There is an urgent need for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines that induce robust mucosal immunity. Influenza A viruses (both H1N1 and H3N2) were engineered to express simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) CD8 T-cell epitopes and evaluated following administration to the respiratory tracts of 11 pigtail macaques. Influenza virus was readily detected from respiratory tract secretions, although the infections were asymptomatic. Animals seroconverted to influenza virus and generated CD8 and CD4 T-cell responses to influenza virus proteins. SIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses bearing the mucosal homing marker β7 integrin were induced by vaccination of naïve animals. Further, SIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses could be boosted by recombinant influenza virus-SIV vaccination of animals with already-established SIV infection. Sequential vaccination with influenza virus-SIV recombinants of different subtypes (H1N1 followed by H3N2 or vice versa) produced only a limited boost in immunity, probably reflecting T-cell immunity to conserved internal proteins of influenza A virus. SIV challenge of macaques vaccinated with an influenza virus expressing a single SIV CD8 T cell resulted in a large anamnestic recall CD8 T-cell response, but immune escape rapidly ensued and there was no impact on chronic SIV viremia. Although our results suggest that influenza virus-HIV vaccines hold promise for the induction of mucosal immunity to HIV, broader antigen cover will be needed to limit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape.
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are a specialized subset of memory CD4+ T cells that are found exclusively within the germinal centers of secondary lymphoid tissues and are important for adaptive antibody responses and B cell memory. Tfh cells do not express CCR5, the primary entry coreceptor for both human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and therefore, we hypothesized that these cells would avoid infection. We studied lymph nodes and spleens from pigtail macaques infected with pathogenic strain SIVmac239 or SIVmac251, to investigate the susceptibility of Tfh cells to SIV infection. Pigtail macaque PD-1high CD127low memory CD4+ T cells have a phenotype comparable to that of human Tfh cells, expressing high levels of CXCR5, interleukin-21 (IL-21), Bcl-6, and inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS). As judged by either proviral DNA or cell-associated viral RNA measurements, macaque Tfh cells were infected with SIV at levels comparable to those in other CD4+ memory T cells. Infection of macaque Tfh cells was evident within weeks of inoculation, yet we confirmed that Tfh cells do not express CCR5 or either of the well-known alternative SIV coreceptors, CXCR6 and GPR15. Mutations in the SIV envelope gp120 region occurred in chronically infected macaques but were uniform across each T cell subset investigated, indicating that the viruses used the same coreceptors to enter different cell subsets. Early infection of Tfh cells represents an unexpected focus of viral infection. Infection of Tfh cells does not interrupt antibody production but may be a factor that limits the quality of antibody responses and has implications for assessing the size of the viral reservoir.
The kynurenine pathway (KP) and one of its end-products, the excitotoxin quinolinic acid (QUIN), are involved in the pathogenesis of several major neuroinflammatory brain diseases. A relevant animal model to study KP metabolism is now needed to assess whether intervention in this pathway may improve the outcome of such diseases. Humans and macaques share a very similar genetic makeup. In this study, we characterized the KP metabolism in macaque primary macrophages of three different species in comparison to human cells. We found that the KP profiles in simian macrophages were very similar to those in humans when challenged with inflammatory cytokines. Further, we found that macaque macrophages are capable of producing a pathophysiological concentration of QUIN. Our data validate the simian model as a relevant model to study the human cellular KP metabolism in the context of inflammation.
simian macrophages; kynurenine pathway; indoleamine 2; 3-dioxygenase; quinolinic acid
The HIV-1 genome is malleable and a difficult target tot vaccinate against. It has long been recognised that cytotoxic T lymphocytes and neutralising antibodies readily select for immune escape HIV variants. It is now also clear that NK cells can also select for immune escape. NK cells force immune escape through both direct Killer-immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-mediated killing as well as through facilitating antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). These newer finding suggest NK cells and ADCC responses apply significant pressure to the virus. There is an opportunity to harness these immune responses in the design of more effective HIV vaccines.
