Research ArticleHIV

Augmentation of HIV-specific T cell function by immediate treatment of hyperacute HIV-1 infection

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Science Translational Medicine  22 May 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 493, eaau0528
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau0528
  • Fig. 1 Effect of very early cART initiation on the induction of HIV-specific CD8+T cell responses.

    (A) Number of study participants tested in each of the three donor groups using ELISPOT assay. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated with individual overlapping peptides spanning Gag, Nef, and Env proteins derived from HIV-1 clade C. (B) ELISPOT data denoting cumulative number of responses to clade C HIV Gag, Nef, and Env peptides in 24 Fiebig stages I and II, 6 Fiebig stages III to V, and 12 UnTx individuals. (C) Number of study participants tested in each group using the carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) proliferation assays. PBMCs were stimulated with Gag, Nef, and Env peptide pools derived from HIV-1 clade C. One peptide pool was used for each protein. (D) Cumulative percentage of proliferating CD8+ T cells in response to Gag, Nef, and Env HIV-1 clade C peptide pools in 21 Fiebig stages I and II, 6 Fiebig stages III to V, and 6 UnTx individuals. (E) Left column shows longitudinal plasma HIV RNA (red; RNA copies per milliliter plasma) and absolute CD4+ T cell counts (blue; CD4+ T lymphocytes per microliter) before HIV infection and after onset of detectable plasma viremia in three representative individuals. The right column shows representative immunodominant tetramer+ responses for each individual measured at the peak of the response (14 to 42 days after diagnosis). Data are arranged according to treatment initiation status. (F) Number of responding and nonresponding participants tested in each group using the MHC class I tetramers. (G) Frequencies of immunodominant tetramer+ CD8+ T cells in 21 Fiebig stages I and II, 8 Fiebig stages III to V, and 11 UnTx individuals. Statistical significance was calculated using multilevel linear mixed-effects regression analyses when comparing between groups to account for multiple measurements within some individuals. Black dots denote a single tetramer measurement per donor. Dots of the same color denote the sum of multiple tetramer measurements from a single donor. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR.

  • Fig. 2 The impact of cumulative HIV antigen load before cART suppression on the magnitude of HIV-specific CD8+T cell responses.

    Correlation between HIV antigen burden before cART-induced complete plasma viral suppression defined as VCD and the frequency of (A) tetramer+ CD8+ T cells in 21 Fiebig stages I and II, (B) breadth of CD8+ T cells in 21 Fiebig stages I and II, and (C) frequency of activated (CD8+, CD38+, and HLA-DR+) cells in 20 Fiebig stages I and II individuals, respectively, at 14 to 42 days after detection of plasma viremia. Spearman’s rank correlation test was used. Two-tailed P values are reported.

  • Fig. 3 The impact of cART initiation on cytokine secretion potential and phenotypic characteristics of HIV-specific CD8+T cell responses.

    HLA class I tetramer binding cells were tested by ICS for IFN-γ production in response to HIV peptide stimulation. (A) Representative data for one Tx Fiebig stage I and II donor, one Tx Fiebig stages III to V individual, and one UnTx donor are shown. Flow panels are gated on IFN-γ–secreting cells. (B) Aggregate data depicting IFN-γ–secreting tetramer+ CD8+ T cells. Black dots denote a single measurement per donor in five Fiebig stages I and II, four Fiebig stages III to V, and six UnTx individuals. Dots of the same color denote multiple measurements from a single donor. (C) All flow plots gated on CD8+ T cells. The left column shows flow plots gated on tetramer+ cells (red dots). The right column shows tetramer+ cells (red dots) overlaid over total CD8+ T cells (gray background), (D) Aggregate for frequencies of CD127+ tetramer+ cells in 16 Fiebig stages I and II, 4 Fiebig stages III to V, and 6 UnTx individuals. Black dots denote a single measurement per donor. Dots of the same color denote multiple measurements from a single donor. Samples were tested between 21 and 28 days after diagnosis, as indicated in the figures. Statistical significance for aggregate data was calculated using multilevel linear mixed-effects regression analyses when comparing between groups to account for multiple measurements within some individuals. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR.

  • Fig. 4 Transcriptional signatures of HIV-specific CD8+T cell responses in Tx hyperacute and UnTx hyperacute HIV infection.

    Transcriptional responses of CD8+ T cells in UnTx (n = 4) and early Tx (n = 4) individuals along the course of acute infection. (A) Timeline of collected RNA samples with samples binned into time frames denoted by color. (B) Number of differentially expressed genes between HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from UnTx and early Tx individuals at various time points. (C) Volcano plot depicting differentially expressed genes (FDR, q < 0.01, edgeR likelihood ratio test) in HIV-specific CD8+ T cells at the 2-week time frame comparing Tx and UnTx individuals. Genes of interest are annotated by name. (D) Heatmap depicting differentially expressed genes from (C), row normalized expression. (E) Scaled log-normalized expression values of genes of interest. The significances reported were calculated as in (C).

