BackgroundCD4+ memory T-cells are a major target for infection by HIV-1, whereby latent provirus can establish and endure suppressive antiretroviral therapies. Although HIV-1 subtype C strains (C-HIV) account for the majority of HIV-1 infections worldwide, the susceptibility of CD4+ memory T-cells to infection by CCR5- (R5) and CXCR4-using (X4) C-HIV is unknown. Here, we quantified the susceptibility of naïve and memory CD4+ T-cell subsets, including stem cell memory T-cells (TSCM), to infection by HIV-1 subtype C (C-HIV) strains from treatment-naïve subjects who progressed from chronic to advanced stages of disease whilst either maintaining CCR5-using (R5) viruses (subjects 1503 and 1854), or who experienced emergence of dominant CXCR4-using (X4) strains (subject 1109).FindingsWe show that R5 and X4 C-HIV viruses preferentially target memory and naïve CD4+ T-cell subsets, respectively. While TSCM were susceptible to infection by both R5 and X4 C-HIV viruses, the proportion of infected CD4+ T-cells that were TSCM was higher for R5 strains. Mutagenesis studies of subject 1109 viruses established the V3 region of env as the determinant underlying the preferential targeting of naïve CD4+ T-cells by emergent X4 C-HIV variants in this subject. In contrast, the tropism of R5 C-HIV viruses for CD4+ T-cell subsets was maintained from chronic to advanced stages of disease in subjects 1503 and 1854.ConclusionsThis study provides new insights into the natural history of tropism alterations for CD4+ T-cell subsets by C-HIV strains during progression from chronic to advanced stages of infection. Although not preferentially targeted, our data suggest that TSCM and other memory CD4+ T-cells are likely to be viral reservoirs in subjects with X4 C-HIV infection.
CD4+ T cells are principal targets for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. CD4+ T cell subsets are heterogeneous cell populations, divided by functional and phenotypic differences into naïve and memory T cells. The memory CD4+ T cells are further segregated into central, effector and transitional memory cell subsets by functional, phenotypic and homeostatic characteristics. Defining the distribution of HIV-1 infection in different T cell subsets is important, as this can play a role in determining the size and composition of the viral reservoir. Both central memory and transitional memory CD4+ T cells have been described as long-lived viral reservoirs for HIV. Recently, the newly described stem memory T cell subset has also been implicated as a long-lived HIV reservoir. Using green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter strains of HIV-1 and multi parameter flow cytometry, we developed an assay to simultaneously quantify the susceptibility of stem memory (TSCM), central memory, effector memory, transitional memory and naïve CD4+ T cell subsets, to HIV-1 infection in vitro. We show that TSCM are susceptible to infection with laboratory adapted and clinical HIV-1 strains. Our system facilitates the quantitation of HIV-1 infection in alternative T cell subsets by CCR5- and CXCR4-using viruses across different HIV-1 subtypes, and will be useful for studies of HIV-1 pathogenesis and viral reservoirs.
Early studies of HIV infection dynamics suggested that virus-producing HIV-infected cells had an average half-life of approximately 1 day. However, whether this average behavior is reflective of the dynamics of individual infected cells is unclear. Here, we use HIV-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) constructs and flow cytometry sorting to explore the dynamics of cell infection, viral protein production, and cell death in vitro. By following the numbers of productively infected cells expressing EGFP over time, we show that infected cell death slows down over time. Although infected cell death in vivo could be very different, our results suggest that the constant decay of cell numbers observed in vivo during antiretroviral treatment could reflect a balance of cell death and delayed viral protein production. We observe no correlation between viral protein production and death rate of productively infected cells, showing that viral protein production is not likely to be the sole determinant of the death of HIV-infected cells. Finally, we show that all observed features can be reproduced by a simple model in which infected cells have broad distributions of productive life spans, times to start viral protein production, and viral protein production rates. This broad spectrum of the level and timing of viral protein production provides new insights into the behavior and characteristics of HIV-infected cells.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) resistance to CCR5 antagonists, including maraviroc (MVC), results from alterations in the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) enabling recognition of antagonist-bound CCR5. Here, we characterized tropism alterations for CD4+ T-cell subsets and macrophages by Envs from two subjects who developed MVC resistance in vivo, which displayed either relatively efficient or inefficient recognition of MVC-bound CCR5. We show that MVC-resistant Env with efficient recognition of drug-bound CCR5 displays a tropism shift for CD4+ T-cell subsets associated with increased infection of central memory T-cells and reduced infection of effector memory and transitional memory T-cells, and no change in macrophage infectivity. In contrast, MVC-resistant Env with inefficient recognition of drug-bound CCR5 displays no change in tropism for CD4+ T-cell subsets, but exhibits a significant reduction in macrophage infectivity. The pattern of HIV-1 tropism alterations for susceptible cells may therefore be variable in subjects with MVC resistance.