SerpinB2, also known as plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2, is a major product of activated monocytes/macrophages and is often strongly induced during infection and inflammation; however, its physiological function remains somewhat elusive. Herein we show that SerpinB2 is induced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells following infection of pigtail macaques with CCR5-utilizing (macrophage-tropic) SIVmac239, but not the rapidly pathogenic CXCR4-utilizing (T cell-tropic) SHIVmn229. To investigate the role of SerpinB2 in lentiviral infections, SerpinB2−/− mice were infected with EcoHIV, a chimeric HIV in which HIV gp120 has been replaced with gp80 from ecotropic murine leukemia virus. EcoHIV infected SerpinB2−/− mice produced significantly lower anti-gag IgG1 antibody titres than infected SerpinB2+/+ mice, and showed slightly delayed clearance of EcoHIV. Analyses of published microarray studies showed significantly higher levels of SerpinB2 mRNA in monocytes from HIV-1 infected patients when compared with uninfected controls, as well as a significant negative correlation between SerpinB2 and T-bet mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These data illustrate that SerpinB2 can be induced by lentiviral infection in vivo and support the emerging notion that a physiological role of SerpinB2 is modulation of Th1/Th2 responses.
Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is of considerable interest as an immune response that may facilitate control of HIV infection. We studied ADCC responses prospectively in a cohort of 79 HIV+ subjects followed for a mean of 2.3 years without antiretroviral therapy. We used a novel assay of the ability of ADCC to activate NK cells, either from the same HIV+ subject or a healthy blood donor. We found ADCC responses to either gp140 Env protein or HIV peptide pools were common in HIV+ subjects when NK cells from the HIV+ subject were used, but did not correlate with markers of HIV disease progression. In contrast, ADCC responses to whole gp140 Env protein were strongly associated with a slower decline in CD4 T cell loss when healthy donor NK cells were used as effectors. Our data had implications for induction of the most effective ADCC responses by HIV vaccines.
HIV; ADCC; NK Cells; CD4 T cells; viral load
Combinations of KIR3DL1 and HLA-Bw4 alleles protect against HIV infection and/or disease progression. These combinations enhance NK cell responsiveness through the ontological process of education. However, educated KIR3DL1+ NK cells do not have enhanced degranulation upon direct recognition of autologous HIV-infected cells. Since antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is associated with improved HIV infection outcomes and NK cells overcome inhibition through killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) to mediate ADCC, we hypothesized that KIR3DL1-educated NK cells mediate anti-HIV ADCC against autologous cells. A whole-blood flow cytometry assay was used to evaluate ADCC-induced activation of NK cells. This assay assessed activation (gamma interferon [IFN-γ] production and/or CD107a expression) of KIR3DL1+ and KIR3DL1− NK cells, from HLA-Bw4+ and HLA-Bw4− HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals, in response to autologous HIV-specific ADCC targets. KIR3DL1+ NK cells were more functional than KIR3DL1− NK cells from HLA-Bw4+, but not HLA-Bw4−, healthy controls. In HIV-infected individuals, no differences in NK cell functionality were observed between KIR3DL1+ and KIR3DL1− NK cells in HLA-Bw4+ individuals, consistent with dysfunction of NK cells in the setting of HIV infection. Reflecting the partial normalization of NK cell responsiveness following initiation of antiretroviral therapy, a significant correlation was observed between the peripheral CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts in antiretroviral therapy-treated subjects and the functionality of NK cells. However, peripheral CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts were not correlated with an anti-HIV ADCC functional advantage in educated KIR3DL1+ NK cells. The abrogation of the functional advantage of educated NK cells may enhance HIV disease progression. Strategies to enhance the potency of NK cell-mediated ADCC may improve HIV therapies and vaccines.
Persistence of HIV DNA presents a major barrier to the complete control of HIV infection under current therapies. Most studies suggest that cells with latently integrated HIV decay very slowly under therapy. However, it is much more difficult to study the turnover and persistence of HIV DNA during active infection. We have developed an “escape clock” approach for measuring the turnover of HIV DNA in resting CD4+ T cells. This approach studies the replacement of wild-type (WT) SIV DNA present in early infection by CTL escape mutant (EM) strains during later infection. Using a strain-specific real time PCR assay, we quantified the relative amounts of WT and EM strains in plasma SIV RNA and cellular SIV DNA. Thus we can track the formation and turnover of SIV DNA in sorted resting CD4+ T cells. We studied serial plasma and PBMC samples from 20 SIV-infected Mane-A*10 positive pigtail macaques that have a signature Gag CTL escape mutation. In animals with low viral load, WT virus laid down early in infection is extremely stable, and the decay of this WT species is very slow, consistent with findings in subjects on anti-retroviral medications. However, during active, high level infection, most SIV DNA in resting cells was turning over rapidly, suggesting a large pool of short-lived DNA produced by recent infection events. Our results suggest that, in order to reduce the formation of a stable population of SIV DNA, it will be important either to intervene very early or intervene during active replication.
New treatments for HIV have proved very successful at controlling viral replication and preventing the onset of AIDS. However, these treatments must be continued for life, because if they are stopped the virus rapidly ‘rebounds’ to its original levels. The reason for this rebound is the existence of a population of viruses that lie dormant inside cells during treatment, and reactivate as soon as treatment is stopped. This ‘latent virus’ is extremely long-lived under drug therapy conditions, and therefore presents a major barrier to viral eradication. However, very little is known about the survival and reactivation of latently infected cells during ongoing infection, because virus is being formed and destroyed all the time. We have developed a novel ‘escape clock’ approach to measure how long viral DNA lasts in monkeys. We find that, in the setting of low viral load, the lifespan of infected cells is very long, whereas during active infection there is a surprisingly high turnover of viral DNA within resting CD4 T cells. We believe this is due to high level of immune activation when there is a high level of replicating virus. This result may have important implications for the optimal timing of drug treatment.
Partial control of HIV occurs during acute infection, although the mechanisms responsible are poorly understood. We studied the ability of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) antibodies in serum to activate natural killer (NK) cells in longitudinal samples from 8 subjects with well-defined early HIV infection who controlled viremia to low levels. NK cell activation by ADCC antibodies to gp140 Env proteins was detected in half of the subjects at the first time point studied, a mean of 111 d after the estimated time of infection. In contrast, ADCC-mediated NK cell activation in response to linear HIV peptides evolved more slowly, over the first 2 y of infection. Our studies suggest that HIV-specific ADCC responses to conformational epitopes occur early during acute HIV infection, and broaden to include linear epitopes over time. These findings have implications for the immune control of HIV.
Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) may assist in preventing HIV or delaying disease progression. Most prior studies have analyzed Env-specific ADCC responses. We hypothesized that effective ADCC-based immunity may target conserved internal viral proteins such as Pol. We analyzed the ability overlapping Pol peptides to induce activation of NK cells via ADCC. We prospectively studied ADCC responses in 83 HIV+ subjects followed for 3 years. Pol peptides were commonly targeted by ADCC responses in these chronically infected subjects (in 32 of the 83 subjects). However, Pol-specific ADCC responses declined over time and did not correlate with delayed HIV progression, measured by either baseline CD4 T cells, CD4 T cell loss over time, baseline viral load or the need to start antiretroviral therapy. Although Pol is frequently targeted by ADCC in HIV+ subjects, the strength or specificity of Pol-specific ADCC responses needs to be modulated to be effective in delaying HIV progression.
Macaques are a potentially useful non-human primate model to compare memory T-cell immunity to acute virus pathogens such as influenza virus and effector T-cell responses to chronic viral pathogens such as SIV. However, immunological reagents to study influenza CD8+ T-cell responses in the macaque model are limited. We recently developed an influenza-SIV vaccination model of pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina) and used this to study both influenza-specific and SIV-specific CD8+ T-cells in 39 pigtail macaques expressing the common Mane-A*10+ (Mane-A01*084) MHC-I allele. To perform comparative studies between influenza and SIV responses a common influenza nucleoprotein-specific CD8+ T-cell response was mapped to a minimal epitope (termed RA9), MHC-restricted to Mane-A*10 and an MHC tetramer developed to study this response. Influenza-specific memory CD8+ T-cell response maintained a highly functional profile in terms of multitude of effector molecule expression (CD107a, IFN-γ, TNF-α, MIP-1β and IL-2) and showed high avidity even in the setting of SIV infection. In contrast, within weeks following active SIV infection, SIV-specific CD8+ effector T-cells expressed fewer cytokines/degranulation markers and had a lower avidity compared to influenza specific CD8+ T-cells. Further, the influenza specific memory CD8 T-cell response retained stable expression of the exhaustion marker programmed death-marker-1 (PD-1) and co-stimulatory molecule CD28 following infection with SIV. This contrasted with the effector SIV-specific CD8+ T-cells following SIV infection which expressed significantly higher amounts of PD-1 and lower amounts of CD28. Our results suggest that strategies to maintain a more functional CD8+ T-cell response, profile may assist in controlling HIV disease.
