SIVcpz closely related to the ancestral HIV-1 is less or non-pathogenic to humans in a hu-BLT mouse model article

Zhe Yuan, Guobin Kang, Lance Daharsh, Wenjin Fan, Qingsheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The HIV-1 pandemic is a consequence of the cross-species transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus in wild chimpanzees (SIVcpz) to humans. Our previous study demonstrated SIVcpz strains that are closely related to the ancestral viruses of HIV-1 groups M (SIVcpzMB897) and N (SIVcpzEK505) and two SIVcpz lineages that are not associated with any known HIV-1 infections in humans (SIVcpzMT145 and SIVcpzBF1167), all can readily infect and robustly replicate in the humanized-BLT mouse model of humans. However, the comparative pathogenicity of different SIVcpz strains remains unknown. Herein, we compared the pathogenicity of the above four SIVcpz strains with HIV-1 using humanized-BLT mice. Unexpectedly, we found that all four SIVcpz strains were significantly less pathogenic or non-pathogenic compared to HIV-1, manifesting lower degrees of CD4+ T-cell depletion and immune activation. Transcriptome analyses of CD4+ T cells from hu-BLT mice infected with SIVcpz versus HIV-1 revealed enhanced expression of genes related to cell survival and reduced inflammation/immune activation in SIVcpz-infected mice. Together, our study results demonstrate for the first time that SIVcpz is significantly less or non-pathogenic to human immune cells compared to HIV-1. Our findings lay the groundwork for a possible new understanding of the evolutionary origins of HIV-1, where the initial SIVcpz cross-species transmission virus may be initially less pathogenic to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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