Predator-Prey Dynamics of Intra-Host Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Evolution Within the Untreated Host
Frontiers in Immunology
The dynamic nature of the SIV population during disease progression in the SIV/macaque model of AIDS and the factors responsible for its behavior have not been documented, largely owing to the lack of sufficient spatial and temporal sampling of both viral and host data from SIV-infected animals. In this study, we detail Bayesian coalescent inference of the changing collective intra-host viral effective population size (Ne) from various tissues over the course of infection and its relationship
... th what we demonstrate is a continuously changing immune cell repertoire within the blood. Although the relative contribution of these factors varied among hosts and time points, the adaptive immune response best explained the overall periodic dynamic behavior of the effective virus population. Data exposing the nature of the relationship between the virus and immune cell populations revealed the plausibility of an eco-evolutionary mathematical model, which was able to mimic the large-scale oscillations in Ne through virus escape from relatively few, early immunodominant responses, followed by slower escape from several subdominant and weakened immune populations. The results of this study suggest that SIV diversity within the untreated host is governed by a predator-prey relationship, wherein differing phases of infection are the result of adaptation in response to varying immune responses. Previous investigations into viral population dynamics using sequence data have focused on single estimates of the effective viral population size (Ne) or point estimates over sparse sampling data to provide insight into the precise impact of immune selection on virus adaptive behavior. Herein, we describe the use of the coalescent phylogenetic frame- work to estimate the relative changes in Ne over time in order to quantify the relationship with empirical data on the dynamic immune composition of the host. This relationship has allowed us to expand on earlier simulations to build a predator-prey model that explains the deterministic behavior of the virus over the course of disease progression. We show that sequential viral adaptation can occur in response to phases of varying immune pressure, providing a broader picture of the viral response throughout the entire course of progression to AIDS.