In an effort to increase the understanding of HIV and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) co-evolution, and improve the development of T cell-mediated AIDS vaccines, which induce the creation of HIV-specific T cells within the body, a research collaboration between researchers in Japan, China, France, Kazakhstan, and the UK analyzed T cell responses to a single HIV escape mutation. The researchers looked at how the HIV single mutant was selected by different (RW8- and RF10-specific) CTLs, and investigated the new corresponding CTLs.
The research focused on a mutation that is very frequently found in individuals having the human leukocyte antigen HLA-A*24:02, which is estimated to be in approximately 70% of the Japanese population, and revealed that one mutation produced two outcomes. During HIV/CTL co-evolution, the mutation induced a new T-cell repertoire in one RF10 mutant epitope but not in the RW8 mutant epitope. The research clarified the coadaptation between a single HIV-1 mutation and T cells.
"This study demonstrated that only a single mutation selected by T cells produced 2 different outcomes in T cell adaptation suggesting a more complex co-evolution between HIV and T cell in the body," said Professor Masafumi Takiguchi of Kumamoto University, leader of the research project. "This finding will contribute to the development of an effective T cell-mediated AIDS vaccine in the future."
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Sun, X., Shi, Y., Akahoshi, T., Fujiwara, M., Gatanaga, H., Schönbach, C., ... & Takiguchi, M. (2016). Effects of a Single Escape Mutation on T Cell and HIV-1 Co-adaptation. Cell reports, 15(10), 2279-2291.