Welkin E Johnson

Chestnut Hill College, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (49)294.84 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: APOBEC3B is a newly identified source of mutation in many cancers, including breast, head/neck, lung, bladder, cervical, and ovarian. APOBEC3B is a member of the APOBEC3 family of enzymes that deaminate DNA cytosine to produce the pro-mutagenic lesion, uracil. Several APOBEC3 family members function to restrict virus replication. For instance, APOBEC3D, APOBEC3F, APOBEC3G, and APOBEC3H combine to restrict HIV-1 in human lymphocytes. HIV-1 counteracts these APOBEC3s with the viral protein Vif, which targets the relevant APOBEC3s for proteasomal degradation. While APOBEC3B does not restrict HIV-1 and is not targeted by HIV-1 Vif in CD4-positive T cells, we asked whether related lentiviral Vif proteins could degrade APOBEC3B. Interestingly, several SIV Vif proteins are capable of promoting APOBEC3B degradation, with SIVmac239 Vif proving the most potent. This likely occurs through the canonical polyubiquitination mechanism as APOBEC3B protein levels are restored by MG132 treatment and by altering a conserved E3 ligase-binding motif. We further show that SIVmac239 Vif can prevent APOBEC3B mediated geno/cytotoxicity and degrade endogenous APOBEC3B in several cancer cell lines. Our data indicate that the APOBEC3B degradation potential of SIV Vif is an effective tool for neutralizing the cancer genomic DNA deaminase APOBEC3B. Further optimization of this natural APOBEC3 antagonist may benefit cancer therapy.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Oncotarget
  • Welkin E. Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: Endogenous retroviruses comprise millions of discrete genetic loci distributed within the genomes of extant vertebrates. These sequences, which are clearly related to exogenous retroviruses, represent retroviral infections of the deep past, and their abundance suggests that retroviruses were a near-constant presence throughout the evolutionary history of modern vertebrates. Endogenous retroviruses contribute in myriad ways to the evolution of host genomes, as mutagens and as sources of genetic novelty (both coding and regulatory) to be acted upon by the twin engines of random genetic drift and natural selection. Importantly, the richness and complexity of endogenous retrovirus data can be used to understand how viruses spread and adapt on evolutionary timescales by combining population genetics and evolutionary theory with a detailed understanding of retrovirus biology (gleaned from the study of extant retroviruses). In addition to revealing the impact of viruses on organismal evolution, such studies can help us better understand, by looking back in time, how life-history traits, as well as ecological and geological events, influence the movement of viruses within and between populations.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The widespread distribution of lentiviruses among African primates, and the lack of severe pathogenesis in many of these natural reservoirs, are taken as evidence for long-term co-evolution between the simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) and their primate hosts. Evidence for positive selection acting on antiviral restriction factors is consistent with virus-host interactions spanning millions of years of primate evolution. However, many restriction mechanisms are not virus-specific, and selection cannot be unambiguously attributed to any one type of virus. We hypothesized that the restriction factor TRIM5, because of its unique specificity for retrovirus capsids, should accumulate adaptive changes in a virus-specific fashion, and therefore, that phylogenetic reconstruction of TRIM5 evolution in African primates should reveal selection by lentiviruses closely related to modern SIVs. We analyzed complete TRIM5 coding sequences of 22 Old World primates and identified a tightly-spaced cluster of branch-specific adaptions appearing in the Cercopithecinae lineage after divergence from the Colobinae around 16 million years ago. Functional assays of both extant TRIM5 orthologs and reconstructed ancestral TRIM5 proteins revealed that this cluster of adaptations in TRIM5 specifically resulted in the ability to restrict Cercopithecine lentiviruses, but had no effect (positive or negative) on restriction of other retroviruses, including lentiviruses of non-Cercopithecine primates. The correlation between lineage-specific adaptations and ability to restrict viruses endemic to the same hosts supports the hypothesis that lentiviruses closely related to modern SIVs were present in Africa and infecting the ancestors of Cercopithecine primates as far back as 16 million years ago, and provides insight into the evolution of TRIM5 specificity.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to test whether vaccine-induced immune responses could protect rhesus macaques (RMs) against upfront heterologous challenges with an R5 simian-human immunodeficiency virus, SHIV-2873Nip. This SHIV strain exhibits many properties of transmitted HIV-1, such as tier 2 phenotype (relatively difficult to neutralize), exclusive CCR5 tropism, and gradual disease progression in infected RMs. Since no human AIDS vaccine recipient is likely to encounter an HIV-1 strain that exactly matches the immunogens, we immunized the RMs with recombinant Env proteins heterologous to the challenge virus. For induction of immune responses against Gag, Tat, and Nef, we explored a strategy of immunization with overlapping synthetic peptides (OSP). The immune responses against Gag and Tat were finally boosted with recombinant proteins. The vaccinees and a group of ten control animals were given five low-dose intrarectal (i.r.) challenges with SHIV-2873Nip. All controls and seven out of eight vaccinees became systemically infected; there was no significant difference in viremia levels of vaccinees vs. controls. Prevention of viremia was observed in one vaccinee which showed strong boosting of virus-specific cellular immunity during virus exposures. The protected animal showed no challenge virus-specific neutralizing antibodies in the TZM-bl or A3R5 cell-based assays and had low-level ADCC activity after the virus exposures. Microarray data strongly supported a role for cellular immunity in the protected animal. Our study represents a case of protection against heterologous tier 2 SHIV-C by vaccine-induced, virus-specific cellular immune responses.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Vaccine
  • Andrea Kirmaier · Welkin E Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 was isolated 31 years ago, yet models for studying HIV-1 pathogenesis in vivo are still lacking. Recent experiments using an HIV-1 strain engineered to replicate in macaques recapitulate several important features of human AIDS, and provide insight into the genetics of cross-species transmission and emergence of pathogenic retroviruses.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Trends in Microbiology
  • Andrea Kirmaier · Annabel Krupp · Welkin E Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: Primate lentiviruses include the HIVs, HIV-1 and HIV-2; the SIVs, which are endemic to more than 40 species of nonhuman primates in Africa; and SIVmac, an AIDS-causing pathogen that emerged in US macaque colonies in the 1970s. Because of the worldwide spread of HIV and AIDS, primate lentiviruses have been intensively investigated for more than 30 years. Research on these viruses has played a leading role in the discovery and characterization of intrinsic immunity, and in particular the identification of several antiviral effectors (also known as restriction factors) including APOBEC3G, TRIM5, BST-2/tetherin and SAMHD1. Comparative studies of the primate lentiviruses and their hosts have proven critical for understanding both the evolutionary significance and biological relevance of intrinsic immunity, and the role intrinsic immunity plays in governing viral host range and interspecies transmission of viruses in nature.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Future Virology
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    Kevin R McCarthy · Welkin E Johnson

    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: A key goal for HIV-1 envelope immunogen design is the induction of cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies (nAbs). As AIDS vaccine recipients will not be exposed to strains exactly matching any immunogens due to multiple HIV-1 quasispecies circulating in the human population worldwide, heterologous SHIV challenges are essential for realistic vaccine efficacy testing in primates. We assessed whether polyclonal IgG, isolated from rhesus monkeys (RMs) with high-titer nAbs (termed SHIVIG), could protect RMs against the R5-tropic tier-2 SHIV-2873Nip, which was heterologous to the viruses or HIV-1 envelopes that had elicited SHIVIG. SHIVIG demonstrated binding to HIV Gag, Tat, and Env of different clades and competed with the broadly neutralizing antibodies b12, VRC01, 4E10, and 17b. SHIVIG neutralized tier 1 and tier 2 viruses, including SHIV-2873Nip. NK-cell depletion decreased the neutralizing activity of SHIVIG 20-fold in PBMC assays. Although SHIVIG neutralized SHIV-2873Nip in vitro, this polyclonal IgG preparation failed to prevent acquisition after repeated intrarectal low-dose virus challenges, but at a dose of 400 mg/kg, it significantly lowered peak viremia (P = 0.001). Unexpectedly, single-genome analysis revealed a higher number of transmitted variants at the low dose of 25 mg/kg, implying increased acquisition at low SHIVIG levels. In vitro, SHIVIG demonstrated complement-mediated Ab-dependent enhancement of infection (C'-ADE) at concentrations similar to those observed in plasmas of RMs treated with 25 mg/kg of SHIVIG. Our primate model data suggest a dual role for polyclonal anti-HIV-1 Abs depending on plasma levels upon virus encounter.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Retrovirology
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    Jamie E Henzy · Robert J Gifford · Welkin E Johnson · John M Coffin
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) represent ancestral sequences of modern retroviruses or their extinct relatives. The majority of ERVs cluster alongside exogenous retroviruses into two main groups based on phylogenetic analyses of the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme. Class I includes gammaretroviruses, and class II includes lentiviruses and alpha-, beta-, and deltaretroviruses. However, analyses of the transmembrane subunit (TM) of the envelope glycoprotein (env) gene result in a different topology for some retroviruses, suggesting recombination events in which heterologous env sequences have been acquired. We previously demonstrated that the TM sequences of five of the six genera of orthoretroviruses can be divided into three types, each of which infects a distinct set of vertebrate classes. Moreover, these classes do not always overlap the host range of the associated RT classes. Thus, recombination resulting in acquisition of a heterologous env gene could in theory facilitate cross-species transmissions across vertebrate classes, for example, from mammals to reptiles. Here we characterized a family of class II avian ERVs, "TgERV-F," that acquired a mammalian gammaretroviral env sequence. Although TgERV-F clusters near a sister clade to alpharetroviruses, its genome also has some features of betaretroviruses. We offer evidence that this unusual recombinant has circulated among several avian orders and may still have infectious members. In addition to documenting the infection of a nongalliform avian species by a mammalian retrovirus, TgERV-F also underscores the importance of env sequences in reconstructing phylogenies and supports a possible role for env swapping in allowing cross-species transmissions across wide taxonomic distances. Importance: Retroviruses can sometimes acquire an envelope gene (env) from a distantly related retrovirus. Since env is a key determinant of host range, such an event affects the host range of the recombinant virus and can lead to the creation of novel retroviral lineages. Retroviruses insert viral DNA into the host DNA during infection, and therefore vertebrate genomes contain a "fossil record" of endogenous retroviral sequences thought to represent past infections of germ cells. We examined endogenous retroviral sequences in avian genomes for evidence of recombination events involving env. Although cross-species transmissions of retroviruses between vertebrate classes (from mammals to birds, for example) are thought to be rare, we here characterized a group of avian retroviruses that acquired an env sequence from a mammalian retrovirus. We offer evidence that this unusual recombinant circulated among songbirds 2 to 4 million years ago and has remained active into the recent past.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular restriction factors, which render cells intrinsically resistant to viruses, potentially impose genetic barriers to cross-species transmission and emergence of viral pathogens in nature. One such factor is APOBEC3G. To overcome APOBEC3G-mediated restriction, many lentiviruses encode Vif, a protein that targets APOBEC3G for degradation. As with many restriction factor genes, primate APOBEC3G displays strong signatures of positive selection. This is interpreted as evidence that the primate APOBEC3G locus reflects a long-term evolutionary "arms-race" between retroviruses and their primate hosts. Here, we provide direct evidence that APOBEC3G has functioned as a barrier to cross-species transmission, selecting for viral resistance during emergence of the AIDS-causing pathogen SIVmac in captive colonies of Asian macaques in the 1970s. Specifically, we found that rhesus macaques have multiple, functionally distinct APOBEC3G alleles, and that emergence of SIVmac and simian AIDS required adaptation of the virus to evade APOBEC3G-mediated restriction. Our evidence includes the first comparative analysis of APOBEC3G polymorphism and function in both a reservoir and recipient host species (sooty mangabeys and rhesus macaques, respectively), and identification of adaptations unique to Vif proteins of the SIVmac lineage that specifically antagonize rhesus APOBEC3G alleles. By demonstrating that interspecies variation in a known restriction factor selected for viral counter-adaptations in the context of a documented case of cross-species transmission, our results lend strong support to the evolutionary "arms-race" hypothesis. Importantly, our study confirms that APOBEC3G divergence can be a critical determinant of interspecies transmission and emergence of primate lentiviruses, including viruses with the potential to infect and spread in human populations.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · PLoS Pathogens
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    ABSTRACT: Rhesus macaques (RMs) inoculated with live-attenuated Rev-Independent Nef¯ simian immunodeficiency virus (Rev-Ind Nef¯SIV) as adults or neonates controlled viremia to undetectable levels and showed no signs of immunodeficiency over 6-8 years of follow-up. We tested the capacity of this live-attenuated virus to protect RMs against pathogenic, heterologous SIVsmE660 challenges. Three groups of four RM were inoculated with Rev-Ind Nef¯SIV and compared. Group 1 was inoculated 8 years prior and again 15 months before low dose intrarectal challenges with SIVsmE660. Group 2 animals were inoculated with Rev-Ind Nef¯SIV at 15 months and Group 3 at 2 weeks prior to the SIVsmE660 challenges, respectively. Group 4 served as unvaccinated controls. All RMs underwent repeated weekly low-dose intrarectal challenges with SIVsmE660. Surprisingly, all RMs with acute live-attenuated virus infection (Group 3) became superinfected with the challenge virus, in contrast to the two other vaccine groups (Groups 1 and 2) (P=0.006 for each) and controls (Group 4) (P=0.022). Gene expression analysis showed significant upregulation of innate immune response-related chemokines and their receptors, most notably CCR5 in Group 3 animals during acute infection with Rev-Ind Nef¯SIV. We conclude that although Rev-Ind Nef¯SIV remained apathogenic, acute replication of the vaccine strain was not protective but associated with increased acquisition of heterologous mucosal SIVsmE660 challenges.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    Jamie E Henzy · Welkin E Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of retroviral envelope glycoproteins characterized to date are typical of type I viral fusion proteins, having a receptor binding subunit associated with a fusion subunit. The fusion subunits of lentiviruses and alpha-, beta-, delta- and gammaretroviruses have a very conserved domain organization and conserved features of secondary structure, making them suitable for phylogenetic analyses. Such analyses, along with sequence comparisons, reveal evidence of numerous recombination events in which retroviruses have acquired envelope glycoproteins from heterologous sequences. Thus, the envelope gene (env) can have a history separate from that of the polymerase gene (pol), which is the most commonly used gene in phylogenetic analyses of retroviruses. Focusing on the fusion subunits of the genera listed above, we describe three distinct types of retroviral envelope glycoproteins, which we refer to as gamma-type, avian gamma-type and beta-type. By tracing these types within the 'fossil record' provided by endogenous retroviruses, we show that they have surprisingly distinct evolutionary histories and dynamics, with important implications for cross-species transmissions and the generation of novel lineages. These findings validate the utility of env sequences in contributing phylogenetic signal that enlarges our understanding of retrovirus evolution.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
