We engineered recombinant derivatives of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) to express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). Replacement of vpr sequences with EGFP resulted in a genome that did not produce detectable levels of replication-competent virus. Replication-competent virus and bright fluorescence of infected cells were obtained with two other constructs, one in which SIV nef sequences were replaced by EGFP and another in which EGFP was inserted into the SIV nef locus and HIV-1 nef sequences were expressed by downstream placement of an internal ribosomal entry site. These strains were infectious in rhesus monkeys and green fluorescing cells were detected in the tissues of infected monkeys by FACS analysis and by direct microscopic visualization. EGFP sequences were absent from recovered virus by 8 weeks following infection. We conclude that recombinant SIV that is engineered to express EGFP can be used to directly detect productively infected cells and aid in the immunophenotypic characterization of these cells within the first 2 weeks of infection of rhesus monkeys.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases