Translation of HLA-HIV associations to the cellular level: HIV adapts to inflate CD8 T cell responses against Nef and HLA-adapted variant epitopes.
ABSTRACT: Strong statistical associations between polymorphisms in HIV-1 population sequences and carriage of HLA class I alleles have been widely used to identify possible sites of CD8 T cell immune selection in vivo. However, there have been few attempts to prospectively and systematically test these genetic hypotheses arising from population-based studies at a cellular, functional level. We assayed CD8 T cell epitope-specific IFN-? responses in 290 individuals from the same cohort, which gave rise to 874 HLA-HIV associations in genetic analyses, taking into account autologous viral sequences and individual HLA genotypes. We found immunological evidence for 58% of 374 associations tested as sites of primary immune selection and identified up to 50 novel HIV-1 epitopes using this reverse-genomics approach. Many HLA-adapted epitopes elicited equivalent or higher-magnitude IFN-? responses than did the nonadapted epitopes, particularly in Nef. At a population level, inclusion of all of the immunoreactive variant CD8 T cell epitopes in Gag, Pol, Nef, and Env suggested that HIV adaptation leads to an inflation of Nef-directed immune responses relative to other proteins. We concluded that HLA-HIV associations mark viral epitopes subject to CD8 T cell selection. These results can be used to guide functional studies of specific epitopes and escape mutations, as well as to test, train, and evaluate analytical models of viral escape and fitness. The inflation of Nef and HLA-adapted variant responses may have negative effects on natural and vaccine immunity against HIV and, therefore, has implications for diversity coverage approaches in HIV vaccine design.
Project description:Antiretroviral therapy, antibody and CD8+ T cell-mediated responses targeting human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) exert selection pressure on the virus necessitating escape; however, the ability of CD4+ T cells to exert selective pressure remains unclear. Using a computational approach on HIV gag/pol/nef sequences and HLA-II allelic data, we identified 29 HLA-II associated HIV sequence polymorphisms or adaptations (HLA-AP) in an African cohort of chronically HIV-infected individuals. Epitopes encompassing the predicted adaptation (AE) or its non-adapted (NAE) version were evaluated for immunogenicity. Using a CD8-depleted IFN-γ ELISpot assay, we determined that the magnitude of CD4+ T cell responses to the predicted epitopes in controllers was higher compared to non-controllers (p<0.0001). However, regardless of the group, the magnitude of responses to AE was lower as compared to NAE (p<0.0001). CD4+ T cell responses in patients with acute HIV infection (AHI) demonstrated poor immunogenicity towards AE as compared to NAE encoded by their transmitted founder virus. Longitudinal data in AHI off antiretroviral therapy demonstrated sequence changes that were biologically confirmed to represent CD4+ escape mutations. These data demonstrate an innovative application of HLA-associated polymorphisms to identify biologically relevant CD4+ epitopes and suggests CD4+ T cells are active participants in driving HIV evolution.
Project description:The well-characterized association between HLA-B*27:05 and protection against HIV disease progression has been linked to immunodominant HLA-B*27:05-restricted CD8+ T-cell responses toward the conserved Gag KK10 (residues 263 to 272) and polymerase (Pol) KY9 (residues 901 to 909) epitopes. We studied the impact of the 3 amino acid differences between HLA-B*27:05 and the closely related HLA-B*27:02 on the HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell response hierarchy and on immune control of HIV. Genetic epidemiological data indicate that both HLA-B*27:02 and HLA-B*27:05 are associated with slower disease progression and lower viral loads. The effect of HLA-B*27:02 appeared to be consistently stronger than that of HLA-B*27:05. In contrast to HLA-B*27:05, the immunodominant HIV-specific HLA-B*27:02-restricted CD8+ T-cell response is to a Nef epitope (residues 142 to 150 [VW9]), with Pol KY9 subdominant and Gag KK10 further subdominant. This selection was driven by structural differences in the F pocket, mediated by a polymorphism between these two HLA alleles at position 81. Analysis of autologous virus sequences showed that in HLA-B*27:02-positive subjects, all three of these CD8+ T-cell responses impose selection pressure on the virus, whereas in HLA-B*27:05-positive subjects, there is no Nef VW9-mediated selection pressure. These studies demonstrate that HLA-B*27:02 mediates protection against HIV disease progression that is at least as strong as or stronger than that mediated by HLA-B*27:05. In combination with the protective Gag KK10 and Pol KY9 CD8+ T-cell responses that dominate HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell activity in HLA-B*27:05-positive subjects, a Nef VW9-specific response is additionally present and immunodominant in HLA-B*27:02-positive subjects, mediated through a polymorphism at residue 81 in the F pocket, that contributes to selection pressure against HIV.IMPORTANCE CD8+ T cells play a central role in successful control of HIV infection and have the potential also to mediate the eradication of viral reservoirs of infection. The principal means by which protective HLA class I molecules, such as HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*57:01, slow HIV disease progression is believed to be via the particular HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses restricted by those alleles. We focus here on HLA-B*27:05, one of the best-characterized protective HLA molecules, and the closely related HLA-B*27:02, which differs by only 3 amino acids and which has not been well studied in relation to control of HIV infection. We show that HLA-B*27:02 is also protective against HIV disease progression, but the CD8+ T-cell immunodominance hierarchy of HLA-B*27:02 differs strikingly from that of HLA-B*27:05. These findings indicate that the immunodominant HLA-B*27:02-restricted Nef response adds to protection mediated by the Gag and Pol specificities that dominate anti-HIV CD8+ T-cell activity in HLA-B*27:05-positive subjects.
Project description:Developing a vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be aided by a complete understanding of those rare cases in which some HIV-infected individuals control replication of the virus. Most of these elite controllers express the histocompatibility alleles HLA-B*57 or HLA-B*27 (ref. 3). These alleles remain by far the most robust associations with low concentrations of plasma virus, yet the mechanism of control in these individuals is not entirely clear. Here we vaccinate Indian rhesus macaques that express Mamu-B*08, an animal model for HLA-B*27-mediated elite control, with three Mamu-B*08-restricted CD8(+) T-cell epitopes, and demonstrate that these vaccinated animals control replication of the highly pathogenic clonal simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) mac239 virus. High frequencies of CD8(+) T cells against these Vif and Nef epitopes in the blood, lymph nodes and colon were associated with viral control. Moreover, the frequency of the CD8(+) T-cell response against the Nef RL10 epitope (Nef amino acids 137-146) correlated significantly with reduced acute phase viraemia. Finally, two of the eight vaccinees lost control of viral replication in the chronic phase, concomitant with escape in all three targeted epitopes, further implicating these three CD8(+) T-cell responses in the control of viral replication. Our findings indicate that narrowly targeted vaccine-induced virus-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses can control replication of the AIDS virus.
Project description:HLA alleles B57/58, B27, and B35 have the strongest genetic associations with HIV-1 disease progression. The mechanisms of these relationships may be host control of HIV-1 infection via CD8(+) T-cell responses. We examined these immune responses in subjects from the Seattle Primary Infection Cohort with these alleles. CD8(+) T-cell responses to conserved HIV epitopes within B57/58 alleles (TW10 and KF11) and B27 alleles (KK10 and FY10) delayed declines in CD4(+) T-cell counts (4 to 8 times longer), while responses to variable epitopes presented by B35 alleles (DL9 and IL9) resulted in more rapid progression. The plasma viral load was higher in B57/58(+) and B27(+) subjects lacking the conserved B57/58- and B27-restricted responses. The presence of certain B57/58-, B27-, and B35-restricted HIV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses after primary HIV-1 infection better defined disease progression than the HLA genotype alone, suggesting that it is the HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells and not the presence of a particular HLA allele that determine disease progression. Further, the most effective host CD8(+) T-cell responses to HIV-1 were prevalent within an HLA allele, represented a high total allele fraction of the host CD8(+) T-cell response, and targeted conserved regions of HIV-1. These data suggest that vaccine immunogens should contain only conserved regions of HIV-1.
Project description:We aimed to identify cross-clade human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) specific T-cell responses among 10 HLA-typed individuals who were infected with non-B HIV-1 strains (A, AG, C, D, G, or F) and to correlate these responses with genetic variation in documented T-cell epitopes. T-cell reactivity was tested against peptide pools spanning clade B Gag, Pol, Nef, Rev, and Tat consensus, with Gag and Nef providing the highest responses. Nine individuals who responded to clade B Gag demonstrated cross-reactive T-cell responses against clade A and C Gag pools, while six of seven responders to Nef-B reacted to clade A and C Nef pools. An inverse correlation between the height of the T-cell responses and the sequence divergence of the HLA class I-restricted epitopes was identified when we compared autologous Gag and Nef sequences with the reactive consensus pools. This could be explained for the Gag sequences through observed variations in the HLA anchor residues. Through mapping of 30 amino acid cross-clade-reactive regions using Gag-B pools, we were able to link 58% (14/24) of the T-cell responses to regions containing previously described HLA class I-restricted epitopes. Forty-two percent (10/24) of the responses were directed to regions containing new epitopes, for which predicted HLA class I motifs could be recognized in 70% (7/10) of individuals. We demonstrate here that cross-clade T-cell responses are frequently induced in individuals infected with distinct HIV-1 clades, suggesting that interclade variation outside of HLA anchor residues may have less impact on vaccine-induced T-cell reactivity than previously thought.
