Broad TCR Usage in Functional HIV-1-Specific CD8+ T Cell Expansions Driven by Vaccination during Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy
Yang H., Dong T., Turnbull E., Ranasinghe S., Ondondo B., Goonetilleke N., Winstone N., di Gleria K., Bowness P., Conlon C., Borrow P., Hanke T., McMichael A., Dorrell L.
Abstract During chronic HIV-1 infection, continuing viral replication is associated with impaired proliferative capacity of virus-specific CD8+ T cells and with the expansion and persistence of oligoclonal T cell populations. TCR usage may significantly influence CD8+ T cell-mediated control of AIDS viruses; however, the potential to modulate the repertoire of functional virus-specific T cells by immunotherapy has not been explored. To investigate this, we analyzed the TCR Vβ usage of CD8+ T cells populations which were expanded following vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing a HIV-1 gag/multiepitope immunogen (MVA.HIVA) in HIV-1-infected patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy. Vaccinations induced the re-expansion of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells and these showed broad TCR Vβ usage which was maintained for at least 1 year in some individuals. By contrast, virus-specific CD8+ T cell populations in the same donors which failed to expand after vaccination and in unvaccinated controls were oligoclonal. Simultaneously, we observed that CD8+ T cells recognizing vaccine-derived HIV-1 epitopes displayed enhanced capacity to proliferate and to inhibit HIV-1 replication in vitro, following MVA.HIVA immunizations. Taken together, these data indicate that an attenuated viral-vectored vaccine can modulate adaptive CD8+ T cell responses to HIV-1 and improve their antiviral functional capacity. The potential therapeutic benefit of this vaccination approach warrants further investigation.