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PLoS Biology
TRIM5 Suppresses Cross-Species Transmission of a Primate Immunodeficiency Virus and Selects for Emergence of Resistant Variants in the New Species
<p>Andrea Kirmaier<sup>1,2</sup>, Fan Wu<sup>3</sup>, Ruchi M. Newman<sup>4</sup>, Laura R. Hall<sup>1</sup>, Jennifer S. Morgan<sup>1</sup>, Shelby O'Connor<sup>5</sup>, Preston A. Marx<sup>6</sup>, Mareike Meythaler<sup>2,7</sup>, Simoy Goldstein<sup>3</sup>, Alicia Buckler-White<sup>3</sup>, Amitinder Kaur<sup>7</sup>, Vanessa M. Hirsch<sup>3</sup>, Welkin E. Johnson<sup>1*</sup></p>
August 24, 2010

Simian immunodeficiency viruses of sooty mangabeys (SIVsm) are the source of multiple, successful cross-species transmissions, having given rise to HIV-2 in humans, SIVmac in rhesus macaques, and SIVstm in stump-tailed macaques. Cellular assays and phylogenetic comparisons indirectly support a role for TRIM5α, the product of the TRIM5 gene, in suppressing interspecies transmission and emergence of retroviruses in nature. Here, we investigate the in vivo role of TRIM5 directly, focusing on transmission of primate immunodeficiency viruses between outbred primate hosts. Specifically, we retrospectively analyzed experimental cross-species transmission of SIVsm in two cohorts of rhesus macaques and found a significant effect of TRIM5 genotype on viral replication levels. The effect was especially pronounced in a cohort of animals infected with SIVsmE543-3, where TRIM5 genotype correlated with approximately 100-fold to 1,000-fold differences in viral replication levels. Surprisingly, transmission occurred even in individuals bearing restrictive TRIM5 genotypes, resulting in attenuation of replication rather than an outright block to infection. In cell-culture assays, the same TRIM5 alleles associated with viral suppression in vivo blocked infectivity of two SIVsm strains, but not the macaque-adapted strain SIVmac239. Adaptations appeared in the viral capsid in animals with restrictive TRIM5 genotypes, and similar adaptations coincide with emergence of SIVmac in captive macaques in the 1970s. Thus, host TRIM5 can suppress viral replication in vivo, exerting selective pressure during the initial stages of cross-species transmission.

Author Summary Top

The human immunodeficiency viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2 originated from cross-species transmission of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) from chimpanzees (SIVcpz) and sooty mangabeys (SIVsm), respectively. A related virus, SIVmac, causes AIDS-like pathogenesis in rhesus macaques; like HIV-2, SIVmac is the product of a cross-species jump of SIVsm from sooty mangabeys. The primate TRIM5 gene encodes a factor with potent antiviral activity when tested in the laboratory, and TRIM5 proteins are thought to play a role in restricting the movement of viruses between species in nature. In this study, we show that genetic variation in the TRIM5 gene of rhesus macaques heavily influences the outcome of cross-species transmission of SIVsm and that emergence of SIVmac in rhesus macaques in the 1970s required adaptations to circumvent the genetic barrier imposed by the rhesus macaque TRIM5 gene. Our results confirm the hypothesis that TRIM5 can influence the process of cross-species transmission and emergence of viruses related to HIV-1 and HIV-2 and serve as a striking illustration of how host genes can influence virus evolution.

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