Human immunodeficiency virus-1 subtypes A and C differ in the highly conserved Gag-TL9 epitope at a single amino acid position. Similarly, the TL9 presenting human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules B42 and B81 differ only at 6 amino acid positions. Here, we addressed the influence of such minor viral and host genetic variation on the TL9-specific CD8 T-cell response. The clonotypic characteristics of CD8 T-cell populations elicited by subtype A or subtype C were distinct, and these responses differed substantially with respect to the recognition and selection of TL9 variants. Irrespective of the presenting HLA class I molecule, CD8 T-cell responses elicited by subtype C exhibited largely comparable TL9 variant cross-recognition properties, expressed T-cell receptors that used almost exclusively the TRBV 12-3 gene, and selected for predictable patterns of viral variation within TL9. In contrast, subtype A elicited TL9-specific CD8 T-cell populations with completely different, more diverse TCRBV genes and did not select for viral variants. Moreover, TL9 variant cross-recognition properties were extensive in B81+ subjects but limited in B42+ subjects. Thus, minor viral and host genetic polymorphisms can dramatically alter the immunologic and virologic outcome of an epitope-specific CD8 T-cell response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology