Elizabeth G Ryland

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (5)26.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The genetic heterogeneity of HIV-1 poses a major obstacle to vaccine development. Although most horizontally acquired HIV-1 infections are initiated by a single homogeneous virus, marked genetic diversification and evolution occur following transmission. The relative contribution of the antiviral immune response to intrahost viral evolution remains controversial, in part because the sequence of the transmitted virus and the array of T-cell epitopes targeted by both donor and recipient are seldom known. We directly compared predominant viral sequences derived from 52 mother-child transmission pairs following vertical infection and identified 1,475 sites of mother-infant amino acid divergence within Nef, Gag, and Pol. The cumulative number of mutations away from the consensus subtype B sequence increased linearly with time since transmission, whereas reversions toward the consensus sequence accumulated more slowly with increasing duration of infection. Comprehensive mapping of T-cell epitopes targeted by these mothers and infants revealed that 14% of nonsynonymous mutations away from the consensus sequence were located within regions targeted by the infant, whereas 24% of nonsynonymous mutations toward the consensus sequence were located in regions targeted by the mother. On the basis of analysis of optimal epitopes listed in the HIV Molecular Immunology Database, fewer than 10% of epitopes containing maternal escape mutations reverted to the consensus sequence following transmission to an infant lacking the restricting HLA allele. This surprisingly low reversion rate of mutated epitopes following transmission suggests that the fitness cost associated with many CD8 epitope mutations may be modest.
    Journal of Virology 12/2010; 84(23):12437-44. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to identify immunologic and virologic correlates of spontaneous viral control among long-term survivors of perinatal HIV infection expressing the protective human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B57 allele. The frequency, epitope specificity, and functional attributes of HIV-specific T cells and sequence variation within B57-restricted epitopes were compared between 'spontaneous controllers' who maintained normal CD4 percentages and viral loads less than 3000 copies/ml without antiretroviral therapy, and 'treated progressors' who had initiated HAART. Recognition of HIV optimal epitopes was assessed by interferon gamma (IFNgamma) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot. Functional characterization of CD8 cells targeting B57 epitopes was performed by staining for cytokine production (intracellular IFNgamma, interleukin-2, tumor necrosis factor alpha) and degranulation. Sequencing of autologous RNA was performed to determine the prevalence of viral escape mutations within B57-restricted epitopes and associated compensatory mutations. HLA-B57 remained immunodominant during chronic infection in both controllers and progressors, but controllers recognized fewer epitopes and targeted epitopes within Gag and reverse transcriptase only, whereas progressors demonstrated a broader response targeting additional proteins. No individual epitope was targeted more frequently by spontaneous controllers. CD8 cytokine production patterns were heterogeneous among individuals and even among different epitopes in the same individual and did not correlate with spontaneous viral control. Extensive sequence variation within B57 epitopes was observed in both groups, but only progressors displayed additional capsid mutations that are known to offset the viral fitness cost of B57-driven immune escape. Among HLA-B57-positive long-term survivors, spontaneous control of viremia is not associated with a qualitatively or quantitatively superior T-cell response, but with uncompensated fitness-attenuating mutations in the viral capsid.
    AIDS (London, England) 06/2010; 24(10):1425-35. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Expression of HLA-B57 is associated with restricted replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but the mechanism for its protective effect remains unknown. If this advantage depends upon CD8 T-cell recognition of B57-restricted epitopes, mother-to-child transmission of escape mutations within these epitopes could nullify its protective effect. However, if the B57 advantage is largely mediated by selection for fitness-attenuating viral mutations within B57-restricted epitopes, such as T242N in TW10-Gag, then the transmission of such mutations could facilitate viral control in the haploidentical infant. We assessed the consequences of B57-associated mutations on replication capacity, viral control, and clinical outcome after vertical transmission in 13 mother-child pairs. We found that expression of HLA-B57 was associated with exceptional control of HIV during infancy, even when mutations within TW10 and most other B57-restricted epitopes were transmitted, subverting the natural immunodominance of HLA-B57. In contrast, most B57-negative infants born to B57-positive mothers progressed rapidly to AIDS. The presence of T242N led to a reproducible reduction in viral fitness, as demonstrated by in vitro assays using NL4-3 constructs encoding p24 sequences from individual mothers and infants. Associated compensatory mutations within p24-Gag were observed to reverse this impairment and to influence the propensity of T242N to revert after transmission to B57-negative hosts. Moreover, primary failure to control viremia was observed in one infant to whom multiple compensatory mutations were transmitted along with T242N. These parallel in vivo and in vitro data suggest that HLA-B57 confers its advantage primarily by driving and maintaining a fitness-attenuating mutation in p24-Gag.
    Journal of Virology 07/2009; 83(17):8616-27. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Perinatal HIV infection is characterized by a sustained high-level viremia and a high risk of rapid progression to AIDS, indicating a failure of immunologic containment of the virus. We hypothesized that age-related differences in the specificity or function of HIV-specific T cells may influence HIV RNA levels and clinical outcome following perinatal infection. In this study, we defined the HIV epitopes targeted by 76 pediatric subjects (47 HIV infected and 29 HIV exposed, but uninfected), and assessed the ability of HIV-specific CD8 and CD4 T cells to degranulate and produce IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-2. No responses were detected among HIV-uninfected infants, whereas responses among infected subjects increased in magnitude and breadth with age. Gag-specific responses were uncommon during early infancy, and their frequency was significantly lower among children younger than 24 mo old (p = 0.014). Importantly, Gag responders exhibited significantly lower HIV RNA levels than nonresponders (log viral load 5.8 vs 5.0; p = 0.005). Both the total and Gag-specific T cell frequency correlated inversely with viral load after correction for age, whereas no relationship with targeting of other viral proteins was observed. Functional assessment of HIV-specific T cells by multiparameter flow cytometry revealed that polyfunctional CD8 cells were less prevalent in children before 24 mo of age, and that HIV-specific CD4 cell responses were of universally low frequency among antiretroviral-naive children and absent in young infants. These cross-sectional data suggest that qualitative differences in the CD8 response, combined with a deficiency of HIV-specific CD4 cells, may contribute to the inability of young infants to limit replication of HIV.
    The Journal of Immunology 01/2009; 181(11):8103-11. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Perinatal HIV infection is characterized by a sustained high-level viremia and a high risk of rapid progression to AIDS, indicating a failure of immunologic containment of the virus. We hypothesized that age-related differences in the specificity or function of HIV-specific T cells may influence HIV RNA levels and clinical outcome following perinatal infection. In this study, we defined the HIV epitopes targeted by 76 pediatric subjects (47 HIV infected and 29 HIV exposed, but uninfected), and assessed the ability of HIV-specific CD8 and CD4 T cells to degranulate and produce IFN-, TNF-, and IL-2. No responses were detected among HIV-uninfected infants, whereas responses among infected subjects increased in magnitude and breadth with age. Gag-specific responses were uncommon during early infancy, and their frequency was significantly lower among children younger than 24 mo old (p 0.014). Importantly, Gag responders exhibited significantly lower HIV RNA levels than nonresponders (log viral load 5.8 vs 5.0; p 0.005). Both the total and Gag-specific T cell frequency correlated inversely with viral load after correction for age, whereas no relationship with targeting of other viral proteins was observed. Functional assessment of HIV-specific T cells by multiparameter flow cytometry revealed that polyfunctional CD8 cells were less prevalent in children before 24 mo of age, and that HIV-specific CD4 cell responses were of universally low frequency among antiretroviral-naive children and absent in young infants. These cross-sectional data suggest that qualitative differences in the CD8 response, combined with a deficiency of HIV- specific CD4 cells, may contribute to the inability of young infants to limit replication of HIV. The Journal of Immunology, 2008, 181: 8103-8111.
    The Journal of Immunology 12/2008; 181(11). · 5.52 Impact Factor