The focus of this revised renewal application remains centered around the natural history of SIVcpz infection in wild chimpanzees. In the previous budget period, we developed non-invasive (fecal and urine based) SIVcpz detection methods and used these to characterize the molecular epidemiology of SIVcpz in wild-living ape populations throughout equatorial Africa (Nature 2004;Science 2006). We also traced the origin of pandemic and non-pandemic HIV-1 to distinct chimpanzee communities in southern Cameroon (Science 2006), discovered HIV-1 group O-like viruses in wild gorillas (Nature 2006), and found that SIVcpz (like HIV-1) has lost an important function of its Nef protein (Cell 2006;PLoS Pathogens 2008). These and other findings are summarized in 29 publications (including 3 published since the last submission). We also initiated the first natural history study of SIVcpz in two habituated communities (population size ~90) in Gombe National Park and found that (i) SIVcpz prevalence has more than doubled over the past seven years, (ii) SIVcpz infected chimpanzees have a significantly higher mortality rate (18.7 to 20.6-fold increased death hazard;p<0.0001) than uninfected controls, and (iii) two SIVcpz infected chimpanzees died with characteristic AIDS-like immunopathology. These findings provide the first evidence that SIVcpz infection is pathogenic in wild chimpanzees, and thus run counter the prevailing view that all natural SIV infections are non-pathogenic. Given these intriguing findings, we propose to expand our natural history studies in Gombe, characterize viral and host determinants of SIVcpz pathogenicity, and determine if co-infections by other pathogens influence SIVcpz morbidity and mortality.
Specific Aims i nclude: 1. To expand our natural history studies of SIVcpz to all three Gombe communities. We will determine SIVcpz prevalence and incidence rates, frequencies of vertical and horizontal transmission, SIVcpz impact on reproductive behavior and success, as well as SIVcpz associated mortality in a larger group of chimpanzees. 2. To elucidate the immunopathological mechanisms underlying SIVcpz pathogenicity. We will conduct health surveys and parasitology studies, as well as post mortem analyses on all apes who die during the study period. Detailed immunohistochemical and virological analyses of necropsy specimens will determine to what extent SIVcpz causes CD4 T cell depletion, lymphatic tissue destruction and immune activation. 3. To elucidate the virological mechanisms underlying SIVcpz pathogenicity. We will generate infectious molecular clones for select SIVcpz strains, characterize their replication fitness and relative virulence, and determine the pattern and rate of SIVcpz evolution. 4. To determine the impact of other viral infections on chimpanzee morbidity and mortality. Using non- invasive methods, we will screen Gombe chimpanzees for STLV, ChHBV and adenoviruses and determine whether and to what extent these infections influence chimpanzee morbidity and mortality.

Public Health Relevance

HIV/AIDS ranks as one of the most important infectious diseases to have emerged in recent history. This application will define the molecular ecology and natural infection history of SIVcpz, the simian precursor of HIV-1. Elucidation of the determinants of SIV pathogenicity (or lack thereof) in natural and non-natural hosts is a high priority area in current AIDS research, since therapeutic and vaccine strategies consider amelioration of disease and prevention a desired outcome. SIVcpz infection of wild-living chimpanzees represents a critical piece in this puzzle.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis Study Section (AIP)
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Sharma, Opendra K
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University of Pennsylvania
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V; Gillespie, Thomas R; Wolf, Tiffany M et al. (2018) Socioecological correlates of clinical signs in two communities of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Am J Primatol 80:
Loy, Dorothy E; Rubel, Meagan A; Avitto, Alexa N et al. (2018) Investigating zoonotic infection barriers to ape Plasmodium parasites using faecal DNA analysis. Int J Parasitol 48:531-542
Terio, Karen A; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V; Kinsel, Michael J et al. (2018) Oesophagostomiasis in non-human primates of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Am J Primatol 80:
Barbian, Hannah J; Li, Yingying; Ramirez, Miguel et al. (2018) Destabilization of the gut microbiome marks the end-stage of simian immunodeficiency virus infection in wild chimpanzees. Am J Primatol 80:
Walker, Kara K; Walker, Christopher S; Goodall, Jane et al. (2018) Maturation is prolonged and variable in female chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 114:131-140
Liu, Weimin; Sherrill-Mix, Scott; Learn, Gerald H et al. (2017) Wild bonobos host geographically restricted malaria parasites including a putative new Laverania species. Nat Commun 8:1635
Stanton, Margaret A; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V; Pusey, Anne E et al. (2017) Do juveniles help or hinder? Influence of juvenile offspring on maternal behavior and reproductive outcomes in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Hum Evol 111:152-162
Loy, Dorothy E; Liu, Weimin; Li, Yingying et al. (2017) Out of Africa: origins and evolution of the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Int J Parasitol 47:87-97
Weiss, Alexander; Wilson, Michael L; Collins, D Anthony et al. (2017) Personality in the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park. Sci Data 4:170146
Gilby, Ian C; Machanda, Zarin P; O'Malley, Robert C et al. (2017) Predation by female chimpanzees: Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo. J Hum Evol 110:82-94

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