Protective HIV-specific CD8+ T cells evade T reg cell suppression

Viral Vaccine Program, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (Seattle Biomed), Seattle, Washington, USA.
Nature medicine (Impact Factor: 27.36). 07/2011; 17(8):989-95. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2422
Source: PubMed


Specific human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), notably HLA-B*27 and HLA-B*57 allele groups, have long been associated with control of HIV-1. Although the majority of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells lose proliferative capacity during chronic infection, T cells restricted by HLA-B*27 or HLA-B*57 allele groups do not. Here we show that CD8(+) T cells restricted by 'protective' HLA allele groups are not suppressed by T(reg) cells, whereas, within the same individual, T cells restricted by 'nonprotective' alleles are highly suppressed ex vivo. This differential sensitivity of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells to T(reg) cell-mediated suppression correlates with their expression of the inhibitory receptor T cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain 3 (Tim-3) after stimulation with their cognate epitopes. Furthermore, we show that HLA-B*27- and HLA-B*57-restricted effectors also evade T(reg) cell-mediated suppression by directly killing T(reg) cells they encounter in a granzyme B (GzmB)-dependent manner. This study uncovers a previously unknown explanation for why HLA-B*27 and HLA-B*57 allele groups are associated with delayed HIV-1 disease progression.

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