Project description:Human leukocyte antigen HLA-B alleles have better protective activity against HIV-1 than HLA-A alleles, possibly due to differences in HLA-restricted HIV-1-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) function, but the mechanism is unknown. HIV-1 negative regulatory factor (Nef) mediates down-regulation of surface expression of class I HLA (HLA-I) and may therefore impair immune recognition by CTL. Because of sequence differences in the cytoplasmic domains, HLA-A and -B are down-regulated by Nef but HLA-C and -E are not affected. However, the latter are expressed at low levels and are not of major importance in the CTL responses to HIV-1. Here, we compared the role of the cytoplasmic domains of HLA-A and -B in Nef-mediated escape from CTL. We found HLA-B cytoplasmic domains were more resistant to Nef-mediated down-regulation than HLA-A cytoplasmic domains and demonstrated that these differences affect CTL recognition of virus-infected cells in vitro. We propose that the relative resistance to Nef-mediated down-regulation by the cytoplasmic domains of HLA-B compared with HLA-A contributes to the better control of HIV-1 infection associated with HLA-B-restricted CTLs.
Project description: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.
Project description:HIV-1 specific HLA-B-restricted CD8+ T cell responses differ from HLA-C-restricted responses in antiviral effectiveness. To investigate possible reasons for these differences, we characterized the frequency and polyfunctionality of immmunodominant HLA-B*57/B5801- and HLA-Cw*07-restricted CD8+ T cells occurring concurrently in nine study subjects assessing IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-2, MIP-1beta, and CD107a by flow cytometry and analyzed sequence variation in targeted epitopes. HLA-B*57/5801 and HLA-Cw*07 restricted CD8+ T cells did not differ significantly in polyfunctionality (p=0.84). Possession of three or more functions correlated positively with CD4+ T cell counts (r=0.85; p=0.006) and monofunctional CD8+ T cells inversely correlated with CD4 cell counts (r=-0.79; p=0.05). There were no differences in polyfunctionality of CD8+ T cells specific to wildtype versus mutated epitopes. These results suggest that loss of polyfunctionality and increase in monofunctional HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells are associated with disease progression independent of restricting HLA allele. Furthermore, sequence variation does not appear to significantly impact CD8+ T cell polyfunctionality in chronic HIV-1 infection.
Project description:Viral escape from HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cells has been demonstrated in numerous studies previously. However, the qualitative features driving the emergence of mutations within epitopes are still unclear. In this study, we aimed to distinguish whether specific functional characteristics of HLA-B*5701-restricted CD8(+) T cells influence the emergence of mutations in high-risk progressors (HRPs) versus low-risk progressors (LRPs). Single-genome sequencing was performed to detect viral mutations (variants) within seven HLA-B*5701-restricted epitopes in Gag (n = 4) and Nef (n = 3) in six untreated HLA-B*5701 subjects followed from early infection up to 7 y. Several well-characterized effector markers (IFN-?, IL-2, MIP-1?, TNF, CD107a, and perforin) were identified by flow cytometry following autologous (initial and emerging variant/s) epitope stimulations. This study demonstrates that specific functional attributes may facilitate the outgrowth of mutations within HLA-B*5701-restricted epitopes. A significantly lower fraction of IL-2-producing cells and a decrease in functional avidity and polyfunctional sensitivity were evident in emerging epitope variants compared with the initial autologous epitopes. Interestingly, the HRPs mainly drove these differences, whereas the LRPs maintained a directed and maintained functional response against emerging epitope variants. In addition, LRPs induced improved cell-cycle progression and perforin upregulation after autologous and emerging epitope variant stimulations in contrast to HRPs. The maintained quantitative and qualitative features of the CD8(+) T cell responses in LRPs toward emerging epitope variants provide insights into why HLA-B*5701 subjects have different risks of HIV-1 disease progression.
Project description:Identification and characterization of CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell epitopes elicited by HIV therapeutic vaccination is key for elucidating the nature of protective cellular responses and mechanism of the immune evasion of HIV. Here, we report the characterization of HIV-specific T-cell responses in cART (combination antiretroviral therapy) treated HIV-1 infected patients after vaccination with ex vivo-generated IFN? Dendritic Cells (DCs) loaded with LIPO-5 (HIV-1 Nef 66-97, Nef 116-145, Gag 17-35, Gag 253-284 and Pol 325-355 lipopeptides). Vaccination induced and/or expanded HIV-specific CD8+ T cells producing IFN?, perforin, granzyme A and granzyme B, and also CD4+ T cells secreting IFN?, IL-2 and IL-13. These responses were directed against dominant and subdominant epitopes representing all vaccine regions; Gag, Pol and Nef. Interestingly, IL-2 and IL-13 produced by CD4+ T cells were negatively correlated with the peak of viral replication following analytic treatment interruption (ATI). Epitope mapping confirmed that vaccination elicited responses against predicted T-cell epitopes, but also allowed to identify a set of 8 new HIV-1 HLA-DR-restricted CD4+ T-cell epitopes. These results may help to better design future DC therapeutic vaccines and underscore the role of vaccine-elicited CD4+ T-cell responses to achieve control of HIV replication.