  • Welkin E Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: Since the discovery of viruses over a century ago, virologists have recognized that host genetics plays a major role in viral tropism and the distribution of viruses in nature. Traditionally, studies of tropism have centered on identification of cellular factors required for viral replication, such as cell-surface entry receptors. However, over the past 20 years, there has been a steady increase in the identification and characterization of restriction factors (RFs), here defined as dominant cellular factors that have evolved specifically to interfere with viral replication. Genetic studies suggest that restriction factors impose significant barriers to interspecies movement of viruses and are therefore critical determinants of viral tropism. Furthermore, the scope of the ever-expanding list of restriction factors, and the variety of antiviral mechanisms they represent, testifies to the extraordinary impact viruses have had on organismal evolution-an impact hitherto underappreciated by evolutionary biologists and virologists alike. Recent studies of RF-encoding genes that combine molecular evolutionary analysis with functional assays illustrate the potential for asking questions about virus-host interactions as they play out in natural populations and across evolutionary timescales. Most notably, it has become common to apply tests of positive selection to RF genes and couple these analyses with virological assays, to reveal evidence for antagonistic virus-host co-evolution. Herein, I summarize recent work on the evolutionary genetics of mammalian RFs, particularly those of humans, non-human primates, and model organisms, and how RFs can reveal the influence of virus-host interactions on organismal evolution. Because intensive investigation of RF evolution is fairly new (and because there is still much to learn), the discussion is organized around five broad, outstanding questions that will need to be answered before we can fully appreciate the evolutionary biology of restriction.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · Current topics in microbiology and immunology
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    ABSTRACT: Retroviral capsid recognition by Trim5 blocks productive infection. Rhesus macaques harbor three functionally distinct Trim5 alleles: Trim5α(Q) , Trim5α(TFP) and Trim5(CypA) . Despite the high degree of amino acid identity between Trim5α(Q) and Trim5α(TFP) alleles, the Q/TFP polymorphism results in the differential restriction of some primate lentiviruses, suggesting these alleles differ in how they engage these capsids. Simian immunodeficiency virus of rhesus macaques (SIVmac) evolved to resist all three alleles. Thus, SIVmac provides a unique opportunity to study a virus in the context of the Trim5 repertoire that drove its evolution in vivo. We exploited the evolved rhesus Trim5α resistance of this capsid to identify gain-of-sensitivity mutations that distinguish targets between the Trim5α(Q) and Trim5α(TFP) alleles. While both alleles recognize the capsid surface, Trim5α(Q) and Trim5α(TFP) alleles differed in their ability to restrict a panel of capsid chimeras and single amino acid substitutions. When mapped onto the structure of the SIVmac239 capsid N-terminal domain, single amino acid substitutions affecting both alleles mapped to the β-hairpin. Given that none of the substitutions affected Trim5α(Q) alone, and the fact that the β-hairpin is conserved among retroviral capsids, we propose that the β-hairpin is a molecular pattern widely exploited by Trim5α proteins. Mutations specifically affecting rhesus Trim5α(TFP) (without affecting Trim5α(Q) ) surround a site of conservation unique to primate lentiviruses, overlapping the CPSF6 binding site. We believe targeting this site is an evolutionary innovation driven specifically by the emergence of primate lentiviruses in Africa during the last 12 million years. This modularity in targeting may be a general feature of Trim5 evolution, permitting different regions of the PRYSPRY domain to evolve independent interactions with capsid.
