Infection of baboons with a simian immunodeficiency virus/HIV-1 chimeric virus constructed with an HIV-1 Thai subtype E envelope

Julie M. Klinger, Sunee Himathongkham, Harold Legg, Paul A Luciw, Susan W. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To construct an infectious chimeric simian immunodeficiency virus/HIV-1 (SHIV) with the envelope of a Thai subtype E HIV-1 strain for use in a non-human primate model. Methods: A novel SHIV genome was derived using the sequences of the ectodomain of the envelope gene from the Thai subtype E strain, HIV-19466. This SHIV (SHIV9466.33) was recovered by cocultivation from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after transfection of human rhabdosarcoma cells. Rhesus macaque and baboon PBMC were screened in vitro for susceptibility to infection with SHIV9466.33. After successful infection of baboon PBMC, four animals were inoculated intravenously with SHIV9466.33 and monitored for plasma viral RNA, virus isolation from the PBMC, seroconversion, T-cell subsets, and signs of disease. Results: SHIV9466.33 was able to infect PBMC from 12 out of 14 baboons. All four of the baboons selected for in vivo inoculation became infected. Peak plasma viral RNA levels of 8000 to 700,000 RNA copies/ml were measured at 2 weeks post-inoculation. Virus was isolated from the PBMC of all four baboons during acute infection, and all seroconverted. Although transient declines in CD4+ T-cells were observed during early infection, CD4+ levels remained within normal ranges thereafter. In contrast, in vitro cultures of PBMC of four rhesus macaques were not susceptible to infection with SHIV9466.33. Conclusion: SHIV9466.33 containing an HIV-1 subtype E envelope displayed tropism for baboon PBMC but not for rhesus macaque PBMC. This chimeric virus established infection and induced antiviral antibodies in baboons inoculated by the intravenous route with cell-free virus. Thus, infection of baboons with SHIV9466.33 will serve as an important animal model for future studies of HIV-1 vaccine efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-857
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 28 1998


  • Animal models
  • HIV-1
  • Primate
  • SHIV
  • Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/HIV-1 chimera
  • SIV
  • Thai
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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