Cellular Immune Responses against Simian T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Target Tax in Infected Baboons.
ABSTRACT: There are currently 5 million to 10 million human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-infected people, and many of them will develop severe complications resulting from this infection. A vaccine is urgently needed in areas where HTLV-1 is endemic. Many vaccines are best tested in nonhuman primate animal models. As a first step in designing an effective HTLV-1 vaccine, we defined the CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell response against simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV-1), a virus closely related to HTLV-1, in olive baboons (Papio anubis). Consistent with persistent antigenic exposure, we observed that STLV-1-specific CD8(+) T cells displayed an effector memory phenotype and usually expressed CD107a, gamma interferon (IFN-?), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?). To assess the viral targets of the cellular immune response in STLV-1-infected animals, we used intracellular cytokine staining to detect responses against overlapping peptides covering the entire STLV-1 proteome. Our results show that, similarly to humans, the baboon CD8(+) T cell response narrowly targeted the Tax protein. Our findings suggest that the STLV-1-infected baboon model may recapitulate some of the important aspects of the human response against HTLV-1 and could be an important tool for the development of immune-based therapy and prophylaxis.HTLV-1 infection can lead to many different and often fatal conditions. A vaccine deployed in areas of high prevalence might reduce the incidence of HTLV-1-induced disease. Unfortunately, there are very few animal models of HTLV-1 infection useful for testing vaccine approaches. Here we describe cellular immune responses in baboons against a closely related virus, STLV-1. We show for the first time that the immune response against STLV-1 in naturally infected baboons is largely directed against the Tax protein. Similar findings in humans and the sequence similarity between the human and baboon viruses suggest that the STLV-1-infected baboon model might be useful for developing a vaccine against HTLV-1.
Project description:Baboons naturally infected with simian T lymphotropic virus (STLV) are a potentially useful model system for the study of vaccination against human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV). Here we expanded the number of available full-length baboon STLV-1 sequences from one to three and related the T cell responses that recognize the immunodominant Tax protein to the tax sequences present in two individual baboons. Continuously growing T cell lines were established from two baboons, animals 12141 and 12752. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of complete STLV genome sequences from these T cell lines revealed them to be closely related but distinct from each other and from the baboon STLV-1 sequence in the NCBI sequence database. Overlapping peptides corresponding to each unique Tax sequence and to the reference baboon Tax sequence were used to analyze recognition by T cells from each baboon using intracellular cytokine staining (ICS). Individual baboons expressed more gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha in response to Tax peptides corresponding to their own STLV-1 sequence than in response to Tax peptides corresponding to the reference baboon STLV-1 sequence. Thus, our analyses revealed distinct but closely related STLV-1 genome sequences in two baboons, extremely low heterogeneity of STLV sequences within each baboon, no evidence for superinfection within each baboon, and a ready ability of T cells in each baboon to recognize circulating Tax sequences. While amino acid substitutions that result in escape from CD8+ T cell recognition were not observed, premature stop codons were observed in 7% and 56% of tax sequences from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from animals 12141 and 12752, respectively.IMPORTANCE It has been estimated that approximately 100,000 people suffer serious morbidity and 10,000 people die each year from the consequences associated with human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV) infection. There are no antiviral drugs and no preventive vaccine. A preventive vaccine would significantly impact the global burden associated with HTLV infections. Here we provide fundamental information on the simian T lymphotropic virus (STLV) naturally transmitted in a colony of captive baboons. The limited viral sequence heterogeneity in individual baboons, the identity of the viral gene product that is the major target of cellular immune responses, the persistence of viral amino acid sequences that are the major targets of cellular immune responses, and the emergence in vivo of truncated variants in the major target of cellular immune responses all parallel what are seen with HTLV infection of humans. These results justify the use of STLV-infected baboons as a model system for vaccine development efforts.
Project description:Searching for clues to the evolution of the primate T-lymphotropic viruses (PTLVs), which include the human and the simian T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLV and STLV), we have identified another PTLV, which differs sufficiently from the known PTLV-I and PTLV-II types to be designated here PTLV-L. The virus was isolated from a wild-born baboon (Papio hamadryas) from Eritrea. In a cDNA library a 1802-bp-long fragment was identified that extends from the env region, including the complete transmembrane protein gene, to part of the tax/rex gene. Homologies at the nucleotide sequence level of PTLV-L, prototype simian T-lymphotropic virus-PH969, with HTLV-I and -II, respectively, were 62% and 64% overall, 65% and 70% in the env region, and 80% and 80% in the partial tax/rex sequence. In the 5' part of the pX region a significant homology was seen only with HTLV-II (52%). Phylogenetic analysis based on the gene encoding the transmembrane protein indicates that PTLV-L represents a PTLV type with a long independent evolution, longer than any strain within the PTLV-I or PTLV-II groups. The finding of another PTLV type in African baboons is further evidence of the wide variety of PTLV found on this continent. Whether PTLV-L resembles PTLV-I and PTLV-II in the extension of its host range to other primates, including humans, remains to be seen.
Project description:Two young female baboons naturally infected with simian T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV1) were euthanized due to chronic respiratory disease that was unresponsive to treatment. Massive lymphocytic infiltration of the lung interstitium suggested a diagnosis of STLV-associated lymphoma. In each case, the diagnosis was confirmed through inverse PCR (IPCR) that detected monoclonally integrated STLV1 provirus in cellular DNA extracted from lymphoma tissue and peripheral blood cells (PBC). One dominant STLV1-infected T-cell clone and 3 minor clones were detected in PBC from each baboon. Using archived PBC DNA and primers within the proviral genome and chromosomal DNA flanking the STLV1 integration sites in PCR analyses, we determined that the dominant clone in one baboon had first appeared approximately 8 mo after infection and had circulated for 4 y before clinical disease developed. ELISA testing of archived serum revealed that both baboons seroconverted to the p19 and p24 gag proteins and the envelope gp46 protein but not to the viral tax protein. Titers to p24 and gp46 rose significantly after infection and remained relatively constant until death, whereas titers to p19 increased with time. Although spontaneous STLV1-associated lymphomas have been described in baboons, the STLV1-associated lymphomas described here occurred in 2 relatively young baboons, both of whom had become infected with STLV at 3 to 4 y of age and developed lymphoma within 5 y of infection.
Project description:A third type of primate T-lymphotropic virus, PTLV-L, with STLV-PH969 as a prototype, has recently been isolated from an African baboon (Papio hamadryas). Classification of this virus has been based on partial sequence analysis of cDNA from a virus-producing cell line, PH969. We obtained the complete nucleotide sequence of this virus with a proviral genome of 8,916 bp. All major genes, homologous in all human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-related viruses, and their corresponding mRNAs, including appropriate splicing, were identified. One additional nonhomologous open reading frame in the proximal pX region is accessible for translation through alternative splicing. Sequence comparison shows that STLV-PH969 is equidistantly related to HTLV type 1 (HTLV-1) and HTLV-2. In all coding regions, the similarity tends to be the lowest between STLV-PH969 and HTLV-1. However, in the long terminal repeat (LTR) region, the lowest similarity was found between STLV-PH969 and HTLV-2. The U3-R and R-U5 boundaries of the STLV-PH969 LTR were experimentally determined at nucleotides 268 and 524, respectively. This 695-bp LTR is 60 and 73 bp shorter than the LTRs of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, respectively, but its general organization is similar to the one found in the HTLV-bovine leukemia virus genus. In the long region between the polyadenylation signal and the poly(A) site, sequence similarity with the HTLV-1 Rex-responsive element (RexRE) core and secondary structure prediction suggest the presence of a RexRE. The presence of three 21-bp repeats is conserved within the U3 region of HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and BLV. Only two direct repeats with similarity to these Tax-responsive elements were found in the STLV-PH969 LTR, which might suggest differences in the Tax-mediated transactivation of this virus. We conclude that STLV-PH969 has all the genes and genomic regions to suggest a replication cycle comparable to that of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2.
Project description:A serological survey of a captive colony of Asian monkeys indicated that six Macaca arctoides had antibodies to human T-cell leukemia/lymphotropic viruses (HTLV). Over a 4-year interval, sera from these animals continued to exhibit a peculiar Western blot (WB) pattern resembling an HTLV-2 pattern (p24gag reactivity of equal or greater intensity than that of p19gag and a strong reactivity to recombinant gp21) but also exhibiting, in five of six cases, a reactivity against MTA-1, an HTLV-1 gp46 peptide. PCR experiments on DNA extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells using HTLV-1- or HTLV-2-specific long terminal repeat, gag, pol, env, and tax primers yielded negative results. However, highly conserved primers successfully amplified three different gene segments of env, tax, and env-tax. The results of comparative sequence analysis demonstrated that STLV-1marc1 was not closely related to any known STLV-1 strain, was the most divergent strain of the HTLV-1-STLV-1 group, and lacked the ATG initiation codons corresponding to the p12 and p13 proteins of HTLV-1. Phylogenetic analyses incorporating representative strains of all known HTLV-STLV clades consistently depicted STLV-1marc1 within the HTLV-1-STLV-1 type 1 lineage, but it probably diverged early, since its position is clearly different from all known viral strains of this group and it had a bootstrap resampling value of 100%. Genetic distance estimates between STLV-1marc1 and all other type 1 viruses were of the same order of magnitude as those between STLV-2PanP and all other type 2 viruses. In light of the recent demonstration of interspecies transmission of some STLV-1 strains, our results suggest the existence in Asia of HTLV-1 strains related to this new divergent STLV-1marc1 strain, which may be derived from a common ancestor early in the evolution of the type 1 viruses and could be therefore considered a prototype of a new HTLV-STLV clade.
