Author(s): Zheng N, Fujiwara M, Ueno T, Oka S, Takiguchi M
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Abstract A restricted number of studies have shown that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific cytotoxic CD4+ T cells are present in HIV-1-infected individuals. However, the roles of this type of CD4+ T cell in the immune responses against an HIV-1 infection remain unclear. In this study, we identified novel Nef epitope-specific HLA-DRB1*0803-restricted cytotoxic CD4+ T cells. The CD4+ T-cell clones specific for Nef187-203 showed strong gamma interferon production after having been stimulated with autologous B-lymphoblastoid cells infected with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing Nef or pulsed with heat-inactivated virus particles, indicating the presentation of the epitope antigen through both exogenous and endogenous major histocompatibility complex class II processing pathways. Nef187-203-specific CD4+ T-cell clones exhibited strong cytotoxic activity against both HIV-1-infected macrophages and CD4+ T cells from an HLA-DRB1*0803+ donor. In addition, these Nef-specific cytotoxic CD4+ T-cell clones exhibited strong ability to suppress HIV-1 replication in both macrophages and CD4+ T cells in vitro. Nef187-203-specific cytotoxic CD4+ T cells were detected in cultures of peptide-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in ex vivo PBMCs from 40\% and 20\% of DRB1*0803+ donors, respectively. These results suggest that HIV-1-specific CD4+ T cells may directly control HIV-1 infection in vivo by suppressing virus replication in HIV-1 natural host cells.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology