J Victor Garcia

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (55)330.3 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Elite Controllers or Suppressors (ES) are HIV-1 infected patients who maintain undetectable viral loads without antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism of control remains unclear, but the HLA-B*57 allele is overrepresented in cohorts of these patients. However, many HLA-B*57 patients develop progressive disease and some studies have suggested that infection with defective viruses may be the cause of the lack of high levels of virus replication and disease progression in ES. We therefore performed a comprehensive comparative in vivo and in vitro characterization of viruses isolated from well-defined ES. For this purpose, we first performed full genome sequence analysis and fitness in vitro assays on replication-competent isolates from HLA-B*57 ES and HLA-B*57 chronic progressors (CPs). Under our experimental conditions we found that isolates from ES and CPs can replicate in vitro. However, since inherently these assays involve the use of unnaturally in vitro activated cells we also investigated the replication competence and pathogenic potential of these HIV isolates in vivo using humanized BLT mice. The results from these analyses demonstrate that virus isolates from ES are fully replication competent in vivo and can induce peripheral and systemic CD4 T cell depletion. These results provide the first direct in vivo evidence that viral fitness does not likely determine clinical outcome in HLA-B*57 patients and that elite suppressors can control replication-competent, fully pathogenic viruses. A better understanding of the immunological bases of viral suppression in ES will serve to inform novel approaches to preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccine design.
    Journal of Virology 01/2014; · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Angela Wahl, J. Victor Garcia
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    ABSTRACT: The gastrointestinal (GI) track represents an important battlefield where pathogens first try to gain entry into a host. It is also a universe where highly diverse and ever changing inhabitants co-exist in an exceptional equilibrium without parallel in any other organ system of the body. The gut as an organ has its own well-developed and fully functional immune organization that is similar and yet different in many important ways to the rest of the immune system. Both a compromised and an overactive immune system in the gut can have dire and severe consequences to human health. It has therefore been of great interest to develop animal models that recapitulate the key aspects of the human condition to better understand the interplay of the host immune system with its friends and its foes. However, reconstitution of the GI tract in humanized mice has been difficult and highly variable in different systems. A better molecular understanding of the development of the gut immune system in mice has provided critical cues that have been recently used to develop novel humanized mouse models that fully recapitulate the genesis and key functions of the gut immune system of humans. Of particular interest is the presence of human gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) aggregates in the gut of NOD/SCID BLT humanized mice that demonstrate the faithful development of bona fide human plasma cells capable of migrating to the lamina propria and producing human IgA1 and IgA2.
    Journal of Immunological Methods. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce HIV levels in plasma to undetectable levels, but rather little is known about the effects of ART outside of the peripheral blood regarding persistent virus production in tissue reservoirs. Understanding the dynamics of ART-induced reductions in viral RNA (vRNA) levels throughout the body is important for the development of strategies to eradicate infectious HIV from patients. Essential to a successful eradication therapy is a component capable of killing persisting HIV infected cells during ART. Therefore, we determined the in vivo efficacy of a targeted cytotoxic therapy to kill infected cells that persist despite long-term ART. For this purpose, we first characterized the impact of ART on HIV RNA levels in multiple organs of bone marrow-liver-thymus (BLT) humanized mice and found that antiretroviral drug penetration and activity was sufficient to reduce, but not eliminate, HIV production in each tissue tested. For targeted cytotoxic killing of these persistent vRNA(+) cells, we treated BLT mice undergoing ART with an HIV-specific immunotoxin. We found that compared to ART alone, this agent profoundly depleted productively infected cells systemically. These results offer proof-of-concept that targeted cytotoxic therapies can be effective components of HIV eradication strategies.
    PLoS Pathogens 01/2014; 10(1):e1003872. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A nef gene is present in all primate lentiviral genomes and is important for high viral loads and progression to AIDS in human or experimental macaque hosts of HIV or SIV, respectively. In these hosts, infection of the thymus results in a decreased output of naive T cells that may contribute to the development of immunodeficiency. We have previously shown that HIV-1 subtype B Nef proteins can block human T-cell development. However, the underlying mechanism(s) and the conservation of this Nef function between different groups of HIV and SIV remained to be determined. We investigated whether reduction of thymic output is a conserved function of highly divergent lentiviral Nef proteins including those from both types of human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2), their direct simian counterparts (SIVcpz, SIVgor and SIVsmm, respectively), and some additional SIV strains. We found that expression of most of these nef alleles in thymocyte progenitors impaired T-cell development and reduced thymic output. For HIV-1 Nef, binding to active p21 protein (Cdc42/Rac)-activated kinase (PAK2) was a major determinant of this function. In contrast, selective disruption of PAK2 binding did not eliminate the effect on T-cell development of SIVmac239 Nef, as was shown by expressing mutants in a newly discovered PAK2 activating structural motif (PASM) constituted by residues I117, H121, T218 and Y221, as well as previously described mutants. Rather, down-modulation of cell surface CD3 was sufficient for reduced thymic output by SIVmac Nef, while other functions of SIV Nefs contributed. Our results indicate that primate lentiviral Nef proteins impair development of thymocyte precursors into T cells in multiple ways. The interaction of HIV-1 Nef with active PAK2 by HIV-1 seem to be most detrimental, and downregulation of CD3 by HIV-2 and most SIV Nef proteins sufficient for reduced thymic output. Since the reduction of thymic output by Nef is a conserved property of divergent lentiviruses, it is likely to be relevant for peripheral T-cell depletion in poorly adapted primate lentiviral infections.
    Retrovirology 11/2013; 10(1):137. · 5.66 Impact Factor
  • J Victor Garcia
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    ABSTRACT: What started as a game of discovery for a child with a chemistry set has resulted in a lifetime of fulfillment and dedication to science. It is deeply rewarding to continuously let my curiosity ask questions for which there are no known answers. Equally rewarding has been the opportunity to mentor young students and postdoctorate graduates through their formative years in science.
    Molecular biology of the cell 11/2013; 24(21):3275-7. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The HIV-1 accessory protein, Nef, is decisive for progression to AIDS. In vitro characterization of the protein has described many Nef activities of unknown in vivo significance including CD4 downregulation and a number of activities that depend on Nef interacting with host SH3 domain proteins. Here, we use the BLT humanized mouse model of HIV-1 infection to assess their impact on viral replication and pathogenesis and the selection pressure to restore these activities using enforced in vivo evolution. We followed the evolution of HIV-1LAI (LAI) with a frame-shifted nef (LAINeffs) during infection of BLT mice. LAINeffs was rapidly replaced in blood by virus with short deletions in nef that restored the open reading frame (LAINeffs[increment]-1 and LAINeffs[increment]-13). Subsequently, LAINeffs[increment]-1 was often replaced by wild type LAI. Unexpectedly, LAINeffs[increment]-1 and LAINeffs[increment]-13 Nefs were specifically defective for CD4 downregulation activity. Viruses with these mutant nefs were used to infect BLT mice. LAINeffs[increment]-1 and LAINeffs[increment]-13 exhibited three-fold reduced viral replication (compared to LAI) and a 50% reduction of systemic CD4+ T cells (>90% for LAI) demonstrating the importance of CD4 downregulation. These results also demonstrate that functions other than CD4 downregulation enhanced viral replication and pathogenesis of LAINeffs[increment]-1 and LAINeffs[increment]-13 compared to LAINeffs. To gain insight into the nature of these activities, we constructed the double mutant P72A/P75A. Multiple Nef activities can be negated by mutating the SH3 domain binding site (P72Q73V74P75L76R77) to P72A/P75A and this mutation does not affect CD4 downregulation. Virus with nef mutated to P72A/P75A closely resembled the wild-type virus in vivo as viral replication and pathogenesis was not significantly altered. Unlike LAINeffs described above, the P72A/P75A mutation had a very weak tendency to revert to wild type sequence. The in vivo phenotype of Nef is significantly dependent on CD4 downregulation but minimally on the numerous Nef activities that require an intact SH3 domain binding motif. These results suggest that CD4 downregulation plus one or more unknown Nef activities contribute to enhanced viral replication and pathogenesis and are suitable targets for anti-HIV therapy. Enforced evolution studies in BLT mice will greatly facilitate identification of these critical activities.
    Retrovirology 10/2013; 10(1):125. · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The major targets of HIV infection in humans are CD4+ T cells. CD4+ T cell depletion is a hallmark of AIDS. Previously, the SCID-hu thy/liv model was used to study the effect of HIV on thymopoeisis in vivo. However, these mice did not develop high levels of peripheral T cell reconstitution and required invasive surgery for infection and analysis. Here, we describe a novel variant of this model in which thy/liv implantation results in systemic reconstitution with human T cells in the absence of any other human hematopoietic lineages. NOD/SCID-hu thy/liv and NSG-hu thy/liv mice were created by implanting human fetal thymus and liver tissues under the kidney capsule of either NOD/SCID or NSG mice. In contrast to NOD/SCID-hu thy/liv mice that show little or no human cells in peripheral blood or tissues, substantial systemic human reconstitution occurs in NSG-hu thy/liv. These mice are exclusively reconstituted with human T cells (i.e. T-cell only mice or TOM). Despite substantial levels of human T cells no signs of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) were noted in these mice over a period of 14 months. TOMs are readily infected after parenteral exposure to HIV-1. HIV replication is sustained in peripheral blood at high levels and results in modest reduction of CD4+ T cells. HIV-1 replication in TOM responds to daily administration of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) resulting in strong suppression of virus replication as determined by undetectable viral load in plasma. Latently HIV infected resting CD4+ T cells can be isolated from suppressed mice that can be induced to express HIV ex-vivo upon activation demonstrating the establishment of latency in vivo. NSG-hu thy/liv mice are systemically reconstituted with human T cells. No other lymphoid lineages are present in these mice (i.e. monocytes/macrophages, B cells and DC are all absent). These T cell only mice do not develop GVHD, are susceptible to HIV-1 infection and can efficiently maintain virus replication. HIV infected TOM undergoing ART harbor latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells.
    Retrovirology 10/2013; 10(1):121. · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) in humans is associated with infectious and autoimmune diseases, which cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract immune system. To aid in investigating GALT pathologies in vivo, we bioengineered a human-mouse chimeric model characterized by the development of human GALT structures originating in mouse cryptopatches. This observation expands our mechanistic understanding of the role of cryptopatches in human GALT genesis and emphasizes the evolutionary conservation of this developmental process. Immunoglobulin class switching to IgA occurs in these GALT structures, leading to numerous human IgA-producing plasma cells throughout the intestinal lamina propria. CD4(+) T cell depletion within GALT structures results from HIV infection, as it does in humans. This human-mouse chimeric model represents the most comprehensive experimental platform currently available for the study and for the preclinical testing of therapeutics designed to repair disease-damaged GALT.
    Cell Reports 06/2013; · 7.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Over 90% of the adult human population is chronically infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an oncogenic herpesvirus. EBV primarily infects naïve human B cells and persists latently in memory B cells. Most individuals experience an asymptomatic infection that is effectively controlled by the adaptive immune response. However, EBV-associated lymphomas can develop in immune compromised individuals. These tumors typically express all nine EBV latent proteins (latency III). Latency III is also associated with the expression of three precursor microRNAs (miRNAs) located within the EBV BHRF1 gene locus. The role of these BHRF1 miRNAs was unclear until recent in vitro studies demonstrated that they cooperate to enhance virus-induced B cell transformation and decrease the antigenic load of virus infected cells, indicating that the BHRF1 miRNA cluster may serve as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of latency III EBV-associated malignancies. However, to date, it is not known if BHRF1 miRNAs enhance virus-induced oncogenesis and/or immune evasion of EBV in vivo. To understand the in vivo contribution of the BHRF1 miRNA cluster to EBV infection and EBV-associated tumorigenesis, we monitored EBV infection and assessed tumor formation in humanized mice exposed to wild-type virus and a viral mutant (Δ123) that lacks all three BHRF1 miRNAs. Our results demonstrate that while the BHRF1 miRNAs facilitate the development of acute systemic EBV infection, they do not enhance the overall oncogenic potential of EBV in vivo.
    Journal of Virology 03/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Innate immune restriction factors represent important specialized barriers to zoonotic transmission of viruses. Significant consideration has been given to their possible use for therapeutic benefit. The apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide 3 (APOBEC3) family of cytidine deaminases are potent immune defense molecules capable of efficiently restricting endogenous retroelements as well as a broad range of viruses including Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Human Papilloma virus (HPV), and Human T Cell Leukemia virus (HTLV). The best characterized members of this family are APOBEC3G (A3G) and APOBEC3F (A3F) and their restriction of HIV. HIV has evolved to counteract these powerful restriction factors by encoding an accessory gene designated viral infectivity factor (vif). Here we demonstrate that APOBEC3 efficiently restricts CCR5-tropic HIV in the absence of Vif. However, our results also show that CXCR4-tropic HIV can escape from APOBEC3 restriction and replicate in vivo independent of Vif. Molecular analysis identified thymocytes as cells with reduced A3G and A3F expression. Direct injection of vif-defective HIV into the thymus resulted in viral replication and dissemination detected by plasma viral load analysis; however, vif-defective viruses remained sensitive to APOBEC3 restriction as extensive G to A mutation was observed in proviral DNA recovered from other organs. Remarkably, HIV replication persisted despite the inability of HIV to develop resistance to APOBEC3 in the absence of Vif. Our results provide novel insight into a highly specific subset of cells that potentially circumvent the action of APOBEC3; however our results also demonstrate the massive inactivation of CCR5-tropic HIV in the absence of Vif.
    PLoS Pathogens 03/2013; 9(3):e1003242. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rectal microbicides are being developed to prevent new HIV infections in both men and women. We focused our in vivo preclinical efficacy study on rectally-applied tenofovir. BLT humanized mice (n = 43) were rectally inoculated with either the primary isolate HIV-1JRCSF or the MSM-derived transmitted/founder (T/F) virus HIV-1THRO within 30 minutes following treatment with topical 1% tenofovir or vehicle. Under our experimental conditions, in the absence of drug treatment we observed 50% and 60% rectal transmission by HIV-1JRCSF and HIV-1THRO, respectively. Topical tenofovir reduced rectal transmission to 8% (1/12; log rank p = 0.03) for HIV-1JRCSF and 0% (0/6; log rank p = 0.02) for HIV-1THRO. This is the first demonstration that any human T/F HIV-1 rectally infects humanized mice and that transmission of the T/F virus can be efficiently blocked by rectally applied 1% tenofovir. These results obtained in BLT mice, along with recent ex vivo, Phase 1 trial and non-human primate reports, provide a critically important step forward in the development of tenofovir-based rectal microbicides.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e60024. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, over 15% of new HIV infections occur in children. Breastfeeding is a major contributor to HIV infections in infants. This represents a major paradox in the field because in vitro, breast milk has been shown to have a strong inhibitory effect on HIV infectivity. However, this inhibitory effect has never been demonstrated in vivo. Here, we address this important paradox using the first humanized mouse model of oral HIV transmission. We established that reconstitution of the oral cavity and upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract of humanized bone marrow/liver/thymus (BLT) mice with human leukocytes, including the human cell types important for mucosal HIV transmission (i.e. dendritic cells, macrophages and CD4⁺ T cells), renders them susceptible to oral transmission of cell-free and cell-associated HIV. Oral transmission of HIV resulted in systemic infection of lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues that is characterized by the presence of HIV RNA in plasma and a gradual decline of CD4⁺ T cells in peripheral blood. Consistent with infection of the oral cavity, we observed virus shedding into saliva. We then evaluated the role of human breast milk on oral HIV transmission. Our in vivo results demonstrate that breast milk has a strong inhibitory effect on oral transmission of both cell-free and cell-associated HIV. Finally, we evaluated the effect of antiretrovirals on oral transmission of HIV. Our results show that systemic antiretrovirals administered prior to exposure can efficiently prevent oral HIV transmission in BLT mice.
    PLoS Pathogens 06/2012; 8(6):e1002732. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 Nef is a multifunctional protein required for full pathogenicity of the virus. As Nef has no known enzymatic activity, it necessarily functions through protein-protein interaction interfaces. A critical Nef protein interaction interface is centered on its polyproline segment (P69VRPQVPLRP78) which contains the helical SH3 domain binding protein motif, PXXPXR. We hypothesized that any Nef-SH3 domain interactions would be lost upon mutation of the prolines or arginine of PXXPXR. Further, mutation of the non-motif "X" residues, (Q73, V74, and L75) would give altered patterns of inhibition for different Nef/SH3 domain protein interactions. We found that mutations of either of the prolines or the arginine of PXXPXR are defective for Nef-Hck binding, Nef/activated PAK2 complex formation and enhancement of virion infectivity (EVI). Mutation of the non-motif "X" residues (Q, V and L) gave similar patterns of inhibition for Nef/activated PAK2 complex formation and EVI which were distinct from the pattern for Hck binding. These results implicate an SH3 domain containing protein other than Hck for Nef/activated PAK2 complex formation and EVI. We have also mutated Nef residues at the N-and C-terminal ends of the polyproline segment to explore interactions outside of PXXPXR. We discovered a new locus GFP/F (G67, F68, P69 and F90) that is required for Nef/activated PAK2 complex formation and EVI.MHC Class I (MHCI) downregulation was only partially inhibited by mutating the PXXPXR motif residues, but was fully inhibited by mutating the C-terminal P78. Further, we observed that MHCI downregulation strictly requires G67 and F68. Our mutational analysis confirms the recently reported structure of the complex between Nef, AP-1 μ1 and the cytoplasmic tail of MHCI, but does not support involvement of an SH3 domain protein in MHCI downregulation. Nef has evolved to be dependent on interactions with multiple SH3 domain proteins. To the N- and C- terminal sides of the polyproline helix are multifunctional protein interaction sites. The polyproline segment is also adapted to downregulate MHCI with a non-canonical binding surface. Our results demonstrate that Nef polyproline helix is highly adapted to directly interact with multiple host cell proteins.
    Retrovirology 05/2012; 9:47. · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The outcome of untreated HIV-1 infection is progression to AIDS and death in nearly all cases. Some important exceptions are the small number of patients infected with HIV-1 deleted for the accessory gene, nef. With these infections, disease progression is entirely suppressed or greatly delayed. Whether Nef is critical for high levels of replication or is directly cytotoxic remains controversial. The major problem in determining the role of Nef in HIV/AIDS has been the lack of tractable in vivo models where Nef's complex pathogenic phenotype can be recapitulated. Intravenous inoculation (3000 to 600,000 TCIU) of BLT humanized mice with HIV-1LAI reproducibly establishes a systemic infection. HIV-1LAI (LAI) replicates to high levels (peak viral load in blood 8,200,000 ± 1,800,000 copies of viral RNA/ml, range 3,600,000 to 20,400,000; n = 9) and exhaustively depletes CD4+ T cells in blood and tissues. CD4+CD8+ thymocytes were also efficiently depleted but CD4+CD8- thymocytes were partially resistant to cell killing by LAI. Infection with a nef-deleted LAI (LAINefdd) gave lower peak viral loads (1,220,000 ± 330,000, range 27,000 to 4,240,000; n = 17). For fourteen of seventeen LAINefdd-infected mice, there was little to no loss of either CD4+ T cells or thymocytes. Both LAI- and LAINefdd-infected mice had about 8% of total peripheral blood CD8+ T cells that were CD38+HLA-DR+ compared <1% for uninfected mice. Three exceptional LAINefdd-infected mice that lost CD4+ T cells received 600,000 TCIU. All three exhibited peak viral loads over 3,000,000 copies of LAINefdd RNA/ml. Over an extended time course, substantial systemic CD4+ T cell loss was observed for the three mice, but there was no loss of CD4+CD8+ or CD4+CD8- thymocytes. We conclude Nef is necessary for elevated viral replication and as a result indirectly contributes to CD4+ T cell killing. Further, Nef was not necessary for the activation of peripheral blood CD8+ T cells following infection. However, CD4+CD8+ thymocyte killing was dependent on Nef even in cases of elevated LAINefdd replication and T cell loss. This depletion of thymic T cell precursors may be a significant factor in the elevated pathogenicity of CXCR4 trophic HIV-1.
    Retrovirology 05/2012; 9:44. · 5.66 Impact Factor
  • Paul W Denton, J Victor Garcia
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical trials testing microbicides and related biomedical interventions to block HIV transmissions have produced contradictory results and to date it is unclear why. Further elucidation of the molecular basis of mucosal HIV transmission and extensive pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses are essential to implementing effective prevention strategies. Animal models are of critical importance to this effort and bone marrow-liver-thymus (BLT) humanized mice have recently emerged as a powerful small animal research platform for in vivo efficacy evaluation of mucosal and parenteral HIV-1 prevention interventions. The availability of this validated system for the pre-clinical evaluation of HIV-1 prevention approaches will accelerate the implementation of the best candidate interventions into clinical trials.
    Trends in Microbiology 04/2012; 20(6):268-74. · 8.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Persistent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of resting CD4⁺ T cells, unaffected by antiretroviral therapy (ART), provides a long-lived reservoir of HIV infection. Therapies that target this viral reservoir are needed to eradicate HIV-1 infection. A small-animal model that recapitulates HIV-1 latency in resting CD4⁺ T cells may accelerate drug discovery and allow the rational design of nonhuman primate (NHP) or human studies. We report that in humanized Rag2⁻/⁻ γ(c)⁻/⁻ (hu-Rag2⁻/⁻ γ(c)⁻/⁻) mice, as in humans, resting CD4⁺ T cell infection (RCI) can be quantitated in pooled samples of circulating cells and tissue reservoirs (e.g., lymph node, spleen, bone marrow) following HIV-1 infection with the CCR5-tropic JR-CSF strain and suppression of viremia by ART. Replication-competent virus was recovered from pooled resting CD4⁺ T cells in 7 of 16 mice, with a median frequency of 8 (range, 2 to 12) infected cells per million T cells, demonstrating that HIV-1 infection can persist despite ART in the resting CD4⁺ T cell reservoir of hu-Rag2⁻/⁻ γ(c)⁻/⁻ mice. This model will allow rapid preliminary assessments of novel eradication approaches and combinatorial strategies that may be challenging to perform in the NHP model or in humans, as well as a rigorous analysis of the effect of these interventions in specific anatomical compartments.
    Journal of Virology 01/2012; 86(1):114-20. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we demonstrate that a combination of tenofovir, emtricitabine, and raltegravir effectively suppresses peripheral and systemic HIV replication in humanized BLT mice. We also demonstrate that antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated humanized BLT mice harbor latently infected resting human CD4+ T cells that can be induced ex vivo to produce HIV. We observed that the levels of infected resting human CD4+ T cells present in BLT mice are within the range of those observed circulating in patients undergoing suppressive ART. These results demonstrate the potential of humanized BLT mice as an attractive model for testing the in vivo efficacy of novel HIV eradication strategies.
    Journal of Virology 01/2012; 86(1):630-4. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent iPrEx clinical trial results provided evidence that systemic preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) can partially prevent rectal HIV transmission in humans. Similarly, we have previously demonstrated that systemic administration of the same FTC-TDF combination efficiently prevented rectal transmission in humanized bone marrow/liver/thymus (BLT) mice. The CAPRISA 004 trial recently demonstrated that topical application of the tenofovir could partially prevent vaginal HIV-1 transmission in humans. To further validate the usefulness of the BLT mouse model for testing HIV prevention strategies, we evaluated the topical administration of tenofovir as used in CAPRISA 004 to prevent vaginal HIV transmission in BLT mice. Our results demonstrate that vaginally administered 1% tenofovir significantly reduced HIV transmission in BLT mice (P = 0.002). Together with the results obtained after systemic antiretroviral PrEP, these topical inhibitor data serve to validate the use of humanized BLT mice to evaluate both systemic and topical inhibitors of HIV transmission. Based on these observations, we tested six additional microbicide candidates for their ability to prevent vaginal HIV transmission: a C-peptide fusion inhibitor (C52L), a membrane-disrupting amphipathic peptide inhibitor (C5A), a trimeric d-peptide fusion inhibitor (PIE12-Trimer), a combination of reverse transcriptase inhibitors (FTC-TDF), a thioester zinc finger inhibitor (TC247), and a small-molecule Rac inhibitor (NSC23766). No protection was seen with the Rac inhibitor NSC23766. The thioester compound TC247 offered partial protection. Significant protection was afforded by FTC-TDF, and complete protection was offered by three different peptide inhibitors tested. Our results demonstrate that these effective topical inhibitors have excellent potential to prevent vaginal HIV transmission in humans.
    Journal of Virology 05/2011; 85(15):7582-93. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in the last several years have enhanced mechanistic understanding of Nef-induced CD4 and MHCI downregulation and have suggested a new paradigm for analyzing Nef function. In both of these cases, Nef acts by forming ternary complexes with significant contributions to stability imparted by non-canonical interactions. The mutational analyses and binding assays that have led to these conclusions are discussed. The recent progress has been dependent on conservative mutations and multi-protein binding assays. The poorly understood Nef functions of p21 activated protein kinase (PAK2) activation, enhancement of virion infectivity, and inhibition of immunoglobulin class switching are also likely to involve ternary complexes and non-canonical interactions. Hence, investigation of these latter Nef functions should benefit from a similar approach. Six historically used alanine substitutions for determining structure-function relationships of Nef are discussed. These are M20A, E62A/E63A/E64A/E65A (AAAA), P72A/P75A (AXXA), R106A, L164A/L165A, and D174A/D175A. Investigations of less-disruptive mutations in place of AAAA and AXXA have led to different interpretations of mechanism. Two recent examples of this alternate approach, F191I for studying PAK2 activation and D123E for the critical residue D123 are discussed. The implications of the new findings and the resulting new paradigm for Nef structure-function are discussed with respect to creating a map of Nef functions on the protein surface. We report the results of a PPI-Pred analysis for protein-protein interfaces. There are three predicted patches produced by the analysis which describe regions consistent with the currently known mutational analyses of Nef function.
    Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 02/2011; 6(2):230-46. · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    Paul W Denton, J Víctor García
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    ABSTRACT: Because of the limited tropism of HIV, in vivo modeling of this virus has been almost exclusively limited to other lentiviruses, such as simian immunodeficiency virus, that reproduce many important characteristics of HIV infection. However, there are significant genetic and biological differences among lentiviruses and some HIV-specific interventions are not effective against other lentiviruses in nonhuman hosts. For these reasons, much emphasis has recently been placed on developing alternative animal models that support HIV replication and recapitulate key aspects of HIV infection and pathogenesis in humans. Humanized mice, CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cell transplanted immunodeficient mice, and in particular mice also implanted with human thymus/liver tissue (bone marrow liver thymus mice) that develop a functional human immune system, have been the focus of a great deal of attention as possible models to study virtually all aspects of HIV biology and pathogenesis. Humanized mice are systemically reconstituted with human lymphoid cells, offering rapid, reliable, and reproducible experimental systems for HIV research. Peripheral blood of humanized mice can be readily sampled longitudinally to assess reconstitution with human cells and to monitor HIV replication, permitting the evaluation of multiple parameters of HIV infection such as viral load levels, CD4+ T-cell depletion, immune activation, as well as the effects of therapeutic interventions. Of high relevance to HIV transmission is the extensive characterization and validation of the reconstitution with human lymphoid cells of the female reproductive tract and of the gastrointestinal tract of humanized bone marrow liver thymus mice that renders them susceptible to both vaginal and rectal HIV infection. Other important attributes of all types of humanized mice include: (i) their small size and cost that make them widely accessible; (ii) multiple cohorts of humanized mice can be made from multiple human donors and each cohort has identical human cells, permitting control of intragenetic variables; (iii) continuous de novo production of human immune cells from the transplanted CD34+ cells within each humanized mouse facilitates long-term experiments; (iv) both primary and laboratory HIV isolates can be used for experiments; and (v) in addition to therapeutic interventions, rectal and vaginal HIV prevention approaches can be studied. In summary, humanized mice can have an important role in virtually all aspects of HIV research, including the analysis of HIV replication, the evaluation of HIV restriction factors, the characterization of successful biomedical HIV prevention strategies, the evaluation of new treatment regimens, and the evaluation of novel HIV eradication strategies.
    AIDS reviews 01/2011; 13(3):135-48. · 4.08 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
330.30 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2014
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • • Division of Infectious Diseases
      • • Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)
      North Carolina, United States
  • 2002–2010
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Dallas, TX, United States
  • 2006
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1998
    • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
      Memphis, Tennessee, United States