Cross-clade recognition of p55 by cytotoxic T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection.
McAdam S., Kaleebu P., Krausa P., Goulder P., French N., Collin B., Blanchard T., Whitworth J., McMichael A., Gotch F.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate cross-clade recognition of p55 antigen by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in persons infected with diverse clades of HIV-1; to facilitate the development of a CTL-inducing vaccine to prevent transmission of multiple clades of HIV-1. DESIGN: Experiments were designed to evaluate whether persons in Uganda and the United Kingdom, infected with diverse clades of HIV-1, have CTL capable of recognizing and killing autologous target cells infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses (rVV) expressing the Gag protein from A, B, C and D clade HIV-1. The extent of cross-reactivity within such individuals, each infected with characterized virus, might reflect the type of cross-reactive immune response inducible by a monovalent vaccine. METHODS: Asymptomatic HIV-positive individuals were fully tissue-typed by ARMS (amplification of refractory mutation system) polymerase chain reaction. rVV expressing the Gag protein from identified A, B, C and D viruses were prepared. CTL were cultured and tested for cytolytic activity on autologous rVV-infected or peptide-pulsed B cells. RESULTS: Ugandan patients had inducible CTL responses recognizing A, B, C and D clade HIV-1 Gag. The majority of UK patients had inducible CTL responses that recognized two or more clades. No patient showed any HIV-2 cross-reactivity. Cross-reactive responses were characterized in three Ugandan patients. CONCLUSIONS: Most patients tested mounted cross-reactive CTL responses that recognized Gag proteins from clades of HIV-1 other than those with which they were infected.