Magnitude and Kinetics of CD8<sup>+</sup> T Cell Activation during Hyperacute HIV Infection Impact Viral Set Point
Ndhlovu ZM., Kamya P., Mewalal N., Kløverpris HN., Nkosi T., Pretorius K., Laher F., Ogunshola F., Chopera D., Shekhar K., Ghebremichael M., Ismail N., Moodley A., Malik A., Leslie A., Goulder PJR., Buus S., Chakraborty A., Dong K., Ndung'u T., Walker BD.
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. CD8+ T cells contribute to the control of HIV, but it is not clear whether initial immune responses modulate the viral set point. We screened high-risk uninfected women twice a week for plasma HIV RNA and identified 12 hyperacute infections. Onset of viremia elicited a massive HIV-specific CD8+ T cell response, with limited bystander activation of non-HIV memory CD8+ T cells. HIV-specific CD8+ T cells secreted little interferon-γ, underwent rapid apoptosis, and failed to upregulate the interleukin-7 receptor, known to be important for T cell survival. The rapidity to peak CD8+ T cell activation and the absolute magnitude of activation induced by the exponential rise in viremia were inversely correlated with set point viremia. These data indicate that rapid, high magnitude HIV-induced CD8+ T cell responses are crucial for subsequent immune control of acute infection, which has important implications for HIV vaccine design.