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The relative contributions of HLA alleles and T-cell receptors (TCRs) to the prevention of mutational viral escape are unclear. Here, we examined human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses restricted by two closely related HLA class I alleles, B*5701 and B*5703, that differ by two amino acids but are both associated with a dominant response to the same HIV-1 Gag epitope KF11 (KAFSPEVIPMF). When this epitope is presented by HLA-B*5701, it induces a TCR repertoire that is highly conserved among individuals, cross-recognizes viral epitope variants, and is rarely associated with mutational escape. In contrast, KF11 presented by HLA-B*5703 induces an entirely different, more heterogeneous TCR beta-chain repertoire that fails to recognize specific KF11 escape variants which frequently arise in clade C-infected HLA-B*5703(+) individuals. These data show the influence of HLA allele subtypes on TCR selection and indicate that extensive TCR diversity is not a prerequisite to prevention of allowable viral mutations.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





1619 - 1631


Alleles, Amino Acid Substitution, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Gene Products, gag, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, Immunodominant Epitopes, Mutation, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Species Specificity