Project description:Four types of human T cell lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) have been described (HTLV-1 to HTLV-4) with three of them having closely related simian virus analogues named STLV-1, -2, and -3. To assess the risk of cross-species transmissions of STLVs from nonhuman primates to humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a total of 330 samples, derived from primate bushmeat, were collected at remote forest sites where people rely on bushmeat for subsistence. STLV prevalences and genetic diversity were estimated by PCR and sequence analysis of tax-rex and LTR fragments. Overall, 7.9% of nonhuman primate bushmeat is infected with STLVs. We documented new STLV-1 and STLV-3 variants in six out of the seven species tested and showed for the first time STLV infection in C. mona wolfi, C. ascanius whitesidei, L. aterrimus aterrimus, C. angolensis, and P. tholloni. Our results provide increasing evidence that the diversity and geographic distribution of PTLVs are much greater than previously thought.
Project description:Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and HTLV-2 encode auxiliary proteins that play important roles in viral replication, viral latency, and immune escape. The presence of auxiliary protein-encoding open reading frames (ORFs) in HTLV-3, the latest HTLV to be discovered, is unknown. Simian T-cell lymphotropic virus type 3 (STLV-3) is almost identical to HTLV-3. Given the lack of HTLV-3-infected cell lines, we took advantage of STLV-3-infected cells and of an STLV-3 molecular clone to search for the presence of auxiliary transcripts. Using reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), we first uncovered the presence of three unknown viral mRNAs encoding putative proteins of 5, 8, and 9 kDa and confirmed the presence of the previously reported RorfII transcript. The existence of these viral mRNAs was confirmed by using splice site-specific RT-PCR with ex vivo samples. We showed that p5 is distributed throughout the cell and does not colocalize with a specific organelle. The p9 localization is similar to that of HTLV-1 p12 and induced a strong decrease in the calreticulin signal, similarly to HTLV-1 p12. Although p8, RorfII, and Rex-3 share an N-terminal sequence that is predicted to contain a nucleolar localization signal (NoLS), only p8 is found in the nucleolus. The p8 location in the nucleolus is linked to a bipartite NoLS. p8 and, to a lesser extent, p9 repressed viral expression but did not alter Rex-3-dependent mRNA export. Using a transformation assay, we finally showed that none of the STLV-3 auxiliary proteins had the ability to induce colony formation, while both Tax-3 and antisense protein of HTLV-3 (APH-3) promoted cellular transformation. Altogether, these results complete the characterization of the newly described primate T-lymphotropic virus type 3 (PTLV-3).Together with their simian counterparts, HTLVs form the primate T-lymphotropic viruses. HTLVs arose from interspecies transmission between nonhuman primates and humans. HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 encode auxiliary proteins that play important roles in viral replication, viral latency, and immune escape. The presence of ORFs encoding auxiliary proteins in HTLV-3 or STLV-3 genomes was unknown. Using in silico analyses, ex vivo samples, or in vitro experiments, we have uncovered the presence of 3 previously unknown viral mRNAs encoding putative proteins and confirmed the presence of a previously reported viral transcript. We characterized the intracellular localization of the four proteins. We showed that two of these proteins repress viral expression but that none of them have the ability to induce colony formation. However, both Tax and the antisense protein APH-3 promote cell transformation. Our results allowed us to characterize 4 new retroviral proteins for the first time.
