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections, innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses contribute to chronic immune activation. In contrast, nonpathogenic SIV infections of natural hosts such as sooty mangabeys and African green monkeys (AGMs) are characterized by low immune activation despite similarly high viremia. This review focuses on the role of innate immune responses in SIV infection.
Neutrophils use immunoglobulins to clear antigen, but their role in immunoglobulin production is unknown. Here we identified neutrophils around the marginal zone (MZ) of the spleen, a B cell area specialized in T cell-independent immunoglobulin responses to circulating antigen. Neutrophils colonized peri-MZ areas after postnatal mucosal colonization by microbes and enhanced their B cell-helper function after receiving reprogramming signals, including interleukin 10 (IL-10), from splenic sinusoidal endothelial cells. Splenic neutrophils induced immunoglobulin class switching, somatic hypermutation and antibody production by activating MZ B cells through a mechanism that involved the cytokines BAFF, APRIL and IL-21. Neutropenic patients had fewer and hypomutated MZ B cells and a lower abundance of preimmune immunoglobulins to T cell-independent antigens, which indicates that neutrophils generate an innate layer of antimicrobial immunoglobulin defense by interacting with MZ B cells.
Many species of African nonhuman primates are natural hosts for individual strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). These infected animals do not, however, develop AIDS. Here we show that multiple species of African nonhuman primate species characteristically have low frequencies of CD4(+) T cells and high frequencies of both T cells that express only the alpha-chain of CD8 and double-negative T cells. These subsets of T cells are capable of eliciting functions generally associated with CD4(+) T cells, yet these cells lack surface expression of the CD4 protein and are, therefore, poor targets for SIV in vivo. These data demonstrate that coevolution with SIV has, in several cases, involved downregulation of receptors for the virus by otherwise-susceptible host target cells. Understanding the genetic factors that lead to downregulation of these receptors may lead to therapeutic interventions that mimic this modulation in progressive infections.
In SIV/HIV infection, the gastrointestinal tissue dominates as an important site because of the impact of massive mucosal CD4 depletion and immune activation-induced tissue pathology. Unlike AIDS-susceptible rhesus macaques, natural hosts do not progress to AIDS and resolve immune activation earlier. Here, we examine the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in mediating immune activation and disease progression. We demonstrate that plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in the blood up-regulate ?7-integrin and are rapidly recruited to the colorectum after a pathogenic SIV infection in rhesus macaques. These pDCs were capable of producing proinflammatory cytokines and primed a T cytotoxic 1 response in vitro. Consistent with the up-regulation of ?7-integrin on pDCs, in vivo blockade of ?4?7-integrin dampened pDC recruitment to the colorectum and resulted in reduced immune activation. The up-regulation of ?7-integrin expression on pDCs in the blood also was observed in HIV-infected humans but not in chronically SIV-infected sooty mangabeys that show low levels of immune activation. Our results uncover a new mechanism by which pDCs influence immune activation in colorectal tissue after pathogenic immunodeficiency virus infections.
In January 2010 two groups independently published the observation that the depletion of CD8+ cells in SIV-infected macaques had no detectable impact on the lifespan of productively infected cells. This unexpected observation led the authors to suggest that CD8+ T cells control SIV viraemia via non-lytic mechanisms. However, a number of alternative plausible explanations, compatible with a lytic model of CD8+ T cell control, were proposed. This left the field with no consensus on how to interpret these experiments and no clear indication whether CD8+ T cells operated primarily via a lytic or a non-lytic mechanism. The aim of this work was to investigate why CD8+ T cells do not appear to reduce the lifespan of SIV-infected cells in vivo.
We investigated the relationship between viral persistence in the gut, microbial translocation, and T cell activation during chronic HIV infection. Plasma levels of LPS, fraction of circulating CD8+CD38+ T cells, and levels of HIV-DNA in rectosigmoid biopsies and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were determined in 22 HIV-infected individuals and 10 healthy controls. We found that in untreated HIV-infected individuals, HIV-DNA load was higher in the gut mucosa than in the blood. Also, ART-treated patients exhibited lower levels of LPS and CD8+CD38+ T cells than untreated patients, but higher levels than controls. In ART-treated individuals, the level of HIV-DNA in the gut correlated with levels of LPS and fraction of CD8+CD38+ T cells. We concluded that in ART-treated individuals, higher levels of gut-associated HIV-DNA are associated with persistent immune activation and microbial translocation.
