Immune-driven recombination and loss of control after HIV superinfection.
ABSTRACT: After acute HIV infection, CD8(+) T cells are able to control viral replication to a set point. This control is often lost after superinfection, although the mechanism behind this remains unclear. In this study, we illustrate in an HLA-B27(+) subject that loss of viral control after HIV superinfection coincides with rapid recombination events within two narrow regions of Gag and Env. Screening for CD8(+) T cell responses revealed that each of these recombination sites (approximately 50 aa) encompassed distinct regions containing two immunodominant CD8 epitopes (B27-KK10 in Gag and Cw1-CL9 in Env). Viral escape and the subsequent development of variant-specific de novo CD8(+) T cell responses against both epitopes were illustrative of the significant immune selection pressures exerted by both responses. Comprehensive analysis of the kinetics of CD8 responses and viral evolution indicated that the recombination events quickly facilitated viral escape from both dominant WT- and variant-specific responses. These data suggest that the ability of a superinfecting strain of HIV to overcome preexisting immune control may be related to its ability to rapidly recombine in critical regions under immune selection pressure. These data also support a role for cellular immune pressures in driving the selection of new recombinant forms of HIV.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific CD8 T lymphocytes are important for the control of viremia, but the relative utility of responses to the various HIV proteins is controversial. Immune responses that force escape mutations that exact a significant fitness cost from the mutating virus would help slow progression to AIDS. The HIV envelope (Env) protein is subject to both humoral and cellular immune responses, suggesting that multiple rounds of mutation are needed to facilitate viral escape. The Gag protein, however, has recently been shown to elicit a more effective CD8 T-cell immune response in humans. We studied 30 pigtail macaques for their CD8 T-lymphocyte responses to HIV-1 Env and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag following prime/boost vaccination and intrarectal challenge with simian-human immunodeficiency virus SHIV(mn229). Eight CD8 Env-specific T-cell epitopes were identified and mapped in 10 animals. Animals that generated Env-specific CD8 T-cell responses had equivalent viral loads and only a modest advantage in retention of peripheral CD4 T lymphocytes compared to those animals without responses to Env. This contrasts with animals that generated CD8 T-cell responses to SIV Gag in the same trial, demonstrating superior control of viral load and a larger advantage in retention of peripheral CD4 T cells than Gag nonresponders. Mutational escape was common in Env but, in contrast to mutations in Gag, did not result in the rapid emergence of dominant escape motifs, suggesting modest selective pressure from Env-specific T cells. These results suggest that Env may have limited utility as a CD8 T-cell immunogen.
Project description:Investigating the incidence and prevalence of HIV-1 superinfection is challenging due to the complex dynamics of two infecting strains. The superinfecting strain can replace the initial strain, be transiently expressed, or persist along with the initial strain in distinct or in recombined forms. Various selective pressures influence these alternative scenarios in different HIV-1 coding regions. We hypothesized that the potency of the neutralizing antibody (NAb) response to autologous viruses would modulate viral dynamics in env following superinfection in a limited set of superinfection cases. HIV-1 env pyrosequencing data were generated from blood plasma collected from 7 individuals with evidence of superinfection. Viral variants within each patient were screened for recombination, and viral dynamics were evaluated using nucleotide diversity. NAb responses to autologous viruses were evaluated before and after superinfection. In 4 individuals, the superinfecting strain replaced the original strain. In 2 individuals, both initial and superinfecting strains continued to cocirculate. In the final individual, the surviving lineage was the product of interstrain recombination. NAb responses to autologous viruses that were detected within the first 2 years of HIV-1 infection were weak or absent for 6 of the 7 recently infected individuals at the time of and shortly following superinfection. These 6 individuals had detectable on-going viral replication of distinct superinfecting virus in the env coding region. In the remaining case, there was an early and strong autologous NAb response, which was associated with extensive recombination in env between initial and superinfecting strains. This extensive recombination made superinfection more difficult to identify and may explain why the detection of superinfection has typically been associated with low autologous NAb titers.
Project description:The ability to elicit an immune response to a spectrum of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene products from divergent strains is a desirable feature of an AIDS vaccine. In this study, we examined combinations of plasmids expressing multiple HIV-1 genes from different clades for their ability to elicit humoral and cellular immune responses in mice. Immunization with a modified Env, gp145DeltaCFI, in combination with a Gag-Pol-Nef fusion protein plasmid elicited similar CD4(+) and CD8(+) cellular responses to immunization with either vector alone. Further, when mice were immunized with a mixture of Env from three clades, A, B, and C, together with Gag-Pol-Nef, the overall potency and balance of CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T-cell responses to all viral antigens were similar, with only minor differences noted. In addition, plasmid mixtures elicited antibody responses comparable to those from individual inoculations. These findings suggest that a multigene and multiclade vaccine, including components from A, B, and C Env and Gag-Pol-Nef, can broaden antiviral immune responses without immune interference. Such combinations of immunogens may help to address concerns about viral genetic diversity for a prospective HIV-1 vaccine.
Project description:The combination of multiple HIV antigens in a vaccine can broaden antiviral immune responses. In this study, we used NDV vaccine strain LaSota to generate rNDV (rLaSota/optGag) expressing human codon optimized p55 Gag protein of HIV-1. We examined the effect of co-immunization of rLaSota/optGag with rNDVs expressing different forms of Env protein gp160, gp120, gp140L [a version of gp140 that lacked cytoplasmic tail and contained complete membrane-proximal external region (MPER)] and gp140S (a version of gp140 that lacked cytoplasmic tail and distal half of MPER) on magnitude and breadth of humoral, mucosal and cellular immune responses in guinea pigs and mice. Our results showed that inclusion of rLaSota/optGag with rNDVs expressing different forms of Env HIV Gag did not affect the Env-specific humoral and mucosal immune responses in guinea pigs and that the potent immune responses generated against Env persisted for at least 13 weeks post immunization. The highest Env-specific humoral and mucosal immune responses were observed with gp140S+optGag group. The neutralizing antibody responses against HIV strains BaL.26 and MN.3 induced by gp140S+optGag and gp160+optGag were higher than those elicited by other groups. Inclusion of Gag with gp160, gp140S and gp140L enhanced the level of Env-specific IFN-?-producing CD8(+) T cells in mice. Inclusion of Gag with gp160 and gp140L also resulted in increased Env-specific CD4(+) T cells. The level of Gag-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells was also enhanced in mice immunized with Gag along with gp140S and gp120. These results indicate lack of antigen interference in a vaccine containing rNDVs expressing Env and Gag proteins.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific natural killer (CD3- cells), CD4, and CD8 T cellular responses were determined in 79 HIV‐1-infected women in response to HIV‐1 peptide pools (Gag, Pol, Nef, Reg, and Env) with use of a whole‐blood intracellular cytokine staining assay that measures interferon-γ and/or interleukin-2. HIV‐specific CD3- cell responses to any region (Env and Reg predominantly targeted) were associated with lower viral load (P = .031) and higher CD4 T cell count (P = .015). Env‐specific CD3- cell responses were stronger in women who had both Gag CD4 and CD8 T cell responses and, in turn, was associated with lower viral load (P = .005). CD3- cell responders had significantly higher representation of CD4 T cell responses to Env and Reg (P = .012 and P = .015, respectively) and higher magnitudes of CD4 T cell responses (P = .017 and P = .037, respectively) than did nonresponders. Peptide‐specific natural killer cells are associated with markers of less severe disease progression among HIV‐1-infected women (lower viral load and higher CD4 T cell count) and with stronger HIV‐specific T cell responses.
Project description:The key attributes of CD8+ T cell protective immunity in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remain unclear. We report that CD8+ T cell responses specific for Gag and, in particular, the immunodominant p24 epitope KK10 correlate with control of HIV-1 replication in human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 patients. To understand further the nature of CD8+ T cell-mediated antiviral efficacy, we performed a comprehensive study of CD8+ T cells specific for the HLA-B27-restricted epitope KK10 in chronic HIV-1 infection based on the use of multiparametric flow cytometry together with molecular clonotypic analysis and viral sequencing. We show that B27-KK10-specific CD8+ T cells are characterized by polyfunctional capabilities, increased clonal turnover, and superior functional avidity. Such attributes are interlinked and constitute the basis for effective control of HIV-1 replication. These data on the features of effective CD8+ T cells in HIV infection may aid in the development of successful T cell vaccines.
Project description:HIV sequence diversity and the propensity of eliciting immunodominant responses targeting inessential variable regions are hurdles in the development of an effective AIDS vaccine. We developed a DNA vaccine comprising conserved elements (CE) of SIV p27Gag and HIV-1 Env and found that priming vaccination with CE DNA is critical to efficiently overcome the dominance imposed by Gag and Env variable regions. Here, we show that DNA vaccinated macaques receiving the CE prime/CE+full-length DNA co-delivery booster vaccine regimens developed broad, potent and durable cytotoxic T cell responses targeting conserved protein segments of SIV Gag and HIV Env. Gag CE-specific T cells showed robust anamnestic responses upon infection with SIVmac239 which led to the identification of CE-specific cytotoxic lymphocytes able to recognize epitopes covering distinct CE on the surface of SIV infected cells in vivo. Though not controlling infection overall, we found an inverse correlation between Gag CE-specific CD8+ T cell responses and peak viremia. The T cell responses induced by the HIV Env CE immunogen were recalled in some animals upon SIV infection, leading to the identification of two cross-reactive epitopes between HIV and SIV Env based in sequence homology. These data demonstrate that a vaccine combining Gag and Env CE DNA subverted the normal immunodominance patterns, eliciting immune responses that included subdominant, highly conserved epitopes. These vaccine regimens augment cytotoxic T cell responses to highly conserved epitopes in the viral proteome and maximize response breadth. The vaccine-induced CE-specific T cells were expanded upon SIV infection, indicating that the predicted CE epitopes incorporated in the DNA vaccine are processed and exposed by infected cells in their natural context within the viral proteome.
Project description:T cell responses have been implicated in reduced risk of HIV acquisition in uninfected persons and control of viral replication in HIV-infected individuals. HIV Gag-specific T cells have been predominantly associated with post-infection control, whereas Env antigens are the target for protective antibodies; therefore, inclusion of both antigens is common in HIV vaccine design. However, inclusion of multiple antigens may provoke antigenic competition, reducing the potential effectiveness of the vaccine. HVTN 084 was a randomized, multicenter, double-blind phase 1 trial to investigate whether adding Env to a Gag/Pol vaccine decreases the magnitude or breadth of Gag/Pol-specific T cell responses. Fifty volunteers each received one intramuscular injection of 1 × 1010 particle units (PU) of rAd5 Gag/Pol and EnvA/B/C (3:1:1:1 mixture) or 5 × 109 PU of rAd5 Gag/Pol. CD4+ T cell responses to Gag/Pol measured 4 weeks after vaccination by cytokine expression were significantly higher in the group vaccinated without Env, whereas CD8+ T cell responses did not differ significantly between the two groups. Mapping of individual epitopes revealed greater breadth of the Gag/Pol-specific T cell response in the absence of Env compared to Env coimmunization. Addition of an Env component to a Gag/Pol vaccine led to reduced Gag/Pol CD4+ T cell response rate and magnitude as well as reduced epitope breadth, confirming the presence of antigenic competition. Therefore, T cell-based vaccine strategies should aim at choosing a minimalist set of antigens to reduce interference of individual vaccine components with the induction of the maximally achievable immune response.
Project description:Gag-CD8+ T cell responses are associated with immune control of HIV infection. Since during HIV infection Nef impairs T cell responses, we evaluated whether deletion of nef from a non-infectious HIV DNA vaccine (Delta4 Nef+), creating Delta5 Nef(-), would affect its immunogenicity. When compared with Delta4, mice injected with Delta5 developed significantly lower CD8+ T cell responses to Gag, but no significant change in the responses to Env was observed. In vitro, deletion of Nef abrogated the induced cell death, production of virus-like particles and release of Gag from transfected cells. Thus, the effect of Nef in causing extrusion of Gag might adjuvant the CD8+ T cell responses to Gag in DNA vaccine.
Project description:Worldwide HIV-1 vaccine efforts are guided by the principle that HIV-specific T cell responses may provide protection from infection or delay overt disease. However, no clear correlates of T cell-mediated immune protection have been identified. Here, we examine in a HLA-B27(+) HIV seronegative vaccinee persistent HIV-specific vaccine-induced anti-Gag CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. Although these responses exhibited those characteristics (multifunctionality, appropriate memory phenotype, and targeting of epitopes associated with long-term nonprogression) predicted to correlate with protection from infection, the subject became HIV infected. After HIV infection, the vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cells expanded, but both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses acquired the functional and phenotypic patterns characteristic of chronic HIV infection. The virus quickly escaped the vaccine-induced T cell response, and the subject progressed more rapidly than expected for someone expressing the HLA-B27 allele. These data suggest that control of HIV by vaccine-elicited HIV-specific T cell responses may be difficult, even when the T cell response has those characteristics predicted to provide optimal protection.