In response to pressure exerted by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-mediated CD8+ T cell control, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) escape mutations often arise in immunodominant epitopes recognized by MHC class I alleles. While the current standard of care for HIV-infected patients is treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), suppression of viral replication in these patients is not absolute and latently infected cells persist as lifelong reservoirs. To determine whether HIV escape from MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cell control develops during HAART treatment and then enters latent reservoirs in the periphery and central nervous system (CNS), with the potential to emerge as replication-competent virus, we tracked the longitudinal development of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag escape mutation K165R in HAART-treated SIV-infected pigtailed macaques. Key findings of these studies included: (i) SIV Gag K165R escape mutations emerged in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) during the decaying phase of viremia after HAART initiation before suppression of viral replication, (ii) SIV K165R Gag escape mutations were archived in latent proviral DNA reservoirs, including the brain in animals receiving HAART that suppressed viral replication, and (iii) replication-competent SIV Gag K165R escape mutations were present in the resting CD4+ T cell reservoir in HAART-treated SIV-infected macaques. Despite early administration of aggressive antiretroviral treatment, HIV immune escape from CD8+ T cell control can still develop during the decaying phases of viremia and then persist in latent reservoirs, including the brain, with the potential to emerge if HAART therapy is interrupted.
There is an urgent need for a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine that induces robust mucosal immunity. CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) apply substantial antiviral pressure, but CTLs to individual epitopes select for immune escape variants in both HIV in humans and SIV in macaques. Inducing multiple simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CTLs may assist in controlling viremia. We vaccinated 10 Mane-A1*08401+ female pigtail macaques with recombinant influenza viruses expressing three Mane-A1*08401-restricted SIV-specific CTL epitopes and subsequently challenged the animals, along with five controls, intravaginally with SIVmac251. Seroconversion to the influenza virus vector resulted and small, but detectable, SIV-specific CTL responses were induced. There was a boost in CTL responses after challenge but no protection from high-level viremia or CD4 depletion was observed. All three CTL epitopes underwent a coordinated pattern of immune escape during early SIV infection. CTL escape was more rapid in the vaccinees than in the controls at the more dominant CTL epitopes. Although CTL escape can incur a “fitness” cost to the virus, a putative compensatory mutation 20 amino acids upstream from an immunodominant Gag CTL epitope also evolved soon after the primary CTL escape mutation. We conclude that vaccines based only on CTL epitopes will likely be undermined by rapid evolution of both CTL escape and compensatory mutations. More potent and possibly broader immune responses may be required to protect pigtail macaques from SIV.
HIV; AIDS; Vaccine; Asia
Yiming Shao and colleagues describe the work of AVAN, the AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network, which aims to strengthen its regional efforts in finding an AIDS vaccine.
Successful vaccination against HIV should limit viral replication sufficiently to prevent the emergence of viral immune escape mutations. Broadly directed immunity is likely to be required to limit opportunities for immune escape variants to flourish. We studied the emergence of an SIV Gag cytotoxic T cell immune escape variant in pigtail macaques expressing the Mane-A*10 MHC I allele using a quantitative RT-PCR to measure viral loads of escape and wild type variants. Animals receiving whole Gag expressing vaccines completely controlled an SIVmac251 challenge, had broader CTL responses and exhibited minimal CTL escape. In contrast, animals vaccinated with only a single CTL epitope and challenged with the same SIVmac251 stock had high levels of viral replication and rapid CTL escape. Unvaccinated naïve animals exhibited a slower emergence of immune escape variants. Thus narrowly directed vaccination against a single epitope resulted in rapid immune escape and viral levels equivalent to that of naïve unvaccinated animals. These results emphasize the importance of inducing broadly directed HIV-specific immunity that effectively quashes early viral replication and limits the generation of immune escape variants. This has important implications for the selection of HIV vaccines for expanded human trials.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope protein (Env) is subject to both neutralizing antibody (NAb) and CD8 T-cell (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte [CTL]) immune pressure. We studied the reversion of the Env CTL escape mutant virus to the wild type and the relationship between the reversion of CTL mutations with N-linked glycosylation site (NLGS)-driven NAb escape in pigtailed macaques. Env CTL mutations either did not revert to the wild type or only transiently reverted 5 to 7 weeks after infection. The CTL escape mutant reversion was coincident, for the same viral clones, with the loss of NLGS mutations. At one site studied, both CTL and NLGS mutations were needed to confer NAb escape. We conclude that CTL and NAb escape within Env can be tightly linked, suggesting opportunities to induce effective multicomponent anti-Env immunity.
