Among nonhuman primates, SIV-infected Asian pigtailed macaques (PM) are relatively more susceptible to infection and disease progression than SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RM). In addition, SIV-infected African natural hosts such as the sooty mangabeys (SM) are resistant to disease. The mechanisms associated with such species-related variable clinical outcomes remain ill-defined but hold the potential to provide insights into the underlying mechanisms surrounding HIV pathogenesis. Recent findings indicate that the expression of the heterodimeric gut homing integrin α4b7 can influence both susceptibility and disease progression in RM. It was reasoned that differences in the frequencies/surface densities of α4b7-expressing lymphocytes might contribute to the differences in the clinical outcome of SIV infection among NHPs. In this article, we report that CD4+ T cells from PM constitutively express significantly higher levels of α4b7 than RM or SM. Retinoic acid, a key regulator of α4b7 expression, was paradoxically found at higher levels in the plasma of SM versus RM or PM. We also observed pairing of β7 with αE (αEβ7) on CD4+ T cells in the peripheral blood of SM, but not PM or RM. Finally, the differential mean density of expression of α4b7 in RM versus SM versus PM was predominantly dictated by species-specific sequence differences at the level of the β7 promoters, as determined by in vitro reporter/promoter construct transfection studies. We propose that differences in the regulation and expression of α4b7 may explain, in part, the differences in susceptibility and SIV disease progression in these NHP models.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy