Pol-specific CD8+ T cells recognize simian immunodeficiency virus-infected cells prior to Nef-mediated major histocompatibility complex class I downregulation

Jonah Sacha, Won Chung, Jason Reed, Anna K. Jonas, Alexander T. Bean, Sean P. Spencer, Wonhee Lee, Lara Vojnov, Richard Rudersdorf, Thomas C. Friedrich, Nancy A. Wilson, Jeffrey D. Lifson, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


Effective, vaccine-induced CD8+ T-cell responses should recognize infected cells early enough to prevent production of progeny virions. We have recently shown that Gag-specific CD8+ T cells recognize simian immunodeficiency virus-infected cells at 2 h postinfection, whereas Env-specific CD8+ T cells do not recognize infected cells until much later in infection. However, it remains unknown when other proteins present in the viral particle are presented to CD8+ T cells after infection. To address this issue, we explored CD8+ T-cell recognition of epitopes derived from two other relatively large virion proteins, Pol and Nef. Surprisingly, infected cells efficiently presented CD8+ T-cell epitopes from virion-derived Pol proteins within 2 h of infection. In contrast, Nef-specific CD8+ T cells did not recognize infected cells until 12 h postinfection. Additionally, we show that SIVmac239 Nef downregulated surface major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules beginning at 12 h postinfection, concomitant with presentation of Nef-derived CD8+ T-cell epitopes. Finally, Pol-specific CD8+ T cells eliminated infected cells as early as 6 h postinfection, well before MHC-I downregulation, suggesting a previously underappreciated antiviral role for Pol-specific CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11703-11712
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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