Simian immunodeficiency virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and protection against challenge in rhesus macaques immunized with a live attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus vaccine.
Nixon DF., Donahoe SM., Kakimoto WM., Samuel RV., Metzner KJ., Gettie A., Hanke T., Marx PA., Connor RI.
In this study, we examined the role of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in macaques immunized with an attenuated strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVmac239Deltanef) in protection against pathogenic challenge with SIVmac251. Our results indicate that attenuated SIVmac239Deltanef can elicit specific CTL precursor cells (CTLp), but no correlation was observed between breadth or strength of CTLp response to structural proteins SIV-Env, -Gamg or -Pol (as measured by limiting dilution assay) and protection against infection. In one animal, we longitudinally followed the SIV-Gag-specific response to an MHC class I Mamu-A*01-restricted epitope p11C, C-M using a tetrameric MHC/peptide complex reagent. A low frequency of SIV p11C, C-M peptide-specific tetramer-reactive cells was present at the time of challenge but could be expanded in vitro. Surprisingly, the low level of Mamu-A*01/p11C, C-M-specific CTLs induced through attenuated SIVmac239Deltanef vaccination increased in the absence of detectable SIVmac251 or SIVmac239Deltanef proviral DNA. Overall, our results suggest that protection against infection in this model can be achieved through more than one mechanism, with SIV-specific CTLs being important in controlling SIVmac239Deltanef viral replication postchallenge.