  • Fig. 5 The effect of transient antigen exposure on the functional qualities of HIV-specific T cell responses.

    (A) PBMCs isolated within 28 days of ART initiation were stained with a panel of MHC class I peptide tetramers specific for HIV epitopes and antibodies against BCL-2. All flow plots are gated on CD8+ T cells. Top panels show flow plots gated on tetramer+ CD8+ T cells for each HIV tetramer tested. Bottom panels show tetramer+ cells (red dots) overlaid on total CD8+ T cells (black background). (B) Aggregate BCL-2 expression on tetramer+ cells specific for CMV or HIV measured in 5 persons with CMV responses, and 11 Fiebig stages I and II, 6 Fiebig stages III to V, and 6 UnTx individuals with HIV-specific responses. Black dots denote single measurement per donor. Dots of the same color denote multiple measurements within a donor. (C) Representative results of direct killing activity of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells measured in a 4-hour killing assay. Peptide-pulsed CFSEhi CD8-depleted cells designated as targets were mixed with CFSElo unpulsed control cells in a 1:1 ratio and coincubated with autologous CD8+ T cells. Reduction in the CFSEhi population was compared to target cells pulsed with an irrelevant peptide (ptd). (D) The killing capacity was calculated as percent reduction in CFSEhi HIV peptide–pulsed targets relative to control ovalbumin (SIINFEKL) peptide–pulsed condition. Six Tx Fiebig stages I and II, five Tx Fiebig stages III to V, and five UnTx individuals were used for these experiments. Statistical significance for aggregated data (B and D) was determined using linear mixed-effects regression analyses when comparing between groups to account for multiple measurements within some individuals. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR.

  • Fig. 6 The effect of early cART initiation on memory differentiation of HIV-specific CD8+T cells.

    HIV-specific (tetramer+) CD8+ T cell memory subpopulations defined using CD45RA, CD27, and CCR7 at 14 to 36 days after viremia using flow cytometry. These markers were used to discriminate three distinct memory populations: Tcm (CD45RACD27+CCR7+), Ttm (CD45RACD27+CCR7), and Tem (CD45RACD27CCR7). (A) Representative flow plots for early Tx individuals and UnTx individuals are shown. (B) Aggregate data for the frequencies of the three memory subsets in 11 Tx Fiebig stages I and II, 7 Tx Fiebig stages III to V, and 9 UnTx individuals, as well as 6 CMV responses in early Tx individuals, are shown. Statistical significance was calculated using two-sided Mann-Whitney test. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR. Dots of the same color present data from the same donor. (C) Representative flow plots showing intradonor differences in the phenotype of CMV- and HIV-specific CD8+ T cells in a Tx Fiebig stage V donor are shown.

  • Fig. 7 Effect of prolonged viral suppression on the phenotype of persistent HIV-specific CD8+T cell responses.

    HIV-specific (tetramer+) CD8+ T cell memory subpopulations defined using CD45RA, CD27, and CCR7 during acute (14 to 36 days after diagnosis) and chronic (more than 250 days after diagnosis) infection. (A) Representative flow plots for a Tx Fiebig stage I individual and aggregate data for the frequencies of the three memory subsets in five Tx Fiebig stages I and II individuals. (B) Representative flow plots for a Tx Fiebig stage III individual and aggregate data for the frequencies of the three memory subsets in five Tx Fiebig stages III to V individuals, (C) Representative flow plots for one UnTx individual and aggregate data for the frequencies of the three memory subsets in four UnTx individuals. Dots of the same color represent data from the same donor. The whiskers represent minimum and maximum values. P values were adjusted using Bonferroni-Dunn method.

  • Fig. 8 The effect of early cART initiation on the functional qualities of HIV-specific CD4+T cell responses.

    HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses were measured by IFN-γ ICS after overnight incubation in the presence of overlapping HIV-1 clade C peptide pools. (A) Representative flow plots gated on IFN-γ–secreting CD4+ T cells. (B) Aggregate data for frequencies of IFN-γ–producing CD4+ T cells in response to Gag, Nef, and Env peptide pools in 12 Fiebig stages I and II, 5 Fiebig stages III to V , and 9 UnTx donors are shown. Black dots denote a single measurement per donor. Dots of the same color denote multiple measurements within a donor. Statistical significance was determined using multilevel linear mixed-effects regression analyses when comparing between groups to account for multiple measurements within some individuals. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR. (C) Flow cytometry of CFSE-labeled CD4+ T cells for one representative donor from each group measured at 21 days and more than 250 days. (D) Aggregate CD4+ T cell proliferative responses measured between 14 and 42 days after diagnosis. (E) Aggregate CD4+ T cell proliferative responses measured after 250 days after diagnosis. Data in (D) and (E) were generated from 11 Fiebig stages I and II, 6 Fiebig stages III to V, and 9 UnTx donors. (F) Aggregate CD8+ T cell proliferative responses measured between 14 and 42 days after diagnosis. (G) Aggregate CD8+ T cell proliferative responses measured 250 days after diagnosis. Data in (F) and (G) were generated from 11 Fiebig stages I and II, 5 Fiebig stages III to V, and 7 UnTx individuals. Statistical significance was determined using two-tailed Mann-Whitney test. (H) Correlation between CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferative responses in eight Tx Fiebig stages I and II donors. Spearman’s rank correlation test was used. Two-tailed P values are reported. (I) Representative flow plot depicting CD8+ T cell proliferation in unfractionated PBMC and in CD4-depleted PBMC. (J) Aggregate CD8+ T cell proliferative responses to HIV antigens with and without CD4+ T cells in five Tx Fiebig stages I and II donors. Statistical significance was determined using two-tailed Mann-Whitney test. Horizontal lines represent median with IQR.

