[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Viruses can evade immune surveillance, but the underlying mechanisms are insufficiently understood. Here, we sought to understand the mechanisms by which natural killer (NK) cells recognize HIV-1-infected cells and how this virus can evade NK-cell-mediated immune pressure.
Methods and findings:
Two sequence mutations in p24 Gag associated with the presence of specific KIR/HLA combined genotypes were identified in HIV-1 clade C viruses from a large cohort of infected, untreated individuals in South Africa (n = 392), suggesting viral escape from KIR+ NK cells through sequence variations within HLA class I-presented epitopes. One sequence polymorphism at position 303 of p24 Gag (TGag303V), selected for in infected individuals with both KIR2DL3 and HLA-C*03:04, enabled significantly better binding of the inhibitory KIR2DL3 receptor to HLA-C*03:04-expressing cells presenting this variant epitope compared to the wild-type epitope (wild-type mean 18.01 ± 10.45 standard deviation [SD] and variant mean 44.67 ± 14.42 SD, p = 0.002). Furthermore, activation of primary KIR2DL3+ NK cells from healthy donors in response to HLA-C*03:04+ target cells presenting the variant epitope was significantly reduced in comparison to cells presenting the wild-type sequence (wild-type mean 0.78 ± 0.07 standard error of the mean [SEM] and variant mean 0.63 ± 0.07 SEM, p = 0.012). Structural modeling and surface plasmon resonance of KIR/peptide/HLA interactions in the context of the different viral sequence variants studied supported these results. Future studies will be needed to assess processing and antigen presentation of the investigated HIV-1 epitope in natural infection, and the consequences for viral control.
These data provide novel insights into how viruses can evade NK cell immunity through the selection of mutations in HLA-presented epitopes that enhance binding to inhibitory NK cell receptors. Better understanding of the mechanisms by which HIV-1 evades NK-cell-mediated immune pressure and the functional validation of a structural modeling approach will facilitate the development of novel targeted immune interventions to harness the antiviral activities of NK cells.
PLoS Medicine 11/2015; 12(11):e1001900. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001900 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased IFN-α production contributes to the pathogenesis of infectious and autoimmune diseases. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) from females produce more IFN-α upon TLR7 stimulation than pDCs from males, yet the mechanisms underlying this difference remain unclear. In this article, we show that basal levels of IFN regulatory factor (IRF) 5 in pDCs were significantly higher in females compared with males and positively correlated with the percentage of IFN-α-secreting pDCs. Delivery of recombinant IRF5 protein into human primary pDCs increased TLR7-mediated IFN-α secretion. In mice, genetic ablation of the estrogen receptor 1 (Esr1) gene in the hematopoietic compartment or DC lineage reduced Irf5 mRNA expression in pDCs and IFN-α production. IRF5 mRNA levels furthermore correlated with ESR1 mRNA levels in human pDCs, consistent with IRF5 regulation at the transcriptional level by ESR1. Taken together, these data demonstrate a critical mechanism by which sex differences in basal pDC IRF5 expression lead to higher IFN-α production upon TLR7 stimulation in females and provide novel targets for the modulation of immune responses and inflammation.
