• CD8 epitope escape and reversion in acute HCV infection

      Timm, J; Lauer, GM; Kavanagh, DG; Sheridan, I; Kim, AY; Lucas, M; Pillay, T; Ouchi, K; Reyor, LL; Schulze Zur Wiesch, J; et al. (Rockefeller University Press, 2004-12-20)
      In the setting of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, robust HCV-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses are associated with initial control of viremia. Despite these responses, 70-80% of individuals develop persistent infection. Although viral escape from CD8 responses has been illustrated in the chimpanzee model of HCV infection, the effect of CD8 selection pressure on viral evolution and containment in acute HCV infection in humans remains unclear. Here, we examined viral evolution in an immunodominant human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B8-restricted NS3 epitope in subjects with acute HCV infection. Development of mutations within the epitope coincided with loss of strong ex vivo tetramer and interferon γ enzyme-linked immunospot responses, and endogenous expression of variant NS3 sequences suggested that the selected mutations altered processing and presentation of the variant epitope. Analysis of NS3 sequences from 30 additional chronic HCV-infected subjects revealed a strong association between sequence variation within this region and expression of HLA-B8, supporting reproducible allele-specific selection pressures at the population level. Interestingly, transmission of an HLA-B8-associated escape mutation to an HLA-B8 negative subject resulted in rapid reversion of the mutation. Together, these data indicate that viral escape from CD8+ T cell responses occurs during human HCV infection and that acute immune selection pressure is of sufficient magnitude to influence HCV evolution.
    • Transmission and accumulation of CTL escape variants drive negative associations between HIV polymorphisms and HLA

      Leslie, A; Kavanagh, D; Honeyborne, I; Pfafferott, K; Edwards, C; Pillay, T; Hilton, L; Thobakgale, C; Ramduth, D; Draenert, R; et al. (Rockefeller University Press, 2005-03-21)
      Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 amino acid sequence polymorphisms associated with expression of specific human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles suggest sites of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated selection pressure and immune escape. The associations most frequently observed are between expression of an HLA class I molecule and variation from the consensus sequence. However, a substantial number of sites have been identified in which particular HLA class I allele expression is associated with preservation of the consensus sequence. The mechanism behind this is so far unexplained. The current studies, focusing on two examples of "negatively associated" or apparently preserved epitopes, suggest an explanation for this phenomenon: negative associations can arise as a result of positive selection of an escape mutation, which is stable on transmission and therefore accumulates in the population to the point at which it defines the consensus sequence. Such negative associations may only be in evidence transiently, because the statistical power to detect them diminishes as the mutations accumulate. If an escape variant reaches fixation in the population, the epitope will be lost as a potential target to the immune system. These data help to explain how HIV is evolving at a population level. Understanding the direction of HIV evolution has important implications for vaccine development.