Our understanding of early anti-viral mechanisms in the cervico-vaginal compartment that may reduce HIV-1 or SIV infectivity in the absence IgG-mediated or CD8 T-cell responses remains incomplete and is the basis for this proposal. Evidence for resistance to infection in highly HIV-exposed women that remain seronegative (exposed sero-negative, ESN) in presence of anti-HIV responses is also supported by non-human primate (NHP) models where repeated low-dose cervico-vaginal challenges in Rhesus macaques can result in a refractory state that can only be overcome by increased infectious doses or by-pass of the mucosal micro- environment (e.g. intravenous viral challenge). Our preliminary data now shows for the first time that repeated cervico-vaginal exposures to SIV in the NHP can result in an increase in innate effector cell infiltrates including (1) plasmacytoid dendritic cells expressing IFN-a as a potential inductive factor associated with the local increase in tissue APOBEC 3G expression, and (2) CD68 macrophages infiltrates among Fc-receptor bearing cells. We will test the hypothesis that uninfectious viral exposures in the female cervico-vaginal compartment can induce an innate/IgA mechanism mediating a state of reduced mucosal infectivity. Specifically, we will: 1. Determine the presence of local cellular cervical tissue infiltrate, IFN-mediated gene expression, and mucosal anti-HIV IgA antibody responses in 3 well-defined groups of women with differential exposure risk based on sexual activity/partners. 2. Determine if repeated cervico-vaginal exposures to non-infectious SIV E660 exposures induce a persistent innate cellular infiltrate (plasmacytoid DCs, NK, macrophages) that in combination with mucosal SIV-specific IgA antibody levels decreases mucosal infectivity SIV mac251. This proposal represents a collaborative effort between The University of Puerto Rico, Nebraska University, University of Minnesota, Duke University, University of Massachusetts, Tulane University, National Cancer Institute, and The Wistar Institute.

Public Health Relevance

There is a need to develop new strategies to prevent HIV-1 transmission in women. Our application seeks to understand correlates of lack of infection in women expected to be highly exposed to HIV-1 by their behavior and to determine if a particular immune response (specific innate immunity and IgA responses) is over- represented in them. We also will test directly the impact of targeting the selective activation of candidate innate and antibody response in non-human primates to obtain direct data as to whether these responses can decrease viral transmission.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
Program Officer
Miller, Nancy R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Wistar Institute
United States
Zip Code