Naturally simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected sooty mangabeys do not progress to AIDS despite high-level virus replication. We previously showed that the fraction of CD4(+)CCR5(+) T cells is lower in sooty mangabeys compared to humans and macaques. Here we found that, after in vitro stimulation, sooty mangabey CD4(+) T cells fail to upregulate CCR5 and that this phenomenon is more pronounced in CD4(+) central memory T cells (T(CM) cells). CD4(+) T cell activation was similarly uncoupled from CCR5 expression in sooty mangabeys in vivo during acute SIV infection and the homeostatic proliferation that follows antibody-mediated CD4(+) T cell depletion. Sooty mangabey CD4(+) T(CM) cells that express low amounts of CCR5 showed reduced susceptibility to SIV infection both in vivo and in vitro when compared to CD4(+) T(CM) cells of rhesus macaques. These data suggest that low CCR5 expression on sooty mangabey CD4(+) T cells favors the preservation of CD4(+) T cell homeostasis and promotes an AIDS-free status by protecting CD4(+) T(CM) cells from direct virus infection.
Mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) occurs in utero, intrapartum, and through breastfeeding, with a cumulative rate of transmission of 35 to 40%. As a result, ? 400,000 children become infected each year. Little is known about mother-to-infant transmission (MTIT) during natural simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of sooty mangabeys (SMs) that typically is nonpathogenic despite high viral loads. In this study, we retrospectively investigated the rates of MTIT in a large colony of naturally SIV-infected SMs using serological (anti-SIV antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] and Western blot analysis) and virological (SIV(smm) real-time reverse transcription-PCR) methods. We examined 161 SM infants born to SIV-infected mothers and found that 150 (93.2%) were infected by non-MTIT (n = 120) or remained uninfected (n = 30). The remaining 11 SM infants (6.8%) were defined as acquiring SIV by presumptive MTIT based on (i) the presence of anti-SIV antibodies without seroreversion and (ii) a viral load of >500 copies/ml of serum in the first year of life. SM infants infected with SIV by presumptive MTIT did not show any increased morbidity or mortality, indicating that the infection is nonpathogenic even when acquired early in life. Interestingly, viral loads of SIV-infected SM infants with presumptive MTIT were 2-log lower than those of SIV-infected adult SMs living in the same colony (i.e., ? 1,000 and 100,000 copies/ml, respectively). These results indicate that MTIT is substantially less frequent in naturally SIV-infected SMs than in HIV-1-infected humans and results in nonpathogenic infection associated with low SIV viremia. Evolutionary pressure to reduce MTIT may have contributed to the restriction of SIV pathogenesis in natural hosts.
Mucosal transmission of HIV predominately occurs during sexual intercourse or breast-feeding and generally results in a successful infection from just one or few founder virions. Here we assessed the impact of viral inoculum size on both viral and immune events within two groups of Rhesus macaques that were non-traumatically, orally inoculated with either multiple low (1000 to 4000 TCID(50)) or high (100,000 TCID(50)) doses of SIV. In agreement with previous studies, more diverse SIV variants were observed in macaques following infection with high dose oral SIV compared to a low dose challenge. In peripheral blood cells, the immune gene transcript levels of CXCL9, IFN?, TNF? and IL10 remained similar to uninfected macaques. In contrast, OAS and CXCL10 were upregulated following SIV infection in both the high and low dosed macaques, with a more rapid kinetics (detectable by 7 days) following the high SIV dose challenge. In peripheral lymph nodes, an increase in CXCL10 was observed irrespective of viral dose while CXCL9 and OAS were differentially regulated in the two SIV dosed groups. Magnetic bead sorting of CD3+, CD14+ and CD3- /CD14- cells from peripheral blood identified the increase in OAS expression primarily within CD14+ monocytes, whereas the CXCL10 expression was primarily in CD3+ T cells. These findings provide insights into the impact of SIV challenge dose on viral and innate immune factors, which has the potential to inform future SIV/HIV vaccine efficacy trials in which vaccinated hosts have the potential to be infected with a range of viral challenge doses.
The hallmark of HIV-1 and SIV infections is CD4(+) T cell depletion. Both direct cell killing and indirect mechanisms related to immune activation have been suggested to cause the depletion of T cells. We have now identified a mechanism by which immune activation-induced fibrosis of lymphoid tissues leads to depletion of naive T cells in HIV-1 infected patients and SIV-infected rhesus macaques. The T regulatory cell response to immune activation increased procollagen production and subsequent deposition as fibrils via the TGF-?1 signaling pathway and chitinase 3-like-1 activity in fibroblasts in lymphoid tissues from patients infected with HIV-1. Collagen deposition restricted T cell access to the survival factor IL-7 on the fibroblastic reticular cell (FRC) network, resulting in apoptosis and depletion of T cells, which, in turn, removed a major source of lymphotoxin-?, a survival factor for FRCs during SIV infection in rhesus macaques. The resulting loss of FRCs and the loss of IL-7 produced by FRCs may thus perpetuate a vicious cycle of depletion of T cells and the FRC network. Because this process is cumulative, early treatment and antifibrotic therapies may offer approaches to moderate T cell depletion and improve immune reconstitution during HIV-1 infection.
SIV(mac239) infection of rhesus macaques (RMs) results in AIDS despite the generation of a strong antiviral cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response, possibly due to the emergence of viral escape mutants that prevent recognition of infected cells by CTLs. To determine the anatomic origin of these SIV mutants, we longitudinally assessed the presence of CTL escape variants in two MamuA*01-restricted immunodominant epitopes (Tat-SL8 and Gag-CM9) in the plasma, PBMCs, lymph nodes (LN), and rectal biopsies (RB) of fifteen SIV(mac239)-infected RMs. As expected, Gag-CM9 did not exhibit signs of escape before day 84 post infection. In contrast, Tat-SL8 escape mutants were apparent in all tissues by day 14 post infection. Interestingly LNs and plasma exhibited the highest level of escape at day 14 and day 28 post infection, respectively, with the rate of escape in the RB remaining lower throughout the acute infection. The possibility that CTL escape occurs in LNs before RBs is confirmed by the observation that the specific mutants found at high frequency in LNs at day 14 post infection became dominant at day 28 post infection in plasma, PBMC, and RB. Finally, the frequency of escape mutants in plasma at day 28 post infection correlated strongly with the level Tat-SL8-specific CD8 T cells in the LN and PBMC at day 14 post infection. These results indicate that LNs represent the primary source of CTL escape mutants during the acute phase of SIV(mac239) infection, suggesting that LNs are the main anatomic sites of virus replication and/or the tissues in which CTL pressure is most effective in selecting SIV escape variants.
HIV infection is associated with a state of chronic, generalized immune activation that has been shown in many studies to be a key predictor of progression to AIDS. Consistent with this model, nonpathogenic SIV infections of natural hosts, such as the sooty mangabeys, are characterized by low levels of immune activation during the chronic phase of infection. The molecular, cellular, and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the HIV-associated immune activation are complex and still poorly understood. There is, however, growing consensus that both viral and host factors contribute to this phenotype, with emphasis on the role played by the mucosal immune dysfunction (and consequent microbial translocation) as well as the pattern of in vivo-infected CD4(+) T cells. The observation that antiretroviral therapy (ART)-induced suppression of HIV replication does not fully resolve immune activation provided the rationale for a number of exploratory studies of potential immune modulatory treatments to be used in HIV-infected individuals in addition to standard ART. This review provides an update on the causes and consequences of the HIV-associated immune activation, and a summary of the immune modulatory approaches that are currently under clinical investigation.
SIV infection of natural host species such as sooty mangabeys results in high viral replication without clinical signs of simian AIDS. Studying such infections is useful for identifying immunologic parameters that lead to AIDS in HIV-infected patients. Here we have demonstrated that acute, SIV-induced CD4(+) T cell depletion in sooty mangabeys does not result in immune dysfunction and progression to simian AIDS and that a population of CD3(+)CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells (double-negative T cells) partially compensates for CD4(+) T cell function in these animals. Passaging plasma from an SIV-infected sooty mangabey with very few CD4(+) T cells to SIV-negative animals resulted in rapid loss of CD4(+) T cells. Nonetheless, all sooty mangabeys generated SIV-specific antibody and T cell responses and maintained normal levels of plasma lipopolysaccharide. Moreover, all CD4-low sooty mangabeys elicited a de novo immune response following influenza vaccination. Such preserved immune responses as well as the low levels of immune activation observed in these animals were associated with the presence of double-negative T cells capable of producing Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokines. These studies indicate that SIV-infected sooty mangabeys do not appear to rely entirely on CD4(+) T cells to maintain immunity and identify double-negative T cells as a potential subset of cells capable of performing CD4(+) T cell-like helper functions upon SIV-induced CD4(+) T cell depletion in this species.
High levels of HIV-1 replication during the chronic phase of infection usually correlate with rapid progression to severe immunodeficiency. However, a minority of highly viremic individuals remains asymptomatic and maintains high CD4? T cell counts. This tolerant profile is poorly understood and reminiscent of the widely studied nonprogressive disease model of SIV infection in natural hosts. Here, we identify transcriptome differences between rapid progressors (RPs) and viremic nonprogressors (VNPs) and highlight several genes relevant for the understanding of HIV-1-induced immunosuppression. RPs were characterized by a specific transcriptome profile of CD4? and CD8? T cells similar to that observed in pathogenic SIV-infected rhesus macaques. In contrast, VNPs exhibited lower expression of interferon-stimulated genes and shared a common gene regulation profile with nonpathogenic SIV-infected sooty mangabeys. A short list of genes associated with VNP, including CASP1, CD38, LAG3, TNFSF13B, SOCS1, and EEF1D, showed significant correlation with time to disease progression when evaluated in an independent set of CD4? T cell expression data. This work characterizes 2 minimally studied clinical patterns of progression to AIDS, whose analysis may inform our understanding of HIV pathogenesis.
Despite enormous efforts by the scientific community, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. To further address to what degree T cells in absence of antibodies may protect against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) disease progression, rhesus macaques were vaccinated intramuscularly with a chimpanzee-derived Ad vector (AdC) serotype 6 and then boosted intramuscularly with a serologically distinct AdC vector of serotype 7 both expressing Gag of SIVmac239. Animals were subsequently boosted intramuscularly with a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) virus expressing Gag and Tat of the homologous SIV before mucosal challenge with a high dose of SIVmac239 given rectally. Whereas vaccinated animals showed only a modest reduction of viral loads, their overall survival was improved, in association with a substantial protection from the loss of CD4(+) T cells. In addition, the two vaccinated Mamu-A*01(+) macaques controlled viral loads to levels below detection within weeks after challenge. These data strongly suggest that T cells, while unable to affect SIV acquisition upon high-dose rectal infection, can reduce disease progression. Induction of potent T-cell responses should thus remain a component of our efforts to develop an efficacious vaccine to HIV-1.
HIV infection is associated with depletion of intestinal CD4(+) T cells, resulting in mucosal immune dysfunction, microbial translocation, chronic immune activation, and progressive immunodeficiency. In this study, we examined HIV-infected individuals with active virus replication (n = 15), treated with antiretroviral therapy (n = 13), and healthy controls (n = 11) and conducted a comparative analysis of T cells derived from blood and four gastrointestinal (GI) sites (terminal ileum, right colon, left colon, and sigmoid colon). As expected, we found that HIV infection is associated with depletion of total CD4(+) T cells as well as CD4(+)CCR5(+) T cells in all GI sites, with higher levels of these cells found in ART-treated individuals than in those with active virus replication. While the levels of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell proliferation were higher in the blood of untreated HIV-infected individuals, only CD4(+) T cell proliferation was significantly increased in the gut of the same patients. We also noted that the levels of CD4(+) T cells and the percentages of CD4(+)Ki67(+) proliferating T cells are inversely correlated in both blood and intestinal tissues, thus suggesting that CD4(+) T cell homeostasis is similarly affected by HIV infection in these distinct anatomic compartments. Importantly, the level of intestinal CD4(+) T cells (both total and Th17 cells) was inversely correlated with the percentage of circulating CD4(+)Ki67(+) T cells. Collectively, these data confirm that the GI tract is a key player in the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection, and they reveal a strong association between the destruction of intestinal CD4(+) T cell homeostasis in the gut and the level of systemic CD4(+) T cell activation.
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a ?-chain cytokine that plays a key role in T cell development and homeostasis by signaling through its cognate receptor, IL-7R or CD127, and inducing T cell survival and/or proliferation. Owing to its ability to promote CD4+ T cell homeostasis, IL-7 has elicited significant interest as a potential immunotherapy for HIV-infected individuals. Indeed, several studies have indicated that progressive HIV infection is associated with a complex dysregulation of the IL-7/IL-7R pathway consisting of increased plasma levels of this cytokine coupled with decreased percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressing CD127. Administration of IL-7 to antiretroviral-treated HIV-infected individuals results in a selective increase in the fraction of naive and central-memory CD4+ T cells, suggesting a beneficial effect on overall CD4+ T cell function. For this reason, and given its potential role in depleting the reservoirs of latently infected CD4+ T cells, IL-7 therapy can be considered a promising approach for improving immune function in HIV-infected individuals.
Despite comparable levels of virus replication, simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) infection is non-pathogenic in natural hosts, such as sooty mangabeys (SM), whereas it is pathogenic in non-natural hosts, such as rhesus macaques (RM). Comparative studies of pathogenic and non-pathogenic SIV infection can thus shed light on the role of specific factors in SIV pathogenesis. Here, we determine the impact of target-cell limitation, CD8+ T cells, and Natural Killer (NK) cells on virus replication in the early SIV infection. To this end, we fit previously published data of experimental SIV infections in SMs and RMs with mathematical models incorporating these factors and assess to what extent the inclusion of individual factors determines the quality of the fits. We find that for both rhesus macaques and sooty mangabeys, target-cell limitation alone cannot explain the control of early virus replication, whereas including CD8+ T cells into the models significantly improves the fits. By contrast, including NK cells does only significantly improve the fits in SMs. These findings have important implications for our understanding of SIV pathogenesis as they suggest that the level of early CD8+ T cell responses is not the key difference between pathogenic and non-pathogenic SIV infection.
The chronic phase of HIV infection is marked by pathological activation of the immune system, the extent of which better predicts disease progression than either plasma viral load or CD4(+) T cell count. Recently, translocation of microbial products from the gastrointestinal tract has been proposed as an underlying cause of this immune activation, based on indirect evidence including the detection of microbial products and specific immune responses in the plasma of chronically HIV-infected humans or SIV-infected Asian macaques. We analyzed tissues from SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) to provide direct in situ evidence for translocation of microbial constituents from the lumen of the intestine into the lamina propria and to draining and peripheral lymph nodes and liver, accompanied by local immune responses in affected tissues. In chronically SIV-infected RMs this translocation is associated with breakdown of the integrity of the epithelial barrier of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and apparent inability of lamina propria macrophages to effectively phagocytose translocated microbial constituents. By contrast, in the chronic phase of SIV infection in sooty mangabeys, we found no evidence of epithelial barrier breakdown, no increased microbial translocation and no pathological immune activation. Because immune activation is characteristic of the chronic phase of progressive HIV/SIV infections, these findings suggest that increased microbial translocation from the GI tract, in excess of capacity to clear the translocated microbial constituents, helps drive pathological immune activation. Novel therapeutic approaches to inhibit microbial translocation and/or attenuate chronic immune activation in HIV-infected individuals may complement treatments aimed at direct suppression of viral replication.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections result in chronic virus replication and progressive depletion of CD4+ T cells, leading to immunodeficiency and death. In contrast, natural hosts of SIV experience persistent infection with high virus replication but no severe CD4+ T cell depletion, and remain AIDS-free. One important difference between pathogenic and non-pathogenic infections is the level of activation and proliferation of CD4+ T cells. We analysed the relationship between CD4+ T cell number and proliferation in HIV, pathogenic SIV in macaques, and non-pathogenic SIV in sooty mangabeys (SMs) and mandrills. We found that CD4+ T cell proliferation was negatively correlated with CD4+ T cell number, suggesting that animals respond to the loss of CD4+ T cells by increasing the proliferation of remaining cells. However, the level of proliferation seen in pathogenic infections (SIV in rhesus macaques and HIV) was much greater than in non-pathogenic infections (SMs and mandrills). We then used a modelling approach to understand how the host proliferative response to CD4+ T cell depletion may impact the outcome of infection. This modelling demonstrates that the rapid proliferation of CD4+ T cells in humans and macaques associated with low CD4+ T cell levels can act to fuel the fire of infection by providing more proliferating cells for infection. Natural host species, on the other hand, have limited proliferation of CD4+ T cells at low CD4+ T cell levels, which allows them to restrict the number of proliferating cells susceptible to infection.
The mechanisms underlying the AIDS resistance of natural hosts for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) remain unknown. Recently, it was proposed that natural SIV hosts avoid disease because their plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are intrinsically unable to produce alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) in response to SIV RNA stimulation. However, here we show that (i) acute SIV infections of natural hosts are associated with a rapid and robust type I IFN response in vivo, (ii) pDCs are the principal in vivo producers of IFN-alpha/beta at peak acute infection in lymphatic tissues, and (iii) natural SIV hosts downregulate these responses in early chronic infection. In contrast, persistently high type I IFN responses are observed during pathogenic SIV infection of rhesus macaques.
In contrast to HIV infection in humans and SIV in macaques, SIV infection of natural hosts including sooty mangabeys (SM) is non-pathogenic despite robust virus replication. We identified a novel SM CCR5 allele containing a two base pair deletion (?2) encoding a truncated molecule that is not expressed on the cell surface and does not support SIV entry in vitro. The allele was present at a 26% frequency in a large SM colony, along with 3% for a CCR5?24 deletion allele that also abrogates surface expression. Overall, 8% of animals were homozygous for defective CCR5 alleles and 41% were heterozygous. The mutant allele was also present in wild SM in West Africa. CD8+ and CD4+ T cells displayed a gradient of CCR5 expression across genotype groups, which was highly significant for CD8+ cells. Remarkably, the prevalence of natural SIVsmm infection was not significantly different in animals lacking functional CCR5 compared to heterozygous and homozygous wild-type animals. Furthermore, animals lacking functional CCR5 had robust plasma viral loads, which were only modestly lower than wild-type animals. SIVsmm primary isolates infected both homozygous mutant and wild-type PBMC in a CCR5-independent manner in vitro, and Envs from both CCR5-null and wild-type infected animals used CXCR6, GPR15 and GPR1 in addition to CCR5 in transfected cells. These data clearly indicate that SIVsmm relies on CCR5-independent entry pathways in SM that are homozygous for defective CCR5 alleles and, while the extent of alternative coreceptor use in SM with CCR5 wild type alleles is uncertain, strongly suggest that SIVsmm tropism and host cell targeting in vivo is defined by the distribution and use of alternative entry pathways in addition to CCR5. SIVsmm entry through alternative pathways in vivo raises the possibility of novel CCR5-negative target cells that may be more expendable than CCR5+ cells and enable the virus to replicate efficiently without causing disease in the face of extremely restricted CCR5 expression seen in SM and several other natural host species.
Many features of T-cell homeostasis in primates are still unclear, thus limiting our understanding of AIDS pathogenesis, in which T-cell homeostasis is lost. Here, we performed experiments of in vivo CD4(+) or CD8(+) lymphocyte depletion in 2 nonhuman primate species, rhesus macaques (RMs) and sooty mangabeys (SMs). Whereas RMs develop AIDS after infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), SIV-infected SMs are typically AIDS-resistant. We found that, in both species, most CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells in blood and lymph nodes were depleted after treatment with their respective antibodies. These CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocyte depletions were followed by a largely lineage-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell proliferation, involving mainly memory T cells, which correlated with interleukin-7 plasma levels. Interestingly, SMs showed a faster repopulation of naive CD4(+) T cells than RMs. In addition, in both species CD8(+) T-cell repopulation was faster than that of CD4(+) T cells, with CD8(+) T cells reconstituting a normal pool within 60 days and CD4(+) T cells remaining below baseline levels up to day 180 after depletion. While this study revealed subtle differences in CD4(+) T-cell repopulation in an AIDS-sensitive versus an AIDS-resistant species, such differences may have particular relevance in the presence of active SIV repli cation, where CD4(+) T-cell destruction is chronic.
Natural hosts for simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) can be, and are often naturally, infected with species-specific SIVs, but do not develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These natural hosts maintain high SIV viral loads, but avoid immunodeficiency. Elucidating the mechanisms that allow natural hosts to coexist with SIV without overt disease may provide crucial information for understanding AIDS pathogenesis. Over the past few years, several key features of natural SIV infections have been described in studies conducted predominantly in sooty mangabeys (SMs), African green monkeys (AGMs), and mandrills. Natural SIV hosts are able to avoid the chronic, generalized immune system activation that is associated with disease progression in HIV-infected individuals and are known to downmodulate the expression of the receptors for SIV. In this perspective we propose that a critical factor that differentiates nonprogressive from progressive HIV or SIV infection is the maintenance of T cell immune competence in the face of a virus that infects and kills CD4(+) T cells. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the preservation of immune function during and after the acute phase of natural SIV infection may lead to the design of novel preventive and therapeutic interventions for treatment of chronic HIV infection.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of natural-host species, such as sooty mangabeys (SMs), is characterized by a high level of viral replication and a low level of generalized immune activation, despite evidence of an adaptive immune response. Here the ability of SIV-infected SMs to mount neutralizing antibodies (Nab) against autologous virus was compared to that of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C-infected subjects. While high levels of Nab were observed in HIV-1 infection, samples obtained at comparable time points from SM exhibited relatively low titers of autologous Nab. Nevertheless, SM plasma with higher Nab titers also contained elevated peripheral CD4(+) T-cell levels, suggesting a potential immunologic benefit for SMs. These data indicate that AIDS resistance in these primates is not due to high Nab titers and raise the possibility that low levels of Nab might be an inherent feature of natural-host SIV infections.
Natural simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in sooty mangabeys (SMs) typically does not result in AIDS, despite high-level viremia and significant depletion of mucosal CD4(+) T cells. Here, we report the results of the first longitudinal study of a large cohort of SMs naturally infected with SIV (n = 78) housed at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center from which samples were obtained three times over a 5-year period. In this study, we observed (i) no signs of simian AIDS, (ii) stable SIV loads, (iii) a slow but progressive decline in CD4(+) T-cell counts (from a mean of 1,067.0 cells/mm(3) at time point 1 to 764.8 cells/mm(3) at time point 3) and increases in the numbers of animals with CD4(+) T-cell levels below 500 and 200 cells/mm(3) (from 8 to 28 of 78 and from 1 to 4 of 78, respectively), (iv) progressive declines in percentages of naïve CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells (from 37.7 to 24.8% and from 21.0 to 13.0%, respectively), and (v) stably low levels of activated/proliferating T cells as well as CD4(+) CCR5(+) T cells. Since the level of total CD4(+) T cells and the fraction of naïve T cells in SIV-uninfected SMs also declined, it is possible that some of these observations are related to aging, as the SIV-infected animals were significantly older than the uninfected animals. In contrast to the decline in CD4(+) T cell counts in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the decline in CD4(+) T cell counts in SMs naturally infected with SIV over a 5-year period was not predicted by either plasma viremia or levels of T-cell activation. Taken together, these results confirm that natural SIV infection is nonprogressive from a clinical, virological, and immunological point of view and that stable levels of viremia associated with persistently low-level immune activation represent key differences from the natural course of HIV infection in humans.
