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Updated in 2018/10/10 下午 10:36:09      Viewed: 105 times      (Journal Article)

Arumugam Balamurugan , Hwee L Ng , Otto O Yang
ABSTRACT
Although a high level of promiscuity for heterologous epitopes is believed to exist for cellular immunity, limited data explore this issue for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. Here, we found an unexpected degree of heterologous cross-reactivity against HIV-1 epitopes, in addition to the targeted index epitope. Most CTL clones screened cross-reacted against other known HIV-1 epitopes of the same major histocompatibility complex type I (MHC-I) restriction, up to 40% of tested nonindex epitopes in some cases. The observed cross-reactivity was universally lower avidity than recognition of the index epitope when examined for several A*02- and B*57-restricted CTL clones, demonstrating that the high concentrations of exogenous epitope typically used for screening of CTL responses are prone to detect such cross-reactivity spuriously. In agreement with this, we found that these cross-reactive responses do not appear to mediate CTL activity against HIV-1-infected cells. Overall, our data indicate that low-level cross-reactivity is remarkably common for HIV-1-specific CTLs. The role of this phenomenon is unclear, but low-avidity interactions have been shown to foster homeostatic proliferation of memory T cells.IMPORTANCE This study raises two issues related to HIV-1-specific CTL responses. These are key immune responses that retard disease progression in infected persons that are highly relevant to immunotherapies and vaccines for HIV-1. First, we make the novel observation that these responses are promiscuous and that CTLs targeting one epitope may cross-recognize other, completely distinct epitopes in the virus. While these are low-avidity interactions that do not appear to contribute directly to the antiviral activity of CTLs, this raises interesting biologic implications regarding the purpose of the phenomenon, such as providing a stimulus for these responses to persist long term. Second, the data raise a technical caveat to detection of CTL responses against particular epitopes, suggesting that some methodologies may unintentionally detect cross-reactivity and overestimate responses against an epitope.