Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 24478441
J. Virol. 2014 Apr;88(8):4161-72
Lentiviral RNA genomes present a strong bias in their nucleotide composition with extremely high frequencies of A nucleotide in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Based on the observation that human optimization of RNA virus gene fragments may abolish their ability to stimulate the type I interferon (IFN-I) response, we identified the most biased sequences along the SIV genome and showed that they are the most potent IFN-I stimulators. With the aim of designing an attenuated SIV genome based on a reduced capacity to activate the IFN-I response, we synthesized artificial SIV genomes whose biased sequences were optimized toward macaque average nucleotide composition without altering their regulatory elements or amino acid sequences. A synthetic SIV optimized with 169 synonymous mutations in gag and pol genes showed a 100-fold decrease in replicative capacity. Interestingly, a synthetic SIV optimized with 70 synonymous mutations in pol had a normal replicative capacity. Its ability to stimulate IFN-I was reduced when infected cells were cocultured with reporter cells. IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) transcription factor was required for IFN-I stimulation, implicating cytosolic sensors in the detection of SIV-biased RNA in infected cells. No reversion of introduced mutations was observed for either of the optimized viruses after 10 serial passages. In conclusion, we have designed large-scale nucleotide-modified SIVs that may display attenuated pathogenic potential.