    Preview · Article · May 2013 · PLoS Pathogens
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    William E Diehl · Welkin E Johnson · Eric Hunter
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    ABSTRACT: All genes in the TRIM6/TRIM34/TRIM5/TRIM22 locus are type I interferon inducible, with TRIM5 and TRIM22 possessing antiviral properties. Evolutionary studies involving the TRIM6/34/5/22 locus have predominantly focused on the coding sequence of the genes, finding that TRIM5 and TRIM22 have undergone high rates of both non-synonymous nucleotide replacements and in-frame insertions and deletions. We sought to understand if divergent evolutionary pressures on TRIM6/34/5/22 coding regions have selected for modifications in the non-coding regions of these genes and explore whether such non-coding changes may influence the biological function of these genes. The transcribed genomic regions, including the introns, of TRIM6, TRIM34, TRIM5, and TRIM22 from ten Haplorhini primates and one prosimian species were analyzed for transposable element content. In Haplorhini species, TRIM5 displayed an exaggerated interspecies variability, predominantly resulting from changes in the composition of transposable elements in the large first and fourth introns. Multiple lineage-specific endogenous retroviral long terminal repeats (LTRs) were identified in the first intron of TRIM5 and TRIM22. In the prosimian genome, we identified a duplication of TRIM5 with a concomitant loss of TRIM22. The transposable element content of the prosimian TRIM5 genes appears to largely represent the shared Haplorhini/prosimian ancestral state for this gene. Furthermore, we demonstrated that one such differentially fixed LTR provides for species-specific transcriptional regulation of TRIM22 in response to p53 activation. Our results identify a previously unrecognized source of species-specific variation in the antiviral TRIM genes, which can lead to alterations in their transcriptional regulation. These observations suggest that there has existed long-term pressure for exaptation of retroviral LTRs in the non-coding regions of these genes. This likely resulted from serial viral challenges and provided a mechanism for rapid alteration of transcriptional regulation. To our knowledge, this represents the first report of persistent evolutionary pressure for the capture of retroviral LTR insertions.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Infections following repeated, low-dose (RLD), mucosal S(H)IV exposures of macaques are used to model sexual HIV exposures for biomedical prevention testing. Different susceptibilities among animals can complicate study designs. In rhesus macaques, TRIM5 alleles Q, CypA, and TFP, are resistance factors for infection with some S(H)IV strains, but not for SIVmac239 due to its capsid properties. SIVmac239-derived SHIVSF162P3 has been demonstrated to reproducibly infect mucosally in vaginal and rectal RLD models. To further test the suitability of SHIVSF162P3 for RLD models, we studied the influence of TRIM5 genotype on susceptibility to rectal RLD infection and on plasma viremia by analyzing 43 male Indian rhesus macaques from control arms of completed studies. The median number of exposures required for infection was: 3 (Q/Q, n=4) (TRIM5 alleles, number of macaques, respectively); 4 (Q/CypA, n=7), 3 (TFP/Q, n=15); 3 (TFP/TFP, n=15); 2 (TFP/CypA, n=2); TRIM5CypA/CypA was not represented in our study. Median peak viremia (log10 viral copies/mL) in infected animals was: 7.4 (Q/Q, n=4); 7.2 (Q/CypA, n=6), 7.3 (TFP/Q, n=13); 7.1 (TFP/TFP, n=15); 6.5 (TFP/CypA; n=2). Neither susceptibility nor peak viremia were significantly different (log-rank test, Kruskal Wallis test, respectively). Rhesus macaques' susceptibility to RLD SHIVSF162P3 is independent of TRIM5 TFP, CypA, and Q alleles, with the limitation that the power to detect any impact of CypA/CypA and TFP/CypA genotypes was nonexistent or low, due to absence or infrequency, respectively. The finding that TRIM5 alleles do not restrict mucosal infection or ensuing replication rates suggests that SHIVSF162P3 is indeed suitable for RLD experimentation.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · AIDS research and human retroviruses
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    Amalio Telenti · Welkin E Johnson
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    ABSTRACT: Recent years have seen a significant increase in understanding of the host genetic and genomic determinants of susceptibility to HIV-1 infection and disease progression, driven in large part by candidate gene studies, genome-wide association studies, genome-wide transcriptome analyses, and large-scale in vitro genome screens. These studies have identified common variants in some host loci that clearly influence disease progression, characterized the scale and dynamics of gene and protein expression changes in response to infection, and provided the first comprehensive catalogs of genes and pathways involved in viral replication. Experimental models of AIDS and studies in natural hosts of primate lentiviruses have complemented and in some cases extended these findings. As the relevant technology continues to progress, the expectation is that such studies will increase in depth (e.g., to include host whole exome and whole genome sequencing) and in breadth (in particular, by integrating multiple data types).