The Journal of Immunology 10/2015; DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1501684 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aging of the HIV-1 infected population obligates a focus on the interaction between aging, comorbid conditions and HIV-1. We recruited a cohort of HIV-1 infected men aged ≤35 years or ≥50 years on fully suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), analyzing plasma markers of inflammation, T cell activation, exhaustion, proliferation, and innate cellular subsets and functional capacity. LPS and the plasma marker of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) were significantly elevated in older HIV-infected men despite comparable cellular phenotypes. Compared to similarly age-stratified uninfected subjects, older HIV-1 infected adults were also more frequently in the upper quartile of sCD14 expression.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 10/2015; DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiv501 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differences between women and men range from their anatomy, their natural social behavior to their susceptibility and response to different pathologies, including infectious diseases.The underlying mechanisms of sex differences in infectious diseases are manifold, including differences in exposure to common pathogens, genetic factors that modulate immune responses against pathogens and hormonal factors that may alter susceptibility or disease progression, and responsiveness to treatment. On one hand, these mechanisms lead to higher innate and adaptive immune responses in females, which result in faster clearance of acute infections and higher antibody responses to several vaccines, on the other hand this contributes to an increased susceptibility to chronic inflammatory diseases.In this review we summarize the underlying causes of sex differences in prevalence, clinical course of disease and treatment outcome of infectious diseases. In order to develop individualized treatment concepts, a fair balance between the sexes should be maintained in basic science, preclinical and clinical studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells have traditionally been considered nonspecific components of innate immunity, but recent studies have shown features of antigen-specific memory in mouse NK cells. However, it has remained unclear whether this phenomenon also exists in primates. We found that splenic and hepatic NK cells from SHIVSF162P3-infected and SIVmac251-infected macaques specifically lysed Gag- and Env-pulsed dendritic cells in an NKG2-dependent fashion, in contrast to NK cells from uninfected macaques. Moreover, splenic and hepatic NK cells from Ad26-vaccinated macaques efficiently lysed antigen-matched but not antigen-mismatched targets 5 years after vaccination. These data demonstrate that robust, durable, antigen-specific NK cell memory can be induced in primates after both infection and vaccination, and this finding could be important for the development of vaccines against HIV-1 and other pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During acute HIV-1 infection, viral pathogen-associated molecular patterns are recognized by pathogen-recognition receptors (PRRs) of infected cells, which triggers a signaling cascade that initiates innate intracellular antiviral defenses aimed at restricting the replication and spread of the virus. This cell-intrinsic response propagates outward via the action of secreted factors such as cytokines and chemokines that activate innate immune cells and attract them to the site of infection and to local lymphatic tissue. Antiviral innate effector cells can subsequently contribute to the control of viremia and modulate the quality of the adaptive immune response to HIV-1. The concerted actions of PRR signaling, specific viral-restriction factors, innate immune cells, innate-adaptive immune crosstalk and viral evasion strategies determine the outcome of HIV-1 infection and immune responses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing a Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) glycoprotein was selected for rapid safety and immunogenicity testing before its use in West Africa. Methods We performed three open-label, dose-escalation phase 1 trials and one randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 1 trial to assess safety, side-effect profile, and immunogenicity of rVSV-ZEBOV at various doses in 158 healthy adults in Europe and Africa. All participants were injected with doses of vaccine ranging from 300,000 to 50 million plaque-forming units (PFU) or placebo. Results No serious vaccine-related adverse events were reported. Mild-to-moderate early-onset reactogenicity was frequent but transient (median, 1 day). Fever was observed in up to 35% of vaccinees. Vaccine viremia was detected within 3 days in 103 of 110 participants (94%) receiving 3 million PFU or more; rVSV was not detected in saliva or urine. In the second week after injection, arthritis affecting one to four joints developed in 11 of 51 participants (22%) in Geneva, with pain lasting a median of 8 days; 2 self-limited cases occurred in 40 participants (5%) in Hamburg, Germany, and Kilifi, Kenya. The virus was identified in one synovial-fluid aspirate and in skin vesicles of 2 other vaccinees, showing peripheral viral replication in the second week after immunization. ZEBOV-glycoprotein-specific antibody responses were detected in all the participants, with similar glycoprotein-binding antibody titers but significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers at higher doses. Conclusions In these studies, rVSV-ZEBOV was reactogenic but immunogenic after a single dose and warrants further evaluation for safety and efficacy. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT02283099 , NCT02287480 , and NCT02296983 ; Pan African Clinical Trials Registry number, PACTR201411000919191 .).
New England Journal of Medicine 04/2015; DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1502924 · 55.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 infection is characterized by varying degrees of chronic immune activation and disruption of T-cell homeostasis, which impact the rate of disease progression. A deeper understanding of the factors that influence HIV-1-induced immunopathology and subsequent CD4(+) T-cell decline is critical to strategies aimed at controlling or eliminating the virus. In an analysis of 127 acutely infected Zambians, we demonstrate a dramatic and early impact of viral replicative capacity (vRC) on HIV-1 immunopathogenesis that is independent of viral load (VL). Individuals infected with high-RC viruses exhibit a distinct inflammatory cytokine profile as well as significantly elevated T-cell activation, proliferation, and CD8(+) T-cell exhaustion, during the earliest months of infection. Moreover, the vRC of the transmitted virus is positively correlated with the magnitude of viral burden in naive and central memory CD4(+) T-cell populations, raising the possibility that transmitted viral phenotypes may influence the size of the initial latent viral reservoir. Taken together, these findings support an unprecedented role for the replicative fitness of the founder virus, independent of host protective genes and VL, in influencing multiple facets of HIV-1-related immunopathology, and that a greater focus on this parameter could provide novel approaches to clinical interventions.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2015; 112(12). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1421607112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acquisition and maintenance of NK-cell function is mediated by inhibitory killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) through their interaction with HLA class I molecules. Recently, HLA-C expression levels were shown to be correlated with protection against multiple outcomes of HIV-1 infection; however the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. As HLA-C is the natural ligand for the inhibitory receptors KIR2DL1 and KIR2DL2/3, we sought to determine whether HLA-C group haplotypes affect NK-cell responses during primary HIV-1 infection. The phenotypes and functional capacity of NK cells derived from HIV-1-positive and HIV-1-negative individuals were assessed (N = 42 and N = 40, respectively). HIV-1 infection was associated with an increased frequency of KIR2DL1–3+ NK cells. Further analysis showed that KIR2DL1+ NK cells were selectively increased in individuals homozygous for HLA-C2, while HLA-C1-homozygous individuals displayed increased proportions of KIR2DL2/3+ NK cells. KIR2DL1–3+ NK cells were furthermore more polyfunctional during primary HIV-1 infection in individuals also encoding for their cognate HLA-C group haplotypes, as measured by degranulation and IFN-γ and TNF-α production. These results identify a novel relationship between HLA-C and KIR2DL+ NK-cell subsets and demonstrate that HLA-C-mediated licensing modulates NK-cell responses to primary HIV-1 infection.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
European Journal of Immunology 10/2014; 44(10). DOI:10.1002/eji.201444751 · 4.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
Much is known about the characteristics of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) generated during HIV-1 infection, but little is known about immunological mechanisms responsible for their development in only a minority of those infected by HIV-1. By monitoring longitudinally a cohort of HIV-1-infected subjects, we observed that the preservation of CXCR5(+) CD4(+) T helper cell frequencies and activation status of B cells during the first year of infection correlates with the maximum breadth of plasma neutralizing antibody responses during chronic infection independently of viral load. Although, during the first year of infection, no differences were observed in the abilities of peripheral CXCR5(+) CD4(+) T helper cells to induce antibody secretion by autologous naive B cells, higher frequencies of class-switched antibodies were detected in cocultures of CXCR5(+) CD4(+) T and B cells from the subjects who later developed broadly neutralizing antibody responses than those who did not. Furthermore, B cells from the former subjects had higher expression of AICDA than B cells from the latter subjects, and transcript levels correlated with the frequency of CXCR5(+) CD4(+) T cells. Thus, the early preservation of CXCR5(+) CD4(+) T cells and B cell function are central to the development of bNAbs. Our study provides a possible explanation for their infrequent generation during HIV-1 infection.
Broadly neutralizing antibodies are developed by HIV-1-infected subjects, but so far (and despite intensive efforts over the past 3 decades) they have not been elicited by immunization. Understanding how bNAbs are generated during natural HIV-1 infection and why only some HIV-1-infected subjects generate such antibodies will assist our efforts to elicit bNAbs by immunization. CXCR5(+) PD-1(+) CD4(+) T cells are critical for the development of high-affinity antigen-specific antibody responses. In our study, we found that the HIV-1-infected subjects who develop bNAbs have a higher frequency of peripheral CXCR5(+) PD-1(+) CD4(+) T cells in early infection and also that this frequency mirrored what was observed in uninfected subjects and correlated with the level of B cell activation across subjects. Our study highlights the critical role helper T cell function has in the elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibody responses in the context of HIV infection.
