Cellular immune responses against simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1 target Tax in infected baboons

Iris Castro, Teresa M. Giret, Diogo M. Magnani, Helen S. Maxwell, Oliver Umland, Jessica K. Perry, Jerilyn K. Pecotte, Kathleen M. Brasky, Glen N. Barber, Ronald C. Desrosiers, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There are currently 5 million to 10 million human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-infected people, and many of them will develop severe complications resulting from this infection. A vaccine is urgently needed in areas where HTLV-1 is endemic. Many vaccines are best tested in nonhuman primate animal models. As a first step in designing an effective HTLV-1 vaccine, we defined the CD8+ and CD4+ T cell response against simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV-1), a virus closely related to HTLV-1, in olive baboons (Papio anubis). Consistent with persistent antigenic exposure, we observed that STLV-1-specific CD8+ T cells displayed an effector memory phenotype and usually expressed CD107a, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). To assess the viral targets of the cellular immune response in STLV-1-infected animals, we used intracellular cytokine staining to detect responses against overlapping peptides covering the entire STLV-1 proteome. Our results show that, similarly to humans, the baboon CD8+ T cell response narrowly targeted the Tax protein. Our findings suggest that the STLV-1-infected baboon model may recapitulate some of the important aspects of the human response against HTLV-1 and could be an important tool for the development of immune-based therapy and prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5280-5291
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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