1887

Abstract

The HLA-B27 allele is over-represented among human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected long-term non-progressors. In these patients, strong CTL responses targeting HLA-B27-restricted viral epitopes have been associated with long-term asymptomatic survival. Indeed, loss of control of viraemia in HLA-B27 patients has been associated with CTL escape at position 264 in the immunodominant KK10 epitope. This CTL escape mutation in the viral Gag protein has been associated with severe viral attenuation and may require the presence of compensatory mutations before emerging. Here, we studied sequence evolution within HLA-B27-restricted CTL epitopes in the viral Gag protein during the course of infection of seven HLA-B27-positive patients. Longitudinal sequences obtained at different time points around the time of AIDS diagnosis were obtained and analysed for the presence of mutations in epitopes restricted by HLA-B27, and for potential compensatory mutations. Sequence variations were observed in the HLA-B27-restricted CTL epitopes IK9 and DR11, and the immunodominant KK10 epitope. However, the presence of sequence variations in the HLA-B27-restricted CTL epitopes could not be associated with an increase in viraemia in the majority of the patients studied. Furthermore, we observed low genetic diversity in the region of the viral variants throughout the course of infection, which is indicative of low viral replication and corresponds to the low viral load observed in the HLA-B27-positive patients. These data indicated that control of viral replication can be maintained in HLA-B27-positive patients despite the emergence of viral mutations in HLA-B27-restricted epitopes.

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2015-08-01
2019-10-21
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