Antiretroviral therapy reveals triphasic decay of intact SIV genomes and persistence of ancestral variants

Emily J. Fray, Fengting Wu, Francesco R. Simonetti, Carolin Zitzmann, Narmada Sambaturu, Carmen Molina-Paris, Alexandra M. Bender, Po Ting Liu, John D. Ventura, Roger W. Wiseman, David H. O'Connor, Romas Geleziunas, Thomas Leitner, Ruy M. Ribeiro, Alan S. Perelson, Dan H. Barouch, Janet D. Siliciano, Robert F. Siliciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The decay kinetics of HIV-1-infected cells are critical to understand virus persistence. We evaluated the frequency of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected cells for 4 years of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The intact proviral DNA assay (IPDA) and an assay for hypermutated proviruses revealed short- and long-term infected cell dynamics in macaques starting ART ∼1 year after infection. Intact SIV genomes in circulating CD4+T cells showed triphasic decay with an initial phase slower than the decay of the plasma virus, a second phase faster than the second phase decay of intact HIV-1, and a stable third phase reached after 1.6–2.9 years. Hypermutated proviruses showed bi- or mono-phasic decay, reflecting different selective pressures. Viruses replicating at ART initiation had mutations conferring antibody escape. With time on ART, viruses with fewer mutations became more prominent, reflecting decay of variants replicating at ART initiation. Collectively, these findings confirm ART efficacy and indicate that cells enter the reservoir throughout untreated infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-372.e5
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 2023


  • SIV
  • clonal expansion
  • decay
  • defective provirus
  • latent reservoir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology


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