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author:("draeger, ria")
1.  Lack of Significant Elevation of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Peripheral Blood of Chronically Hepatitis C Virus-Infected Individuals 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(13):7678-7682.
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells with immunosuppressive function. Compared to the level in healthy controls (HC), no elevation of MDSC in chronic hepatitis C (cHEP-C) patients was found, and there was no difference in MDSC based on genotype or viral load (P > 0.25). Moreover, MDSC of cHEP-C patients inhibited CD8 T cell function as efficiently as MDSC of HC did. Since we detected neither quantitative nor qualitative differences in MDSC of cHEP-C patients relative to those of HC, we postulate that MDSC in peripheral blood are most likely not significant regarding immune dysfunction in cHEP-C.
PMCID: PMC4054423  PMID: 24741087
2.  Adaptation of CD8 T Cell Responses to Changing HIV-1 Sequences in a Cohort of HIV-1 Infected Individuals Not Selected for a Certain HLA Allele 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80045.
HIV evades CD8 T cell mediated pressure by viral escape mutations in targeted CD8 T cell epitopes. A viral escape mutation can lead to a decline of the respective CD8 T cell response. Our question was what happened after the decline of a CD8 T cell response and - in the case of viral escape – if a new CD8 T cell response towards the mutated antigen could be generated in a population not selected for certain HLA alleles. We studied 19 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-1 infected individuals with different disease courses longitudinally. A median number of 12 (range 2-24) CD8 T cell responses towards Gag and Nef were detected per study subject. A total of 30 declining CD8 T cell responses were studied in detail and viral sequence analyses showed amino acid changes in 25 (83%) of these. Peptide titration assays and definition of optimal CD8 T cell epitopes revealed 12 viral escape mutations with one de-novo response (8%). The de-novo response, however, showed less effector functions than the original CD8 T cell response. In addition we identified 4 shifts in immunodominance. For one further shift in immunodominance, the mutations occurred outside the optimal epitope and might represent processing changes. Interestingly, four adaptations to the virus (the de-novo response and 3 shifts in immunodominance) occurred in the group of chronically infected progressors. None of the subjects with adaptation to the changing virus carried the HLA alleles B57, B*58:01 or B27. Our results show that CD8 T cell responses adapt to the mutations of HIV. However it was limited to only 20% (5 out of 25) of the epitopes with viral sequence changes in a cohort not expressing protective HLA alleles.
PMCID: PMC3849264  PMID: 24312453
3.  Virus Immune Evasion: New Mechanism and Implications in Disease Outcome 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:490549.
PMCID: PMC3462381  PMID: 23049554
4.  Nef-specific CD45RA+ CD8+ T cells secreting MIP-1β but not IFN-γ are associated with nonprogressive HIV-1 infection 
Long-term survival of HIV-1 infected individuals is usually achieved by continuous administration of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). An exception to this scenario is represented by HIV-1 infected nonprogressors (NP) which maintain relatively high circulating CD4+ T cells without clinical symptoms for several years in the absence of ART. Several lines of evidence indicate an important role of the T-cell response in the modulation of HIV-1 infection during the acute and chronic phase of the disease.
We analyzed the functional and the differentiation phenotype of Nef- and Tat-specific CD8+ T cells in a cohort of HIV-1 infected NP in comparison to progressors, ART-treated seropositive individuals and individuals undergoing a single cycle of ART interruption. We observed that a distinctive feature of NP is the presence of Nef-specific CD45RA+ CD8+ T cells secreting MIP-1beta but not IFN-gamma. This population was present in 7 out of 11 NP. CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cells were not detected in HIV-1 infected individuals under ART or withdrawing from ART and experiencing a rebounding viral replication. In addition, we detected Nef-specific CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cells in only 1 out of 10 HIV-1 infected individuals with untreated progressive disease.
The novel antigen-specific CD45RA+ IFN-gammaneg MIP-1beta+ CD8+ T cell population represents a new candidate marker of long-term natural control of HIV-1 disease progression and a relevant functional T-cell subset in the evaluation of the immune responses induced by candidate HIV-1 vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2909146  PMID: 20598119
5.  Decreased CXCR3+ CD8 T Cells in Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Suggest that a Homing Defect Contributes to Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Dysfunction▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(16):8439-8450.
To exert their cytotoxic function, cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) must be recruited into infected lymphoid tissue where the majority of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication occurs. Normally, effector T cells exit lymph nodes (LNs) and home to peripheral sites of infection. How HIV-specific CTL migrate into lymphoid tissue from which they are normally excluded is unknown. We investigated which chemokines and receptors mediate this reverse homing and whether impairment of this homing could contribute to CTL dysfunction as HIV infection progresses. Analysis of CTL chemokine receptor expression in the blood and LNs of untreated HIV-infected individuals with stable, chronic infection or advanced disease demonstrated that LNs were enriched for CXCR3+ CD8 T cells in all subjects, suggesting a key role for this receptor in CTL homing to infected lymphoid tissue. Compared to subjects with chronic infection, however, subjects with advanced disease had fewer CXCR3+ CD8 T cells in blood and LNs. CXCR3 expression on bulk and HIV-specific CD8 T cells correlated positively with CD4 count and negatively with viral load. In advanced infection, there was an accumulation of HIV-specific CD8 T cells at the effector memory stage; however, decreased numbers of CXCR3+ CD8 T cells were seen across all maturation subsets. Plasma CXCL9 and CXCL10 were elevated in both infected groups in comparison to the levels in uninfected controls, whereas lower mRNA levels of CXCR3 ligands and CD8 in LNs were seen in advanced infection. These data suggest that both CXCR3+ CD8 T cells and LN CXCR3 ligands decrease as HIV infection progresses, resulting in reduced homing of CTL into LNs and contributing to immune dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC1951383  PMID: 17553894
6.  Fully Differentiated HIV-1 Specific CD8+ T Effector Cells Are More Frequently Detectable in Controlled than in Progressive HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(3):e321.
CD8+ T cells impact control of viral infections by direct elimination of infected cells and secretion of a number of soluble factors. In HIV-1 infection, persistent HIV-1 specific IFN-γ+ CD8+ T cell responses are detected in the setting of disease progression, consistent with functional impairment in vivo. Recent data suggest that impaired maturation, as defined by the lineage markers CD45RA and CCR7, may contribute to a lack of immune control by these responses.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the maturation phenotype of epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses directed against HIV-1 in 42 chronically infected, untreated individuals, 22 of whom were “Controllers” (median 1140 RNA copies/ml plasma, range<50 to 2520), and 20 “progressors” of whom had advanced disease and high viral loads (median 135,500 RNA copies/ml plasma, range 12100 to >750000). Evaluation of a mean of 5 epitopes per person revealed that terminally differentiated CD8+ T cells directed against HIV-1 are more often seen in HIV-1 Controllers (16/22; 73%) compared to HIV-1 progressors (7/20; 35%)(p = 0.015), but the maturation state of epitope-specific responses within a given individual was quite variable. Maturation phenotype was independent of the HLA restriction or the specificity of a given CD8+ T cell response and individual epitopes associated with slow disease progression were not more likely to be terminally differentiated.
These data indicate that although full maturation of epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses is associated with viral control, the maturation status of HIV-1 specific CD8+ T cell responses within a given individual are quite heterogeneous, suggesting epitope-specific influences on CD8+ T cell function.
PMCID: PMC1824710  PMID: 17389912
7.  Constraints on HIV-1 evolution and immunodominance revealed in monozygotic adult twins infected with the same virus 
The predictability of virus–host interactions and disease progression in rapidly evolving human viral infections has been difficult to assess because of host and genetic viral diversity. Here we examined adaptive HIV-specific cellular and humoral immune responses and viral evolution in adult monozygotic twins simultaneously infected with the same virus. CD4 T cell counts and viral loads followed similar trajectories over three years of follow up. The initial CD8 T cell response targeted 17 epitopes, 15 of which were identical in each twin, including two immunodominant responses. By 36 months after infection, 14 of 15 initial responses were still detectable in both, whereas all new responses were subdominant and remained so. Of four responses that declined in both twins, three demonstrated mutations at the same residue. In addition, the evolving antibody responses cross-neutralized the other twin's virus, with similar changes in the pattern of evolution in the envelope gene. These results reveal considerable concordance of adaptive cellular and humoral immune responses and HIV evolution in the same genetic environment, suggesting constraints on mutational pathways to HIV immune escape.
