Induction of AIDS in rhesus monkeys by a recombinant simian immunodeficiency virus expressing nef of human immunodeficiency virus type 1

Louis Alexander, Zhenjian Du, Anita Y.M. Howe, Susan Czajak, Ronald C. Desrosiers

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A nef gene is present in all primate lentiviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus of macaque monkeys (SIVmac). However, the nef genes of HIV-1 and SIVmac exhibit minimal sequence identity, and not all properties are shared by the two. Nef sequences of SIVmac239 were replaced by four independent nef alleles of HIV- 1 in a context that was optimal for expression. The sources of the HIV-1 nef sequences included NL 4-3, a variant NL 4-3 gene derived from a recombinant- infected rhesus monkey, a patient nef allele, and a nef consensus sequence. Of 16 rhesus monkeys infected with these SHIVnef chimeras, 9 maintained high viral loads for prolonged periods, as observed with the parental SIVmac239, and 6 have died with AIDS 52 to 110 weeks postinfection. Persistent high loads were observed at similar frequencies with the four different SIV recombinants that expressed these independent HIV-1 nef alleles. Infection with other recombinant SHIVnef constructions resulted in sequence changes in infected monkeys that either created an open nef reading frame or optimized the HIV-1 nef translational context. The HIV-1 nef gene was uniformly retained in all SHIVnef-infected monkeys. These results demonstrate that HIV- 1 nef can substitute for SIVmac nef in vivo to produce a pathogenic infection. However, the model suffers from an inability to consistently obtain persisting high viral loads in 100% of the infected animals, as is observed with the parental SIVmac239.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5814-5825
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 23 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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