Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E26

Maedi-visna virus as a model for HIV

Höfundar / Authors: Valgerður Andrésdóttir

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland

Kynnir / Presenter: Valgerður Andrésdóttir

Maedi-visna virus is a lentivirus of sheep, mainly affecting the lungs and the central nervous system. Maedi-visna virus was the first lentivirus to be isolated and characterized. Lentiviruses get their name from Björn Sigurdsson´s hypothesis of „slow infection“ (lenti=slow). Other members of the lentivirus subfamily are SIV and HIV in addition to lentiviruses of goats, cats and horses. Maedi-visna virus and HIV share many characteristics including genomic organization, replication strategies and persistence for years in the face of the host´s defences. The target cells of maedi-visna virus are cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage, and the virus does not replicate in T cells. However, HIV replicates both in macrophages and T cells. Maedi-visna virus can therefore be useful as a model for the macrophage arm of HIV replication. One of the unsolved issues in HIV infection is that the virus remains latent despite antiretrovirals, and the patient has to take a lifelong medication. HIV latency has been the subject of intensive study, and the emphasis has been on resting T cells. Our results show that maedi-visna virus uses similar strategies as the primate lentiviruses for persistence, i.e. latency and immune evasion by mutations. It is therefore likely that monocytes/macrophages and their progenitor cells can also serve as a latent reservoir for HIV.