To understand viral and host factors that contribute to transplacental transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, we developed an animal model using pregnant female macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Pregnant females were inoculated intravenously during midgestation with either a well-characterized primary isolate of SIV (SIV/DeltaB670) or a combination of SIV/DeltaB670 and the macrophage-tropic molecular clone SIV/17E-Fr. The viral genetic diversity in five infected female macaques and their in utero-infected infants was analyzed. All of the mothers harbored a genetically diverse virus population at parturition, whereas a single genotype from the maternal quasispecies was identified in the infants at birth. Only one of two variants was found in the infants: SIV/17E-Fr (two cases) or a genotype contained within the SIV/DeltaB670 quasispecies (three cases). The macrophage-tropic properties of both transmitted genotypes were suggested by productive replication in primary rhesus macrophage cultures in vitro and the clonal presence in central nervous system tissue of infected monkeys with encephalitis. These observations provide compelling evidence for both genotypic and phenotypic selection in transplacental transmission of SIV and suggest a critical role for macrophages in fetal infection in utero.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science