Eur J Immunol. 2011 Jan;41(1):97-106. doi: 10.1002/eji.201040841. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Selection of escape mutant by HLA-C-restricted HIV-1 Pol-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes carrying strong ability to suppress HIV-1 replication.


HIV-1 mutants escaping from HLA-A- or HLA-B-restricted CTL have been well studied, but those from HLA-C-restricted CTL have not. Therefore we investigated the ability of HLA-C-restricted CTL to select HIV-1 escape mutants. In the present study, we identified two novel HLA-Cw(*) 1202-restricted Pol-specific CTL epitopes (Pol328-9 and Pol463-10). CTL specific for these epitopes were detected in 25-40% of chronically HIV-1-infected HLA-Cw(*) 1202(+) individuals and had strong abilities to kill HIV-1-infected cells and to suppress HIV-1 replication in vitro, suggesting that these CTL may have the ability to effectively control HIV-1 in some HLA-Cw(*) 1202(+) individuals. Sequence analysis of these epitopes showed that a V-to-A substitution at the 9th position (V9A) of Pol 463-10 was significantly associated with the HLA-Cw(*) 1202 allele and that the V9A mutant was slowly selected in the HLA-Cw(*) 1202(+) individuals. Pol 463-10-specific CTL failed both to kill the V9A virus-infected cells and to suppress replication of the V9A mutant. These results indicate that the V9A mutation was selected as an escape mutant by the Pol463-10-specific CTL. The present study strongly suggests that some HLA-C-restricted CTL have a strong ability to suppress HIV-1 replication so that they can select HIV escape mutants as in the case of HLA-A-restricted or HLA-B-restricted CTL.



PMID:  21182081