Cellular targets of early viral replication in RhCMV/SIV-vaccinated macaques with Mamu-E-restricted T cell responses

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Rhesus CMV-vectored SIV (RhCMV/SIV) vaccines have been shown to provide protection against infection in ~50% of adult macaques. Circulating CTL frequency in individual animals was shown to be correlated with protection in only some groups and at selected pre-infection time points, suggesting the possibility that gut-resident CTL are more important. We will test if gut-resident, Mamu-E-restricted, SIV-specific T cell responses elicited by the RhCMV/SIV vaccine will alter the composition of the earliest expanding virus population, due to restriction of viral replication in T cells. If this idea is correct then we expect vaccinated animals to manifest (i) unusual predominance of macrophage-tropic virus even at the earliest stages of infection and (ii) relative preservation of gut-resident CD4+ T cells.