CD8+ T cells inhibit virus replication in SIV-infected rhesus macaques. However, it is unclear to what extent the viral suppression mediated by CD8+ T cells reflects direct killing of infected cells as opposed to indirect, noncytolytic mechanisms. In this study, we used functional genomics to investigate noncytolytic mechanisms of in vivo viral suppression mediated by CD8+ lymphocytes. Eight chronically SIVmac239-infected rhesus macaques underwent CD8+ lymphocyte depletion, and RNA from whole blood was obtained prior to depletion, during the nadir of CD8+ cell depletion, and after CD8+ lymphocyte numbers had rebounded. We observed significant downregulation of the expression of genes encoding factors that can suppress SIV replication, including the CCR5-binding chemokine CCL5/RANTES and CCL4 and several members of the tripartite motif-containing (TRIM) family. Surprisingly, we also noted a strong, widespread downregulation of α-and θ-defensins with anti-HIV activity, which are not expressed by CD8+ T cells. After cessation of depleting antibody treatment, we observed induction of a transcriptional signature indicative of B lymphocyte activation. Validation experiments demonstrated that animals during this period had elevated levels of B cells coupled with higher expression of the proliferative marker Ki67, indicating that CD8+ depletion triggered a potent expansion of B cell numbers. Collectively, these data identify antiviral pathways perturbed by in vivo CD8+ T cell depletion that may contribute to noncytolytic control of SIV replication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science