There is an association between expression of the MHC class I molecule HLA-B27 and protection following human infection with either HIV or HCV. In both cases, protection has been linked to HLA-B27 presentation of a single immunodominant viral peptide epitope to CD8+ T cells. If HIV mutates the HLA-B27–binding anchor of this epitope to escape the protective immune response, the result is a less-fit virus that requires additional compensatory clustered mutations. Here, we sought to determine whether the immunodominant HLA-B27–restricted HCV epitope was similarly constrained by analyzing the replication competence and immunogenicity of different escape mutants. Interestingly, in most HLA-B27–positive patients chronically infected with HCV, the escape mutations spared the HLA-B27–binding anchor. Instead, the escape mutations were clustered at other sites within the epitope and had only a modest impact on replication competence. Further analysis revealed that the cluster of mutations is required for efficient escape because a combination of mutations is needed to impair T cell recognition of the epitope. Artificially introduced mutations at the HLA-B27–binding anchors were found to be either completely cross-reactive or to lead to substantial loss of fitness. These results suggest that protection by HLA-B27 in HCV infection can be explained by the requirement to accumulate a cluster of mutations within the immunodominant epitope to escape T cell recognition.
Eva Dazert, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Stéphane Bressanelli, Karen Fitzmaurice, Julia Kort, Jörg Timm, Susan McKiernan, Dermot Kelleher, Norbert Gruener, John E. Tavis, Hugo R. Rosen, Jaqueline Shaw, Paul Bowness, Hubert E. Blum, Paul Klenerman, Ralf Bartenschlager, Robert Thimme
Plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) have been implicated as crucial cells in antiviral immune responses. On recognizing HIV, they become activated, secreting large amounts of IFN-α and inflammatory cytokines, thereby potentiating innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses. Here, we have shown that HIV-stimulated human pDCs can also induce the differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells into Tregs with suppressive function. This differentiation was independent of pDC production of IFN-α and primarily dependent on pDC expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, which was induced through the TLR/MyD88 pathway, following binding of HIV to CD4 and triggering of TLR7 by HIV genomic RNA. Functionally, the Tregs induced by pDCs were shown to inhibit the maturation of bystander conventional DCs. This study therefore reveals what we believe to be a novel mechanism by which pDC may regulate and potentially limit anti-HIV immune responses.
Olivier Manches, David Munn, Anahita Fallahi, Jeffrey Lifson, Laurence Chaperot, Joel Plumas, Nina Bhardwaj
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection is the most common cause of sporadic, fatal encephalitis, but current understanding of how the virus interacts with cellular factors to regulate disease progression is limited. Here, we show that HSV-1 infection induced the expression of the cellular transcription factor early growth response 1 (Egr-1) in a human neuronal cell line. Egr-1 increased viral replication by activating promoters of viral productive cycle genes through binding to its corresponding sequences in the viral promoters. Mouse studies confirmed that Egr-1 expression was enhanced in HSV-1–infected brains and that Egr-1 functions to promote viral replication in embryonic fibroblasts. Furthermore, Egr-1 deficiency or knockdown of Egr-1 by a DNA-based enzyme greatly reduced the mortality of HSV-1–infected mice by decreasing viral loads in tissues. This study provides what we believe is the first evidence that Egr-1 increases the mortality of HSV-1 encephalitis by enhancing viral replication. Moreover, blocking this cellular machinery exploited by the virus could prevent host mortality.
Shih-Heng Chen, Hui-Wen Yao, I-Te Chen, Biehuoy Shieh, Ching Li, Shun-Hua Chen
Naturally SIV-infected sooty mangabeys (SMs) remain asymptomatic despite high virus replication. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying AIDS resistance of SIV-infected SMs may provide crucial information to better understand AIDS pathogenesis. In this study, we assessed the determinants of set-point viremia in naturally SIV-infected SMs, i.e., immune control of SIV replication versus target cell limitation. We depleted CD4+ T cells in 6 naturally SIV-infected SMs by treating with humanized anti-CD4 mAb (Cdr-OKT4A-huIgG1). CD4+ T cells were depleted almost completely in blood and BM and at variable levels in mucosal tissues and LNs. No marked depletion of CD14+ monocytes was observed. Importantly, CD4+ T cell depletion was associated with a rapid, significant decline in viral load, which returned to baseline level at day 30–45, coincident with an increased fraction of proliferating and activated CD4+ T cells. Throughout the study, virus replication correlated with the level of proliferating CD4+ T cells. CD4+ T cell depletion did not induce any changes in the fraction of Tregs or the level of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells. Our results suggest that the availability of activated CD4+ T cells, rather than immune control of SIV replication, is the main determinant of set-point viral load during natural SIV infection of SMs.
Nichole R. Klatt, Francois Villinger, Pavel Bostik, Shari N. Gordon, Lara Pereira, Jessica C. Engram, Ann Mayne, Richard M. Dunham, Benton Lawson, Sarah J. Ratcliffe, Donald L. Sodora, James Else, Keith Reimann, Silvija I. Staprans, Ashley T. Haase, Jacob D. Estes, Guido Silvestri, Aftab A. Ansari
Poxviruses such as the causative agent of smallpox have developed multiple strategies to suppress immune responses, including the suppression of DC activation. Since poxviruses are large DNA viruses, we hypothesized that their detection by DCs may involve the endosomal DNA recognition receptor TLR9. Indeed, we have shown here that DC recognition of ectromelia virus (ECTV), the causative agent of mousepox, completely depended on TLR9. The importance of TLR9 was highlighted by the fact that mice lacking TLR9 showed drastically increased susceptibility to infection with ECTV. In contrast, we found that the strongly attenuated poxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) activated DCs by both TLR9-dependent and -independent pathways. We therefore tested whether we could use the broader induction of immune responses by MVA to protect mice from a lethal infection with ECTV. Indeed, MVA given at the same time as a lethal dose of ECTV protected mice from death. Importantly, MVA also rescued TLR9-deficient mice if administered 2 full days after an otherwise lethal infection with ECTV. Therefore, these data suggest an essential role for TLR9 in the defense against poxviruses. In addition, postexposure application of MVA may protect against lethal poxvirus infection.
Christofer Samuelsson, Jürgen Hausmann, Henning Lauterbach, Michaela Schmidt, Shizuo Akira, Hermann Wagner, Paul Chaplin, Mark Suter, Meredith O’Keeffe, Hubertus Hochrein
HBV-specific CD8+ T cells are critical for a successful immune response to HBV infection. They are markedly diminished in number in patients who fail to control the virus, but the mechanisms resulting in their depletion remain ill defined. Here, we dissected the defective HBV-specific CD8+ T cell response associated with chronic HBV infection by gene expression profiling. We found that HBV-specific CD8+ T cells from patients with different clinical outcomes could be distinguished by their patterns of gene expression. Microarray analysis revealed that overlapping clusters of functionally related apoptotic genes were upregulated in HBV-specific CD8+ T cells from patients with chronic compared with resolved infection. Further analysis confirmed that levels of the proapoptotic protein Bcl2-interacting mediator (Bim) were upregulated in HBV-specific CD8+ T cells from patients with chronic HBV infection. Blocking Bim-mediated apoptosis enhanced recovery of HBV-specific CD8+ T cells both in culture and directly ex vivo. Consistent with evidence that Bim mediates apoptosis of CD8+ T cells expressing low levels of CD127 (IL-7R), the few surviving HBV-specific CD8+ T cells were CD127hi and had elevated levels of the antiapoptotic protein Mcl1, suggesting they were amenable to IL-7–mediated rescue from apoptosis. We therefore postulate that Bim-mediated attrition of HBV-specific CD8+ T cells contributes to the inability of these cell populations to persist and control viral replication.
A. Ross Lopes, Paul Kellam, Abhishek Das, Claire Dunn, Antonia Kwan, Joanna Turner, Dimitra Peppa, Richard J. Gilson, Adam Gehring, Antonio Bertoletti, Mala K. Maini
Genetic studies suggest a role for killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor/HLA (KIR/HLA) compound genotypes in the outcome of viral infections, but functional data to explain these epidemiological observations have not been reported. Using an in vitro model of infection with influenza A virus (IAV), we attribute functional differences in human NK cell activity to distinct KIR/HLA genotypes. Multicolor flow cytometry revealed that the HLA-C–inhibited NK cell subset in HLA-C1 homozygous subjects was larger and responded more rapidly in IFN-γ secretion and CD107a degranulation assays than its counterpart in HLA-C2 homozygous subjects. The differential IFN-γ response was also observed at the level of bulk NK cells and was independent of KIR3DL1/HLA-Bw4 interactions. Moreover, the differential response was not caused by differences in NK cell maturation status and phenotype, nor by differences in the type I IFN response of IAV-infected accessory cells between HLA-C1 and HLA-C2 homozygous subjects. These results provide functional evidence for differential NK cell responsiveness depending on KIR/HLA genotype and may provide useful insights into differential innate immune responsiveness to viral infections such as IAV.