Aging is associated with immune dysfunction and the related development of conditions with an inflammatory pathogenesis. Some of these immune changes are also observed in HIV infection, but the interaction between immune changes with aging and HIV infection are unknown. Whilst sex differences in innate immunity are recognized, little research into innate immune aging has been performed on women.
Allergy is associated with pathological Th2 responses to otherwise harmless environmental Ags. In contrast, nonallergic individuals mount nonpathological immune responses to allergens, partly attributed to regulatory T cell (Treg) activity. Although thymus-derived natural Tregs have been shown to maintain tolerance to self-Ags and prevent autoimmunity, the generation of Tregs specific to non-self-Ags is less well understood. We investigated the potential for induction of Tregs from PBMCs of ryegrass pollen-allergic or healthy subjects by stimulation in vitro with ryegrass pollen extract in the absence of additional exogenous stimuli. We found that two subsets of proliferating CD4(+) T cells were induced, one expressing intermediate levels of Foxp3 (and IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-17, or IL-2) and the other expressing high levels of Foxp3 (and no effector cytokines). After enrichment based on CD39 expression, the Foxp3(hi) subset suppressed CD4(+) T cell proliferation and IFN-gamma production. The Foxp3(hi) Treg originated from both conversion of dividing non-Tregs (CD4(+)CD25(-)CD127(hi)) and expansion of natural Tregs (CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(lo)). Stable functional Tregs expressing high levels of Foxp3 were induced simultaneously with effector T cells by allergen stimulation. Induction of Foxp3(hi) Tregs was reduced in allergic subjects. These results indicate that the cogeneration of Foxp3(hi) Tregs in response to allergen may be a mechanism for controlling allergic reactions in healthy individuals, which is impaired in those with allergies.
FcRgamma is an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-signalling protein essential for immunoreceptor signaling and monocyte, macrophage and NK cell function. Previous study from our laboratory showed that FcRgamma is down-regulated in HIV-infected macrophages in vitro. FcRgamma expression in immune cells present in HIV-infected individuals is unknown.
FcR? is an ITAM-containing adaptor required for CD16 signaling and function in NK cells. We have previously shown that NK cells from HIV patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) have decreased FcR? expression, but the factors causing this are unknown. We conducted a cross-sectional study of cART-naive viremic patients (ART(-)), virologically suppressed patients receiving cART (ART(+)), and HIV-uninfected controls. CD8(+) T cells were activated, as assessed by CD38(+)HLA-DR(+) expression, in ART(-) patients (p < 0.0001), which was significantly reduced in ART(+) patients (p = 0.0005). In contrast, CD38(+)HLA-DR(+) NK cells were elevated in ART(-) patients (p = 0.0001) but did not decrease in ART(+) patients (p = 0.88). NK cells from both ART(-) and ART(+) patients showed high levels of spontaneous degranulation in ex vivo whole blood assays as well as decreased CD16 expression (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0025, respectively), FcR? mRNA (p < 0.0001 for both groups), FcR? protein expression (p = 0.0016 and p < 0.0001, respectively), and CD16-dependent Syk phosphorylation (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.003, respectively). HIV-infected subjects showed alterations in NK activation, degranulation, CD16 expression and signaling, and elevated plasma markers of inflammation and macrophage activation, that is, neopterin and sCD14, which remained elevated in ART(+) patients. Alterations in NK cell measures did not correlate with viral load or CD4 counts. These data show that in HIV patients who achieve viral suppression following cART, NK cell activation persists. This suggests that NK cells respond to factors different from those driving T cell activation, but which are associated with inflammation in HIV patients.
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