CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)β, and C/EBP binding sites in the HIV/SIV- long terminal repeat (LTR) are crucial for regulating transcription and for IFNβ-mediated suppression of virus replication in macrophages, the predominant source of productive virus replication in the brain. We investigated sequence variation within the SIV-LTR C/EBP sites that may be under selective pressure in vivo and therefore associated with disease progression. Using the SIV-macaque model, we examined viral LTR sequences derived from the spleen, a site of macrophage and lymphocyte infection, and the brain from macaques euthanized at 10, 21, 42, 48 and 84 days postinoculation (p.i.). A dominant variant, DS1C/A, containing an adenine-to-guanine substitution and a linked cytosine-to-adenine substitution in the downstream (DS1) C/EBP site, was detected in the spleen at 10 days p.i. The DS1C/A genotype was not detected in the brain until 42 days p.i., after which it was the predominant replicating genotype in both brain and spleen. Functional characterization of the DS1C/A containing SIV showed increased infectivity with or without IFNβ treatment over the wild-type virus, SIV/17E-Fr. The DS1C/A C/EBP site had higher affinity for both protein isoforms of C/EBPβ compared to the wild-type DS1 C/EBP site. Cytokine expression in spleen compared to brain implicated IFNβ and IL-6 responses as part of the selective pressures contributing to emergence of the DS1C/A genotype in vivo. These studies demonstrate selective replication of virus containing the DS1C/A genotype that either emerges very early in spleen and spreads to the brain, or evolves independently in the brain when IFNβ and IL-6 levels are similar to that found in spleen earlier in infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)