The role of NK cells against HIV-1 infections remains to be elucidated in vivo. While humanized mouse models potentially could be used to directly evaluate human NK cell responses during HIV-1 infection, improved functional development of human NK cells in these hosts is needed. Here, we report the humanized MISTRG-6-15 mouse model, in which NK cells were quick to expand and exhibit degranulation, cytotoxicity, and proinflammatory cytokine production in nonlymphoid organs upon HIV-1 infection but had reduced functionality in lymphoid organs. Although HIV-1 infection induced functional impairment of NK cells, antiretroviral therapy reinvigorated NK cells in response to HIV-1 rebound after analytic treatment interruption. Moreover, a broadly neutralizing antibody, PGT121, enhanced NK cell function in vivo, consistent with antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Monoclonal antibody depletion of NK cells resulted in higher viral loads in multiple nonlymphoid organs. Overall, our results in humanized MISTRG-6-15 mice demonstrated that NK cells provided direct anti- HIV-1 responses in vivo but were limited in their responses in lymphoid organs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere162694
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2022


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