Immune escape precedes breakthrough human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viremia and broadening of the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response in an HLA-B27-positive long-term-nonprogressing child.
Feeney ME., Tang Y., Roosevelt KA., Leslie AJ., McIntosh K., Karthas N., Walker BD., Goulder PJ.
The emergence of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutations in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) proteins has been anecdotally associated with progression to AIDS, but it has been difficult to determine whether viral mutation is the cause or the result of increased viral replication. Here we describe a perinatally HIV-infected child who maintained a plasma viral load of <400 copies/ml for almost a decade until a nonbinding escape mutation emerged within the immunodominant CTL epitope. The child subsequently experienced a reemergence of HIV-1 viremia accompanied by a marked increase in the number of CTL epitopes targeted. This temporal pattern suggests that CD8 escape can play a causal role in the loss of immune control.