PMCID: PMC2118231  PMID: 16533886
8.  Selective Escape from CD8+ T-Cell Responses Represents a Major Driving Force of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Sequence Diversity and Reveals Constraints on HIV-1 Evolution†  
Journal of Virology  2005;79(21):13239-13249.
The sequence diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) represents a major obstacle to the development of an effective vaccine, yet the forces impacting the evolution of this pathogen remain unclear. To address this issue we assessed the relationship between genome-wide viral evolution and adaptive CD8+ T-cell responses in four clade B virus-infected patients studied longitudinally for as long as 5 years after acute infection. Of the 98 amino acid mutations identified in nonenvelope antigens, 53% were associated with detectable CD8+ T-cell responses, indicative of positive selective immune pressures. An additional 18% of amino acid mutations represented substitutions toward common clade B consensus sequence residues, nine of which were strongly associated with HLA class I alleles not expressed by the subjects and thus indicative of reversions of transmitted CD8 escape mutations. Thus, nearly two-thirds of all mutations were attributable to CD8+ T-cell selective pressures. A closer examination of CD8 escape mutations in additional persons with chronic disease indicated that not only did immune pressures frequently result in selection of identical amino acid substitutions in mutating epitopes, but mutating residues also correlated with highly polymorphic sites in both clade B and C viruses. These data indicate a dominant role for cellular immune selective pressures in driving both individual and global HIV-1 evolution. The stereotypic nature of acquired mutations provides support for biochemical constraints limiting HIV-1 evolution and for the impact of CD8 escape mutations on viral fitness.
PMCID: PMC1262562  PMID: 16227247
9.  Transmission and accumulation of CTL escape variants drive negative associations between HIV polymorphisms and HLA 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 amino acid sequence polymorphisms associated with expression of specific human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles suggest sites of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated selection pressure and immune escape. The associations most frequently observed are between expression of an HLA class I molecule and variation from the consensus sequence. However, a substantial number of sites have been identified in which particular HLA class I allele expression is associated with preservation of the consensus sequence. The mechanism behind this is so far unexplained. The current studies, focusing on two examples of “negatively associated” or apparently preserved epitopes, suggest an explanation for this phenomenon: negative associations can arise as a result of positive selection of an escape mutation, which is stable on transmission and therefore accumulates in the population to the point at which it defines the consensus sequence. Such negative associations may only be in evidence transiently, because the statistical power to detect them diminishes as the mutations accumulate. If an escape variant reaches fixation in the population, the epitope will be lost as a potential target to the immune system. These data help to explain how HIV is evolving at a population level. Understanding the direction of HIV evolution has important implications for vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC2213090  PMID: 15781581
10.  Immune Selection for Altered Antigen Processing Leads to Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Escape in Chronic HIV-1 Infection 
Mutations within cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes impair T cell recognition, but escape mutations arising in flanking regions that alter antigen processing have not been defined in natural human infections. In human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B57+ HIV-infected persons, immune selection pressure leads to a mutation from alanine to proline at Gag residue 146 immediately preceding the NH2 terminus of a dominant HLA-B57–restricted epitope, ISPRTLNAW. Although N-extended wild-type or mutant peptides remained well-recognized, mutant virus–infected CD4 T cells failed to be recognized by the same CTL clones. The A146P mutation prevented NH2-terminal trimming of the optimal epitope by the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase I. These results demonstrate that allele-associated sequence variation within the flanking region of CTL epitopes can alter antigen processing. Identifying such mutations is of major relevance in the construction of vaccine sequences.
PMCID: PMC2211885  PMID: 15067030
CD8 T cell responses; viral evolution; immune evasion; antigen presentation

Results 1-10 (10)