Differential clade-specific HLA-B*3501 association with HIV-1 disease outcome is linked to immunogenicity of a single Gag epitope.
Matthews PC., Koyanagi M., Kløverpris HN., Harndahl M., Stryhn A., Akahoshi T., Gatanaga H., Oka S., Juarez Molina C., Valenzuela Ponce H., Avila Rios S., Cole D., Carlson J., Payne RP., Ogwu A., Bere A., Ndung'u T., Gounder K., Chen F., Riddell L., Luzzi G., Shapiro R., Brander C., Walker B., Sewell AK., Reyes Teran G., Heckerman D., Hunter E., Buus S., Takiguchi M., Goulder PJ.
The strongest genetic influence on immune control in HIV-1 infection is the HLA class I genotype. Rapid disease progression in B-clade infection has been linked to HLA-B*35 expression, in particular to the less common HLA-B*3502 and HLA-B*3503 subtypes but also to the most prevalent subtype, HLA-B*3501. In these studies we first demonstrated that whereas HLA-B*3501 is associated with a high viral set point in two further B-clade-infected cohorts, in Japan and Mexico, this association does not hold in two large C-clade-infected African cohorts. We tested the hypothesis that clade-specific differences in HLA associations with disease outcomes may be related to distinct targeting of critical CD8(+) T-cell epitopes. We observed that only one epitope was significantly targeted differentially, namely, the Gag-specific epitope NPPIPVGDIY (NY10, Gag positions 253 to 262) (P = 2 × 10(-5)). In common with two other HLA-B*3501-restricted epitopes, in Gag and Nef, that were not targeted differentially, a response toward NY10 was associated with a significantly lower viral set point. Nonimmunogenicity of NY10 in B-clade-infected subjects derives from the Gag-D260E polymorphism present in ∼90% of B-clade sequences, which critically reduces recognition of the Gag NY10 epitope. These data suggest that in spite of any inherent HLA-linked T-cell receptor repertoire differences that may exist, maximizing the breadth of the Gag-specific CD8(+) T-cell response, by the addition of even a single epitope, may be of overriding importance in achieving immune control of HIV infection. This distinction is of direct relevance to development of vaccines designed to optimize the anti-HIV CD8(+) T-cell response in all individuals, irrespective of HLA type.