Project description:The proviral DNA of the simian T-leukemia/lymphotropic virus (STLV) isolate, originally obtained from a captive colony of pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus) (STLV(pan-p)), was cloned from the DNA of the chronically infected human T-cell line L93-79B. The entire proviral DNA sequence was obtained and compared with sequences of the known genotypes of STLV and human T-leukemia/lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and -2). Phylogenetic analysis indicates that STLV-2(pan-p) is an early divergence within the type 2 lineage and should be referred to as STLV-2(pan-p). Since STLV-2(pan-p) has been found in African nonhuman primates, we investigated its infectiousness and pathogenicity in Asian monkeys. Pigtailed macaques were inoculated with human cells harboring STLV(pan-p), and infection was assessed by virus isolation, PCR analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and seroconversion against viral antigens in HTLV-1/HTLV-2 and Western blot assay. Pigtailed macaques became persistently infected by STLV-2(pan-p), and the virus could be transferred by blood transfusion from an infected pigtailed macaque to a rhesus macaque. In addition, like HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, STLV-2(pan-p) was infectious in rabbits. In summary, STLV-2(pan-p) is a novel retrovirus distantly related to HTLV-2 and displays a host range similar to that demonstrated for other HTLV and STLV strains.
Project description:Human T-cell Leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 2 (HTLV-2) are pathogenic retroviruses that infect humans and cause severe hematological and neurological diseases. Both viruses have simian counterparts (STLV-1 and STLV-2). STLV-3 belongs to a third group of lymphotropic viruses which infect numerous African monkeys species. Among 240 Cameroonian plasma tested for the presence of HTLV-1 and/or HTLV-2 antibodies, 48 scored positive by immunofluorescence. Among those, 27 had indeterminate western-blot pattern. PCR amplification of pol and tax regions, using HTLV-1, -2 and STLV-3 highly conserved primers, demonstrated the presence of a new human retrovirus in one DNA sample. tax (180 bp) and pol (318 bp) phylogenetic analyses demonstrated the strong relationships between the novel human strain (Pyl43) and STLV-3 isolates from Cameroon. The virus, that we tentatively named HTLV-3, originated from a 62 years old Bakola Pygmy living in a remote settlement in the rain forest of Southern Cameroon. The plasma was reactive on MT2 cells but was negative on C19 cells. The HTLV 2.4 western-blot exhibited a strong reactivity to p19 and a faint one to MTA-1. On the INNO-LIA strip, it reacted faintly with the generic p19 (I/II), but strongly to the generic gp46 (I/II) and to the specific HTLV-2 gp46. The molecular relationships between Pyl43 and STLV-3 are thus not paralleled by the serological results, as most of the STLV-3 infected monkeys have an "HTLV-2 like" WB pattern. In the context of the multiple interspecies transmissions which occurred in the past, and led to the present-day distribution of the PTLV-1, it is thus very tempting to speculate that this newly discovered human retrovirus HTLV-3 might be widespread, at least in the African continent.
Project description:Among 65 samples obtained from a primate rescue center located in Cameroon, two female adult red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus) (CTO-602 and CTO-604), of wild-caught origin, had a peculiar human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2)-like Western blot seroreactivity (p24, RGD21, +/-K55). Analyses of the simian T-cell lymphotropic virus type 3 (STLV-3)/CTO-604 complete proviral sequence (8,919 bp) indicated that this novel strain was highly divergent from HTLV-1 (60% nucleotide similarity), HTLV-2 (62%), or STLV-2 (62%) prototypes. It was, however, related to STLV-3/PH-969 (87%), a divergent STLV strain previously isolated from an Eritrean baboon. The STLV-3/CTO-604 sequence possesses the major open reading frames corresponding to the structural, enzymatic, and regulatory proteins. However, its long terminal repeat is shorter, with only two 21-bp repeats. Furthermore, as demonstrated by reverse transcriptase PCR, this new STLV exhibits significant differences from STLV-3/PH-969 at the mRNA splice junction position level. In all phylogenetic analyses, STLV-3/CTO-604 and STLV-3/PH-969 clustered in a highly supported single clade, indicating an evolutionary lineage independent from primate T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (PTLV-1) and PTLV-2. Nevertheless, the nucleotide divergence between STLV-3/PH-969 and STLV-3/CTO-604 is equivalent to or higher than the divergence observed between the different HTLV-1 or HTLV-2 subtypes. Thus, the STLV-3/CTO-604 strain can be considered the prototype of a second subtype in the PTLV-3 type. The presence of two related viruses in evolutionarily distantly related African monkeys species, living in two opposite ecosystems (rain forest versus desert), reinforces the possible African origin of PTLV and opens new avenues regarding the search for a possible human counterpart of these viruses in individuals exhibiting such HTLV-2-like seroreactivities.