HIV-1 infection is associated with hematologic abnormalities including defective myelopoiesis. Most studies of myelopoiesis during HIV-1 infection were performed using unfractionated bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells, thus resulting in significant inter-individual variability in the numbers of cultured precursors. Here we evaluated the myelopoietic potential of circulating CD34+ progenitors by conducting a longitudinal analysis of antiretroviral therapy (ART)-induced changes of colony forming units-granulocyte and monocyte (CFU-GM) growth. Twelve HIV-infected individuals were studied longitudinally before and after initiation of ART (i.e. at a time when plasma HIV-RNA levels had become undetectable); thirty-one HIV-uninfected healthy individuals were enrolled as controls. Peripheral blood-derived CD34+ progenitors were purified by immunomagnetic sorting, and cultured in methylcellulose-based medium containing stem cell factor, granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-3. ART-induced changes in the proportion of CD8+ T cells expressing surface HLA-DR were also evaluated. We found that CFU-GM levels were increased in untreated HIV-infected individuals when compared to uninfected controls but declined significantly following ART, in parallel with the decline of HIV-RNA levels in plasma and with the down-regulation of HLA-DR expression on CD8+ T cells. These findings suggest that, in untreated HIV-infected individuals, chronic inflammation and/or immune activation is associated with defective myelopoiesis and accumulation of myeloid precursors. ART-induced suppression of HIV-1 replication is associated with normalization of CFU-GM levels.
While CD8+ T cells are clearly important in controlling virus replication during HIV and SIV infections, the mechanisms underlying this antiviral effect remain poorly understood. In this study, we assessed the in vivo effect of CD8+ lymphocyte depletion on the lifespan of productively infected cells during chronic SIVmac239 infection of rhesus macaques. We treated two groups of animals that were either CD8+ lymphocyte-depleted or controls with antiretroviral therapy, and used mathematical modeling to assess the lifespan of infected cells either in the presence or absence of CD8+ lymphocytes. We found that, in both early (day 57 post-SIV) and late (day 177 post-SIV) chronic SIV infection, depletion of CD8+ lymphocytes did not result in a measurable increase in the lifespan of either short- or long-lived productively infected cells in vivo. This result indicates that the presence of CD8+ lymphocytes does not result in a noticeably shorter lifespan of productively SIV-infected cells, and thus that direct cell killing is unlikely to be the main mechanism underlying the antiviral effect of CD8+ T cells in SIV-infected macaques with high virus replication.
Rhesus macaques are an important animal model for the study of human disease and the development of vaccines against HIV and AIDS. HIV vaccines have been benchmarked in rhesus macaque preclinical challenge studies using chimeric viruses made up of parts of HIV and simian immunodeficiency viruses. However, the lack of efficacy in a recent clinical trial calls for a re-evaluation of the scientific assumptions regarding the predictive value of using data generated from rhesus macaques as a gatekeeper for the advancement of candidate vaccines into the clinic. In this context, there is significant consensus among HIV vaccinologists that next-generation HIV vaccines must generate better immunity in rhesus macaques than clinically unsuccessful vaccines generated using validated assays. Defining better immunity is the core challenge of HIV vaccine development in this system and is the focus of this Review.
Cytokines and chemokines are critical for establishing tissue-specific immune responses and play key roles in modulating disease progression in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected humans. The goal here was to characterize the innate immune response at different tissue sites and to correlate these responses to clinical outcome, initially focusing on rhesus macaques orally inoculated with SIV and monitored until onset of simian AIDS. Cytokine and chemokine mRNA transcripts were assessed at lymph nodes (LN) and peripheral blood cells utilizing quantitative real-time PCR at different time points postinfection. The mRNA expression of four immune modulators-alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS), CXCL9, and CXCL10-was positively associated with disease progression within LN tissue. Elevated cytokine/chemokine expression in LN did not result in any observed beneficial outcome since the numbers of CXCR3(+) cells were not increased, nor were the SIV RNA levels decreased. In peripheral blood, increased OAS and CXCL10 expression were elevated in SIV(+) monkeys that progress the fastest to simian AIDS. Our results indicate that higher IFN-alpha, OAS, CXCL9, and CXCL10 mRNA expression in LN was associated with rapid disease progression and a LN environment that may favor SIV replication. Furthermore, higher expression of CXCL10 and OAS in peripheral blood could potentially serve as a diagnostic marker for hosts that are likely to progress to AIDS. Understanding the expression patterns of key innate immune modulators will be useful in assessing the disease state and potential rates of disease progression in HIV(+) patients, which could lead to novel therapy and vaccine approaches.
The design of an effective AIDS vaccine has eluded the efforts of the scientific community to the point that alternative approaches to classic vaccine formulations have to be considered. We propose here that HIV vaccine research could greatly benefit from the study of natural simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections of African nonhuman primates. Natural SIV hosts (for example, sooty mangabeys, African green monkeys and mandrills) share many features of HIV infection of humans; however, they usually do not develop immunodeficiency. These natural, nonprogressive SIV infections represent an evolutionary adaptation that allows a peaceful coexistence of primate lentiviruses and the host immune system. This adaptation does not result in reduced viral replication but, rather, involves phenotypic changes to CD4(+) T cell subsets, limited immune activation and preserved mucosal immunity, all of which contribute to the avoidance of disease progression and, possibly, to the reduction of vertical SIV transmission. Here we summarize the current understanding of SIV infection of African nonhuman primates and discuss how unraveling these evolutionary adaptations may provide clues for new vaccine designs that might induce effective immune responses without the harmful consequences of excessive immune activation.
The fact that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes a deadly disease in humans whereas its simian counterparts, the simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs), are virtually nonpathogenic in their natural hosts remains a fundamental mystery of modern medicine. Arguably, the pathogenesis of HIV infection will remain poorly understood until the mechanisms responsible for the AIDS resistance of natural SIV hosts are fully explained. Over the past few years, some key features of natural SIV infections have been described in studies conducted predominantly in sooty mangabeys (SMs), African green monkeys (AGMs), and mandrills. Natural SIV hosts are able to avoid the chronic, generalized immune system activation that is associated with disease progression in HIV-infected individuals and have evolved to down-modulate the expression of CCR5 on CD4(+) T cells. Better elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the lack of disease progression of natural SIV infections holds promise for the design of novel preventive and therapeutic approaches to HIV infection.
Impaired erythropoiesis is a key abnormality described in untreated HIV-1 disease. Most of the available data on HIV-associated hematopoietic abnormalities were obtained using unfractionated bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells, thus resulting in significant inter (and intra)-individual variability in the number of cultured precursors. Aim of this study was to assess the erythropoietic capability of purified CD34+ progenitors through a longitudinal analysis of burst-forming units-erythroid (BFU-E) growth before and after antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Our limited understanding of the interaction between primate lentiviruses and the host immune system complicates the design of an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine. To identify immunological correlates of protection from SIV disease progression, we immunized two groups of five rhesus macaques (RMs) with either modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) or MVADeltaudg vectors that expressed SIVmac239 Gag and Tat. Both vectors raised a SIV-specific CD8(+) T cell response, with a magnitude that was greater in mucosal tissues than in peripheral blood. After challenge with SIVmac239, all vaccinated RMs showed mucosal and systemic CD8(+) T cell recall responses that appeared faster and were of greater magnitude than those in five unvaccinated control animals. All vaccinated RMs showed a approximately 1-log lower peak and early set-point SIV viral load than the unvaccinated animals, and then, by 8 wk postchallenge, exhibited levels of viremia similar to the controls. We observed a significant direct correlation between the magnitude of postchallenge SIV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses and SIV viral load. However, vaccinated RMs showed no protection from either systemic or mucosal CD4(+) T cell depletion and no improved survival. The observation that vaccine-induced, SIV-specific CD8(+) T cells that partially control SIVmac239 virus replication fail to protect from immunological or clinical progression of SIV infection underscores both the complexity of AIDS pathogenesis and the challenges of properly assessing the efficacy of candidate AIDS vaccines.
Natural SIV infection of sooty mangabeys (SMs) is nonprogressive despite chronic virus replication. Strikingly, it is characterized by low levels of immune activation, while pathogenic SIV infection of rhesus macaques (RMs) is associated with chronic immune activation. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying this intriguing phenotype, we used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to longitudinally assess host gene expression in SIV-infected SMs and RMs. We found that acute SIV infection of SMs was consistently associated with a robust innate immune response, including widespread upregulation of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) in blood and lymph nodes. While SMs exhibited a rapid resolution of ISG expression and immune activation, both responses were observed chronically in RMs. Systems biology analysis indicated that expression of the lymphocyte inhibitory receptor LAG3, a marker of T cell exhaustion, correlated with immune activation in SIV-infected RMs but not SMs. Our findings suggest that active immune regulatory mechanisms, rather than intrinsically attenuated innate immune responses, underlie the low levels of immune activation characteristic of SMs chronically infected with SIV.
African green monkeys (AGMs) infected with the AGM type of SIV (SIVagm) do not develop chronic immune activation and AIDS, despite viral loads similar to those detected in humans infected with HIV-1 and rhesus macaques (RMs) infected with the RM type of SIV (SIVmac). Because chronic immune activation drives progressive CD4+ T cell depletion and immune cell dysfunctions, factors that characterize disease progression, we sought to understand the molecular basis of this AGM phenotype. To this end, we longitudinally assessed the gene expression profiles of blood- and lymph node-derived CD4+ cells from AGMs and RMs in response to SIVagm and SIVmac infection, respectively, using a genomic microarray platform. The molecular signature of acute infection was characterized, in both species, by strong upregulation of type I IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). ISG expression returned to basal levels after postinfection day 28 in AGMs but was sustained in RMs, especially in the lymph node-derived cells. We also found that SIVagm induced IFN-alpha production by AGM cells in vitro and that low IFN-alpha levels were sufficient to induce strong ISG responses. In conclusion, SIV infection triggered a rapid and strong IFN-alpha response in vivo in both AGMs and RMs, with this response being efficiently controlled only in AGMs, possibly as a result of active regulatory mechanisms.
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