Induction of virus-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses is a promising strategy for AIDS vaccine development. However, it has remained unclear if or how long-term viral containment and disease control are attainable by CTL-based nonsterile protection. Here, we present three rhesus macaques that successfully maintained Env-independent vaccine-based control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) mac239 replication without disease progression for more than 3 years. SIV-specific neutralizing antibody induction was inefficient in these controllers. Vaccine-induced Gag-specific CTLs were crucial for the chronic as well as the primary viral control in one of them, whereas those Gag-specific CTL responses became undetectable and CTLs specific for SIV antigens other than Gag, instead, became predominant in the chronic phase in the other two controllers. A transient CD8+ cell depletion experiment 3 years postinfection resulted in transient reappearance of plasma viremia in these two animals, suggesting involvement of the SIV non-Gag-specific CTLs in the chronic SIV control. This sustained, neutralizing antibody-independent viral control was accompanied with preservation of central memory CD4+ T cells in the chronic phase. Our results suggest that prophylactic CTL vaccine-based nonsterile protection can result in long-term viral containment by adapted CTL responses for AIDS prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science