HIV infection is characterized by a host response composed of adaptive and innate immunity that partially limits viral replication; however, it ultimately fails in eradicating the virus. To model host gene expression during acute HIV infection, we infected cynomolgus macaques with the SIV/HIV-1 chimeric virus, SHIV89.6P, and profiled gene expression in peripheral blood over a 5-wk period using a high density cDNA microarray. We demonstrate that viral challenge induced a widespread suppression of genes regulating innate immunity, including the LPS receptors, CD14 and TLR4. An overexpression of 16 IFN-stimulated genes was also observed in response to infection; however, it did not correlate with control over viral titers. A statistical analysis of the dataset identified 10 genes regulating apoptosis with differential expression during the first 2 wk of infection (p < 0.004). Quantitative real-time PCR verified transcriptional increases in IFN-α-inducible genes and decreases in genes regulating innate immunity. Therefore, the persistence of high viral loads despite an extensive IFN response suggests that HIV can resist in vivo IFN treatment despite published reports of in vitro efficacy. The transcriptional suppression of genes regulating innate immunity may allow HIV to evade acute host responses and establish a chronic infection and may reduce innate host defense against opportunistic infections.
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