  • Table 1 Baseline parameters and sample collection time points for the three arms of the study.

    Number in groupGroupDays from diagnosis
    to Tx*
    Days to sample
    collection*
    Viral load at sample
    collection*
    CD4 counts at sample
    collection*
    261: Tx Fiebig stages I and II1.0 (1.0–2.0)28.0 (20.3–30.0)20 (20–20)862.0 (669–977)
    82: Tx Fiebig stages III to V1.0 (1.0–23.0)27.0 (21.0–28.0)20 (20–20)486 (423–599)
    123: UnTx-28 (24.0–30.0)665,000 (18,750–1,357,500)547 (502–623)

    *Values reported as median (IQR).

    Supplementary Materials

    • stm.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/11/493/eaau0528/DC1

      Materials and Methods

      Fig. S1. Transcriptional analysis reveals predicted dysfunctional responses in CD8+ T cells from UnTx individuals versus early Tx individuals.

      Fig. S2. TCR clonotype dynamics in early Tx and UnTx HIV.

      Fig. S3. Longitudinal characterization of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in Tx and UnTx hyperacute HIV infection.

      Table S1. Baseline characteristics of study participants.

      Table S2. Effect of interval between treatment initiation and sample collection on immune parameters in Fiebig stages I and II and Fiebig stages III to V participants.

      Table S3. Immunodominant responses measured by HLA class I tetramers in individuals Tx in Fiebig stages III to V and UnTx donors.

      Table S4. Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests in HIV-specific, CMV-specific, and total CD8+ T cells (excluding the tetramer-specific cells) between the time points assayed in Tx individuals.

      Table S5. Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests in HIV-specific, CMV-specific, and total CD8+ T cells (excluding the tetramer-specific cells) between the time points assayed in UnTx individuals.

      Table S6. Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests between CMV-specific and HIV-specific CD8+ T cells at the late and long-term time points and the difference between those cells between the two time points.

      Table S7. Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests between HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from Tx and UnTx individuals at each time point.

      Table S8. TCRβ clonotype sequences.

      Table S9. Table contains alignment statistics and metadata on the RNA-seq samples in this study.

      Data file S1. Primary data.

    • The PDF file includes:

      • Materials and Methods
      • Fig. S1. Transcriptional analysis reveals predicted dysfunctional responses in CD8+ T cells from UnTx individuals versus early Tx individuals.
      • Fig. S2. TCR clonotype dynamics in early Tx and UnTx HIV.
      • Fig. S3. Longitudinal characterization of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in Tx and UnTx hyperacute HIV infection.
      • Table S1. Baseline characteristics of study participants.
      • Table S2. Effect of interval between treatment initiation and sample collection on immune parameters in Fiebig stages I and II and Fiebig stages III to V participants.
      • Table S3. Immunodominant responses measured by HLA class I tetramers in individuals Tx in Fiebig stages III to V and UnTx donors.
      • Legends for tables S4 to S7
      • Table S8. TCRβ clonotype sequences.
      • Legend for table S9

      [Download PDF]

      Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

      • Table S4 (Microsoft Excel format). Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests in HIV-specific, CMV-specific, and total CD8+ T cells (excluding the tetramer-specific cells) between the time points assayed in Tx individuals.
      • Table S5 (Microsoft Excel format). Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests in HIV-specific, CMV-specific, and total CD8+ T cells (excluding the tetramer-specific cells) between the time points assayed in UnTx individuals.
      • Table S6 (Microsoft Excel format). Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests between CMV-specific and HIV-specific CD8+ T cells at the late and long-term time points and the difference between those cells between the two time points.
      • Table S7 (Microsoft Excel format). Results from the RNA-seq differential expression tests between HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from Tx and UnTx individuals at each time point.
      • Table S9 (Microsoft Excel format). Table contains alignment statistics and metadata on the RNA-seq samples in this study.
      • Data file S1 (Microsoft Excel format). Primary data.

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