Previous studies have demonstrated that the genetic determinants of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) neurovirulence map to the env and nef genes. Recent studies from our laboratory demonstrated that SIV replication in primary rhesus macaque astrocyte cultures is dependent upon the nef gene. Here, we demonstrate that macrophage tropism is not sufficient for replication in astrocytes and that specific amino acids in the transmembrane (TM) portion of Env are also important for optimal SIV replication in astrocytes. Specifically, a Gly at amino acid position 751 and truncation of the cytoplasmic tail of TM are required for efficient replication in these cells. Studies using soluble CD4 demonstrated that these changes within the TM protein regulate CD4-independent, CCR5-dependent entry of virus into astrocytes. In addition, we observed that two distinct CD4-independent, neuroinvasive strains of SIV/DeltaB670 also replicated efficiently in astrocytes, further supporting the role of CD4 independence as an important determinant of SIV infection of astrocytes in vitro and in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science