Journal of Virology 09/2014; 88(22). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02186-14 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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Events during primary HIV-1 infection have been shown to be critical for the subsequent rate of disease progression. Early control of viral replication, resolution of clinical symptoms and development of a viral set point have been associated with the emergence of HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses. Here we assessed which particular HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses contribute to long-term control of HIV-1. A total of 620 individuals with primary HIV-1 infection were screened by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay for HLA class I-restricted, epitope-specific CD8 T cell responses using optimally defined epitopes approximately 2 months after initial presentation. The cohort was predominantly male (97%) and Caucasian (83%) (Fiebig stages II/III [n = 157], IV [n = 64], V [n = 286], and VI [n = 88] and Fiebig stage not determined [n = 25]). Longitudinal viral loads, CD4 count, and time to ART were collected for all patients. We observed strong associations between viral load at baseline (initial viremia) and the established early viral set points (P < 0.0001). Both were significantly associated with HLA class I genotypes (P = 0.0009). While neither the breadth nor the magnitude of HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses showed an influence on the early viral set point, a broader HIV-specific CD8 T cell response targeting epitopes within HIV-1 Gag during primary HIV-1 infection was associated with slower disease progression. Moreover, the induction of certain HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses--but not others--significantly influenced the time to ART initiation. Individual epitope-specific CD8 T cell responses contribute significantly to HIV-1 disease control, demonstrating that the specificity of the initial HIV-specific CD8 T cell response rather than the restricting HLA class I molecule alone is a critical determinant of antiviral function.
Understanding which factors are involved in the control of HIV-1 infection is critical for the design of therapeutic strategies for patients living with HIV/AIDS. Here, using a cohort of over 600 individuals with acute and early HIV-1 infection, we assessed in unprecedented detail the individual contribution of epitope-specific CD8 T cell responses directed against HIV-1 to control of viremia and their impact on the overall course of disease progression.
Journal of Virology 08/2014; 88(21). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02016-14 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: It is unknown whether the reduction in HIV-1 reservoirs seen after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) with susceptible donor cells is sufficient to achieve sustained HIV-1 remission. Objective: To characterize HIV-1 reservoirs in blood and tissues and perform analytic antiretroviral treatment interruptions to determine the potential for allogeneic HSCT to lead to sustained, antiretroviral-free HIV-1 remission. Design: Case report with characterization of HIV-1 reservoirs and immunity before and after antiretroviral interruption. Setting: Tertiary care center. Patients: Two men with HIV with undetectable HIV-1 after allogeneic HSCT for hematologic tumors. Measurements: Quantification of HIV-1 in various tissues after HSCT and the duration of antiretroviral-free HIV-1 remission after treatment interruption. Results: No HIV-1 was detected from peripheral blood or rectal mucosa before analytic treatment interruption. Plasma HIV-1 RNA and cell-associated HIV-1 DNA remained undetectable until 12 and 32 weeks after antiretroviral cessation. Both patients experienced rebound viremia within 2 weeks of the most recent negative viral load measurement and developed symptoms consistent with the acute retroviral syndrome. One patient developed new efavirenz resistance after reinitiation of antiretroviral therapy. Reinitiation of active therapy led to viral decay and resolution of symptoms in both patients. Limitation: The study involved only 2 patients. Conclusion: Allogeneic HSCT may lead to loss of detectable HIV-1 from blood and gut tissue and variable periods of antiretroviral-free HIV-1 remission, but viral rebound can occur despite a minimum 3-log10 reduction in reservoir size. Long-lived tissue reservoirs may have contributed to viral persistence. The definition of the nature and half-life of such reservoirs is essential to achieve durable antiretroviral-free HIV-1 remission.
Annals of internal medicine 07/2014; 161(5). DOI:10.7326/M14-1027 · 17.81 Impact Factor