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OBJECTIVE: To identify protective human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in an HIV-infected south-east Asian population, in whom HLA-B*57 prevalence is lower than other ethnic groups, and HIV-1 CRF01_AE is the dominant circulating subtype. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of Thai patients with chronic HIV infection. METHODS: Five hundred and fifty-seven HIV-1 CRF01_AE-infected Thais were recruited. Their HLA type and viral load were determined to statistically analyze the association of each allele in viral control. In-silico molecular dynamics was also used to evaluate the effect of HLA structure variants on epitope binding. RESULTS: HLA-B*35:05 was identified as the most protective allele (P=0.003, q=0.17), along with HLA-B*57:01 (P=0.044, q=0.31). Structurally, HLA-B*35:05 belonged to the HLA-B*35-PY group of HLA-B*35 alleles; however, unlike the other HLA-B*35 alleles that carry Arg (R) at residue 97, it has unique sequences at T94, L95, and S97, located within the peptide-binding groove. Analysis of the three-dimensional HLA structure and molecular dynamics indicates that S97 in HLA-B*35:05 leads to less flexibility in the groove, and shorter distances between the α-helixes compared with the disease-susceptible HLA-B*35-PY allele, HLA-B*35:01. CONCLUSION: These data indicate the existence of a protective effect of HLA-B*57 across ethnic groups and highlight HLA-B*35:05 as an allele uniquely protective in subtype CRF01_AE-infected Thais. The divergence of HLA-B*35:05 from conventional HLA-B*35-PY structural sequences at the peptide-binding groove is consistent with previous studies that have identified HLA residue 97 as strongly influential in shaping HLA impact on immune control of HIV, and that a more restricted peptide-binding motif may be associated with improved control.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





959 - 967


Adolescent, Adult, Animals, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Cross-Sectional Studies, Disease Resistance, Female, Gene Frequency, Genetic Association Studies, HIV Infections, HIV-1, HLA-B35 Antigen, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Thailand, Viral Load, Young Adult