Date of this Version
Tso FY, Abrahamyan L, Hu S-L, Ruprecht RM, Wood C (2013) Variations in the Biological Functions of HIV-1 Clade C Envelope in a SHIV-Infected Rhesus Macaque during Disease Progression. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66973. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066973
A better understanding of how the biological functions of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) changes during disease progression may aid the design of an efficacious anti-HIV-1 vaccine. Although studies from patient had provided some insights on this issue, the differences in the study cohorts and methodology had make it difficult to reach a consensus of the variations in the HIV-1 Env functions during disease progression. To this end, an animal model that can be infected under controlled environment and reflect the disease course of HIV-1 infection in human will be beneficial. Such an animal model was previously demonstrated by the infection of macaque with SHIV, expressing HIV-1 clade C Env V1-V5 region. By using this model, we examined the changes in biological functions of Env in the infected animal over the entire disease course. Our data showed an increase in the neutralization resistance phenotype over time and coincided with the decrease in the net charges of the V1-V5 region. Infection of PBMC with provirus expressing various Env clones, isolated from the infected animal over time, showed a surprisingly better replicative fitness for viruses expressing the Env from early time point. Biotinylation and ELISA data also indicated a decrease of cell-surface-associated Env and virion-associated gp120 content with disease progression. This decrease did not affect the CD4-binding capability of Env, but were positively correlated with the decrease of Env fusion ability. Interestingly, some of these changes in biological functions reverted to the pre-AIDS level during advance AIDS. These data suggested a dynamic relationship between the Env V1-V5 region with the host immune pressure. The observed changes of biological functions in this setting might reflect and predict those occurring during natural disease progression in human.