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Vaccine regimens using different agents for priming and boosting have become popular for enhancing T cell and Ab responses elicited by candidate HIV/AIDS vaccines. Here we use a simian model to evaluate immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine in the presence and absence of a recombinant DNA prime. The simian vaccines and regimens represent prototypes for candidate HIV vaccines currently undergoing clinical testing. Recombinant DNA and MVA immunogens expressed simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)mac239 Gag, PR, RT, and Env sequences. Vaccine schedules tested inoculations of MVA at months 0, 2, and 6 (MMM regimen) or priming with DNA at months 0 and 2 and boosting with MVA at months 4 and 6 (DDMM regimen). Twelve weekly rectal challenges with the heterologous SIV smE660 were initiated at 6 months following the last immunization. Both regimens elicited similar 61-64% reductions in the per challenge risk of SIVsmE660 transmission despite raising different patterns of immune responses. The DDMM regimen elicited higher magnitudes of CD4 T cells whereas the MMM regimen elicited higher titers and greater avidity Env-specific IgG and more frequent and higher titer SIV-specific IgA in rectal secretions. Both regimens elicited similar magnitudes of CD8 T cells. Magnitudes of T cell responses, specific activities of rectal IgA Ab, and the tested specificities for neutralization and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity did not correlate with risk of infection. However, the avidity of Env-specific IgG had a strong correlation with the per challenge risk of acquisition, but only for the DDMM group. We conclude that for the tested immunogens in rhesus macaques, the simpler MMM regimen is as protective as the more complex DDMM regimen.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: The broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) 4E10, 2F5, and Z13e1 target membrane-proximal external region (MPER) epitopes of HIV-1 gp41 in a manner that remains controversial. The requirements for initial lipid bilayer binding and/or CD4 ligation have been proposed. To further investigate these issues, we probed for binding of these MAbs to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) virions with protein A-conjugated gold (PAG) nanoparticles using negative-stain electron microscopy. We found moderate levels of PAG associated with unliganded HIV-1 and SIV virions incubated with the three MAbs. Significantly higher levels of PAG were associated with CD4-liganded HIV-1 (epitope-positive) but not SIV (epitope-negative) virions. A chimeric SIV virion displaying the HIV-1 4E10 epitope also showed significantly higher PAG association after CD4 ligation and incubation with 4E10. MAbs accumulated rapidly on CD4-liganded virions and slowly on unliganded virions, although both reached similar levels in time. Anti-MPER epitope-specific binding was stable to washout. Virions incubated with an irrelevant MAb or CD4-only (no MAb) showed negligible PAG association, as did a vesicle-rich fraction devoid of virions. Preincubation with Fab 4E10 inhibited both specific and nonspecific 4E10 IgG binding. Our data provide evidence for moderate association of anti-MPER MAbs to viral surfaces but not lipid vesicles, even in the absence of cognate epitopes. Significantly greater MAb interaction occurs in epitope-positive virions following long incubation or CD4 ligation. These findings are consistent with a two-stage binding model where these anti-MPER MAbs bind first to the viral lipid bilayer and then to the MPER epitopes following spontaneous or induced exposure.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Virology
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    ABSTRACT: It has recently been shown that polymorphism at the rhesus macaque TRIM5 locus can affect simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication. Here we show that TRIM5 alleles can also affect acquisition of SIVsmE660. Animals coexpressing the TRIM5TFP and TRIM5CypA alleles took significantly longer to become infected with SIVsmE660, but not SIVmac239, after repeated limiting-dose intrarectal challenge than did animals expressing other TRIM5 allele combinations. Our results indicate that the TRIM5 alleles can be a barrier to productive infection and that this should be taken into account when designing acquisition studies using SIVsmE660 or related viruses.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Journal of Virology

Publication Stats

2k Citations
294.84 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013-2015
    • Chestnut Hill College
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2013-2014
    • Boston College, USA
      • Biology Department
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008-2012
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2007-2011
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Emory University
      • Emory Vaccine Center
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 2003-2006
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      La Jolla, California, United States