Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses from Multiple Lineages Infect Human Macrophages: Implications for Cross-Species Transmission

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Summary:Zoonotic transfer of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys to humans has been documented on at least seven occasions. Several recently identified SIV isolates have also been shown to replicate efficiently in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in vitro, indicative of the potential for additional cross-species transmission via T cell infection. Although SIV predominantly uses the macrophage-tropic HIV chemokine coreceptor CCR5, little is known about the ability of SIV to infect human macrophages. In this study, 16 SIV isolates belonging to five different primate lentivirus lineages were tested for their ability to infect human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). Twelve of the viruses were capable of infecting MDMs, and 11 of these were also able to replicate in human PBMCs. The replication capacity of the isolates differed within and between the various families and was dependent on particular donor macrophages. Our results suggest that most simian lentiviruses characterized to date not only have the ability to infect primary human T lymphocytes but also replicate efficiently in macrophages, thereby increasing the potential for cross-species transmission into the human population. Comparative studies using these isolates may facilitate the identification of characteristics that contribute to virus infectivity and pathogenicity.

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