Hepatits B virus (HBV)-specific T cells play a key role both in the control of HBV replication and in the pathogenesis of liver disease. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) coinfection and the presence or absence of HBV e (precore) antigen (HBeAg) significantly alter the natural history of chronic HBV infection. We examined the HBV-specific T-cell responses in treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative HIV-1-HBV-coinfected (n = 24) and HBV-monoinfected (n = 39) Asian patients. Peripheral blood was stimulated with an overlapping peptide library for the whole HBV genome, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and gamma interferon cytokine expression in CD8+ T cells was measured by intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry. There was no difference in the overall magnitude of the HBV-specific T-cell responses, but the quality of the response was significantly impaired in HIV-1-HBV-coinfected patients compared with monoinfected patients. In coinfected patients, HBV-specific T cells rarely produced more than one cytokine and responded to fewer HBV proteins than in monoinfected patients. Overall, the frequency and quality of the HBV-specific T-cell responses increased with a higher CD4+ T-cell count (P = 0.018 and 0.032, respectively). There was no relationship between circulating HBV-specific T cells and liver damage as measured by activity and fibrosis scores, and the HBV-specific T-cell responses were not significantly different in patients with either HBeAg-positive or HBeAg-negative disease. The quality of the HBV-specific T-cell response is impaired in the setting of HIV-1-HBV coinfection and is related to the CD4+ T-cell count.
NKT cells are a specialized population of T lymphocytes that have an increasingly recognized role in immunoregulation, including controlling the response to viral infections. The characteristics of NKT cells in the peripheral blood of macaques during simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or chimeric simian/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (SHIV) infection were assessed. NKT cells comprised a mean of 0.19% of peripheral blood lymphocytes across the 64 uninfected macaques studied. Although the range in the percentages of NKT cells was large (0 to 2.2%), levels were stable over time within individual macaques without SIV/SHIV infection. The majority of NKT cells in macaques were CD4+ (on average 67%) with smaller populations being CD8+ (21%) and CD4/CD8 double positive (13%). A precipitous decline in CD4+ NKT cells occurred in all six macaques infected with CXCR4-tropic SHIVmn229 early after infection, with a concomitant rise in CD8+ NKT cells in some animals. The depletion of CD4+ NKT cells was tightly correlated with the depletion of total CD4+ T cells. R5-tropic SIVmac251 infection of macaques resulted in a slower and more variable decline in CD4+ NKT cells, with animals that were able to control SIV virus levels maintaining higher levels of CD4+ NKT cells. An inverse correlation between the depletion of total and CD4+ NKT cells and SIV viral load during chronic infection was observed. Our results demonstrate the infection-driven depletion of peripheral CD4+ NKT cells during both SHIV and SIV infection of macaques. Further studies of the implications of the loss of NKT cell subsets in the pathogenesis of HIV disease are needed.
Practical immunotherapies for human immunodeficiency virus infection are needed. We evaluated inactivated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) pulsed onto fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells in 12 pigtail macaques with chronic SIVmac251 infection for T-cell immunogenicity in a randomized cross-over design study. The immunotherapy was safe and convincingly induced high levels of SIV-specific CD4+ T-cell responses (mean, 5.9% ± 1.3% of all CD4+ T cells) and to a lesser extent SIV-specific CD8+ T-cell responses (mean, 0.7% ± 0.4%). Responses were primarily directed toward Gag and less frequently toward Env but not Pol or regulatory/accessory SIV proteins. T-cell responses against Gag were generally broad and polyfunctional, with a mean of 2.7 CD4+ T-cell epitopes mapped per animal and more than half of the SIV Gag-specific CD4+ T cells expressing three or more effector molecules. The immunogenicity was comparable to that found in previous studies of peptide-pulsed blood cells. Despite the high-level immunogenicity, no reduction in viral load was observed in the chronically viremic macaques. This contrasts with our studies of immunization with peptide-pulsed blood cells during early SIV infection in macaques. Future studies of inactivated virus-pulsed blood cell immunotherapy during early infection of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy are warranted.
T-cell receptors (TCRs) govern the specificity, efficacy, and cross-reactivity of CD8 T cells. Here, we studied CD8 T-cell clonotypes from Mane-A*10+ pigtail macaques responding to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag KP9 epitope in a setting of vaccination and subsequent viral challenge. We observed a diverse TCR repertoire after DNA, recombinant poxvirus, and live attenuated virus vaccination, with none of 59 vaccine-induced KP9-specific TCRs being identical between macaques. The KP9-specific TCR repertoires remained diverse after SIV or simian-human immunodeficiency virus challenge but, remarkably, exhibited substantially different clonotypic compositions compared to the corresponding populations prechallenge. Within serial samples from individual pigtail macaques, only a small subset (33.9%) of TCRs induced by vaccination were maintained or expanded after challenge. Most (66.1%) of the TCRs induced by vaccination were not detectable after challenge. Our results suggest that some CD8 T cells induced by vaccination are more efficient than others at responding to a viral challenge. These findings have implications for future AIDS virus vaccine studies, which should consider the “fitness” of vaccine-induced T cells in order to generate robust responses in the face of virus exposure.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection frequently causes neurologic disease even with anti-retroviral treatment. Although associations between MHC class I alleles and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been reported, the role MHC class I alleles play in restricting development of HIV-induced organ-specific diseases, including neurologic disease, has not been characterized. This study examined the relationship between expression of the MHC class I allele Mane-A*10 and development of lentiviral-induced central nervous system (CNS) disease using a well-characterized simian immunodeficiency (SIV)/pigtailed macaque model. The risk of developing CNS disease (SIV encephalitis) was 2.5 times higher for animals that did not express the MHC class I allele Mane-A*10 (P = 0.002; RR = 2.5). Animals expressing the Mane-A*10 allele had significantly lower amounts of activated macrophages, SIV RNA, and neuronal dysfunction in the CNS than Mane-A*10 negative animals (P<0.001). Mane-A*10 positive animals with the highest CNS viral burdens contained SIV gag escape mutants at the Mane-A*10-restricted KP9 epitope in the CNS whereas wild type KP9 sequences dominated in the brain of Mane-A*10 negative animals with comparable CNS viral burdens. These concordant findings demonstrate that particular MHC class I alleles play major neuroprotective roles in lentiviral-induced CNS disease.
Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is a potentially effective adaptive immune response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The study of ADCC responses has been hampered by the lack of simple methods to quantify these responses and map effective epitopes. We serendipitously observed that standard intracellular cytokine assays on fresh whole blood from a cohort of 26 HIV-infected subjects identified non-T lymphocytes expressing gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in response to overlapping linear peptides spanning HIV-1 proteins. The effector cells were CD3− CD4− CD8− CD14− CD2+ CD56+/− NK lymphocytes and degranulated granzyme B and perforin in response to antigen stimulation. Serum transfer assays demonstrated that the specific response was mediated by immunoglobulin G. Fresh blood samples from half of the HIV-infected cohort demonstrated robust HIV peptide-specific IFN-γ expression by NK cells, predominately to Env, Pol, and Vpu HIV-1 proteins. Responses were readily mapped to define minimal epitopes utilizing this assay. Antibody-dependent, HIV-specific NK cell recognition, involving components of both innate and adaptive immune systems, represents a potentially effective immune response to induce by vaccination.
Infections with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the closely related monkey viruses simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are characterized by progressive waves of immune responses, followed by viral mutation and “immune escape.” However, escape mutation usually leads to lower replicative fitness, and in the absence of immune pressure, an escape mutant (EM) virus “reverts” to the wild-type phenotype. Analysis of the dynamics of immune escape and reversion has suggested it is a mechanism for identifying the immunogens best capable of controlling viremia. We have analyzed and modeled data of the dynamics of wild-type (WT) and EM viruses during SHIV infection of macaques. Modeling suggests that the dynamics of reversion and immune escape should be determined by the availability of target cells for infection. Consistent with this suggestion, we find that the rate of reversion of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) EM virus strongly correlates with the number of CD4+ T cells available for infection. This phenomenon also affects the rate of immune escape, since this rate is determined by the balance of CTL killing and the WT fitness advantage. This analysis predicts that the optimal timing for the selection of immune escape variants will be immediately after the peak of viremia and that the development of escape variants at later times will lead to slower selection. This has important implications for comparative studies of immune escape and reversion in different infections and for identifying epitopes with high fitness cost for use as vaccine targets.