Human leucocyte antigen supertypes and immune susceptibility to HIV-1, implications for vaccine design.
MacDonald KS., Matukas L., Embree JE., Fowke K., Kimani J., Nagelkerke NJ., Oyugi J., Kiama P., Kaul R., Luscher MA., Rowland-Jones S., Ndinya-Achola J., Ngugi E., Bwayo JJ., Plummer FA.
T cell responses against HIV-1 have been identified in a number of exposed uninfected populations. We hypothesized that the ability to mount an effective T cell response is partly determined by the human leucocyte antigens (HLA) phenotype of the individual. We examined whether certain HLA supertypes were associated with differential HIV-1 susceptibility in sexually exposed adults and in the setting of mother to child HIV-1 transmission. By multivariate analysis, decreased HIV-1 infection risk was strongly associated with possession of a cluster of closely related class I HLA alleles (A2/6802 supertype) in sexually exposed adults (Hazard ratio=0.42, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.22-0.81, P=0.009) and perinatally exposed infants (Odds ratio=0.12, 95% CI: 0.03-0.54, P=0.006). The alleles in this HLA supertype are known in some cases, to present the same peptide epitopes (termed 'supertopes'), for T cell recognition. The identification of HIV-1 supertopes, which are associated with protection from HIV-1 infection, has important implications for the application of epitope-based HIV-l vaccines in a variety of racial groups.