Golo Ahlenstiel, Maureen P. Martin, Xiaojiang Gao, Mary Carrington, Barbara Rehermann
HIV-2 infection in the majority of infected subjects follows an attenuated disease course that distinguishes it from infection with HIV-1. Antigen-specific T cells are pivotal in the management of chronic viral infections but are not sufficient to control viral replication in HIV-1–positive subjects, and their function in HIV-2 infection is not fully established. In a community-based cohort of HIV-2 long-term nonprogressors in rural Guinea-Bissau, we performed what we believe is the first comprehensive analysis of HIV-2–specific immune responses. We demonstrate that Gag is the most immunogenic protein. The magnitude of the IFN-γ immune response to the HIV-2 proteome was inversely correlated with HIV-2 viremia, and this relationship was specifically due to the targeting of Gag. Furthermore, patients with undetectable viremia had greater Gag-specific responses compared with patients with high viral replication. The most frequently recognized peptides clustered within a defined region of Gag, and responses to a single peptide in this region were associated with low viral burden. The consistent relationship between Gag-specific immune responses and viremia control suggests that T cell responses are vital in determining the superior outcome of HIV-2 infection. A better understanding of how HIV-2 infection is controlled may identify correlates of effective protective immunity essential for the design of HIV vaccines.
Aleksandra Leligdowicz, Louis-Marie Yindom, Clayton Onyango, Ramu Sarge-Njie, Abraham Alabi, Matthew Cotten, Tim Vincent, Carlos da Costa, Peter Aaby, Assan Jaye, Tao Dong, Andrew McMichael, Hilton Whittle, Sarah Rowland-Jones
CD137 is expressed on activated T cells and ligands to this costimulatory molecule have clinical potential for amplifying CD8 T cell immunity to tumors and viruses, while suppressing CD4 autoimmune T cell responses. To understand the basis for this dichotomy in T cell function, CD4 and CD8 antiviral immunity was measured in lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) Armstrong– or A/PR8/34 influenza–infected mice injected with anti-CD137 mAbs. We found that the timing of administration of anti-CD137 mAbs profoundly altered the nature of the antiviral immune response during acute infection. Antiviral immunity progressed normally for the first 72 hours when the mAb was administered early in infection before undergoing complete collapse by day 8 postinfection. Anti-CD137–injected LCMV-infected mice became tolerant to, and persistently infected with, LCMV Armstrong. Elevated levels of IL-10 early in the response was key to the loss of CD4+ T cells, whereas CD8+ T cell deletion was dependent on a prolonged TNF-α response, IL-10, and upregulation of Fas. Blocking IL-10 function rescued CD4 antiviral immunity but not CD8+ T cell deletion. Anti-CD137 treatment given beyond 72 hours after infection significantly enhanced antiviral immunity. Mice treated with anti-CD137 mAb 1 day before infection with A/PR8/34 virus experienced 80% mortality compared with 40% mortality of controls. When treatment was delayed until day 1 postinfection, 100% of the infected mice survived. These data show that anti-CD137 mAbs can induce T cell activation–induced cell death or enhance antiviral immunity depending on the timing of treatment, which may be important for vaccine development.
Benyue Zhang, Charles H. Maris, Juergen Foell, Jason Whitmire, Liguo Niu, Jing Song, Byoung S. Kwon, Anthony T. Vella, Rafi Ahmed, Joshy Jacob, Robert S. Mittler
The adenoviral protein E3-14.7K (14.7K) is an inhibitor of TNF-induced apoptosis, but the molecular mechanism underlying this protective effect has not yet been explained exhaustively. TNF-mediated apoptosis is initiated by ligand-induced recruitment of TNF receptor–associated death domain (TRADD), Fas-associated death domain (FADD), and caspase-8 to the death domain of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1), thereby establishing the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). Here we report that adenovirus 14.7K protein inhibits ligand-induced TNFR1 internalization. Analysis of purified magnetically labeled TNFR1 complexes from murine and human cells stably transduced with 14.7K revealed that prevention of TNFR1 internalization resulted in inhibition of DISC formation. In contrast, 14.7K did not affect TNF-induced NF-κB activation via recruitment of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP-1) and TNF receptor–associated factor 2 (TRAF-2). Inhibition of endocytosis by 14.7K was effected by failure of coordinated temporal and spatial assembly of essential components of the endocytic machinery such as Rab5 and dynamin 2 at the site of the activated TNFR1. Furthermore, we found that the same TNF defense mechanisms were instrumental in protecting wild-type adenovirus–infected human cells expressing 14.7K. This study describes a new molecular mechanism implemented by a virus to escape immunosurveillance by selectively targeting TNFR1 endocytosis to prevent TNF-induced DISC formation.
Wulf Schneider-Brachert, Vladimir Tchikov, Oliver Merkel, Marten Jakob, Cora Hallas, Marie-Luise Kruse, Peter Groitl, Alexander Lehn, Eberhard Hildt, Janka Held-Feindt, Thomas Dobner, Dieter Kabelitz, Martin Krönke, Stefan Schütze
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