Recapitulating cross-species transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus SIVcpz to humans by using humanized BLT mice

Zhe Yuan, Guobin Kang, Fangrui Ma, Wuxun Lu, Wenjin Fan, Christine M. Fennessey, Brandon F. Keele, Qingsheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The origins of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) have been widely accepted to be the consequences of simian immunodeficiency viruses from wild chimpanzees (SIVcpz) crossing over to humans. However, there has not been any in vivo study of SIVcpz infection of humans. Also, it remains largely unknown why only specific SIVcpz strains have achieved crossspecies transmission and what transmission risk might exist for those SIVcpz strains that have not been found to infect humans. Closing this knowledge gap is essential for better understanding cross-species transmission and predicting the likelihood of additional cross-species transmissions of SIV into humans. Here we show that humanized bone marrow, thymus, and liver (hu-BLT) mice are susceptible to all studied strains of SIVcpz, including the inferred ancestral viruses of pandemic and nonpandemic HIV-1 groupsM (SIVcpzMB897) andN(SIVcpzEK505) as well as strains that have not been found in humans (SIVcpzMT145 and SIVcpzBF1167). Importantly, the ability of SIVcpz to cross the interspecies barrier to infect humanized mice correlates with their phylogenetic distance to pandemic HIV-1.Wealso identified mutations of SIVcpzMB897 (Env G411R and G413R) and SIVcpzBF1167 (Env H280Q and Q380R) at 14 weeks postinoculation. Together, our results have recapitulated the events of SIVcpz cross-species transmission to humans and identified mutations that occurred during the first 16 weeks of infection, providing in vivo experimental evidence that the origins of HIV-1 are the consequence of SIVcpz crossing over to humans. This study also revealed that SIVcpz viruses whose inferred descendants have not been found in humans still have the potential to cause an HIV-1-like zoonosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7728-7739
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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