Naive and memory CD4+ T cells reactive with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are detectable in unexposed, unimmunized individuals. The contribution of preexisting CD4+ T cells to a primary immune response was investigated in 20 HIV-1–seronegative volunteers vaccinated with an HIV-1 envelope (Env) plasmid DNA prime and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) boost in the HVTN 106 vaccine trial (clinicaltrials.gov NCT02296541). Prevaccination naive or memory CD4+ T cell responses directed against peptide epitopes in Env were identified in 14 individuals. After priming with DNA, 40% (8/20) of the elicited responses matched epitopes detected in the corresponding preimmunization memory repertoires, and clonotypes were shared before and after vaccination in 2 representative volunteers. In contrast, there were no shared epitope specificities between the preimmunization memory compartment and responses detected after boosting with recombinant MVA expressing a heterologous Env. Preexisting memory CD4+ T cells therefore shape the early immune response to vaccination with a previously unencountered HIV-1 antigen.
Suzanne L. Campion, Elena Brenna, Elaine Thomson, Will Fischer, Kristin Ladell, James E. McLaren, David A. Price, Nicole Frahm, Juliana M. McElrath, Kristen W. Cohen, Janine R. Maenza, Stephen R. Walsh, Lindsey R. Baden, Barton F. Haynes, Bette Korber, Persephone Borrow, Andrew J. McMichael