HIV-1 Antibody Neutralization Breadth Is Associated with Enhanced HIV-Specific CD4+ T Cell Responses
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CitationRanasinghe, Srinika, Damien Z. Soghoian, Madelene Lindqvist, Musie Ghebremichael, Faith Donaghey, Mary Carrington, Michael S. Seaman, Daniel E. Kaufmann, Bruce D. Walker, and Filippos Porichis. 2016. “HIV-1 Antibody Neutralization Breadth Is Associated with Enhanced HIV-Specific CD4 + T Cell Responses.” Edited by G. Silvestri. Journal of Virology 90 (5): 2208–20. doi:10.1128/JVI.02278-15.
AbstractAntigen-specific CD4(+) T helper cell responses have long been recognized to be a critical component of effective vaccine immunity. CD4(+) T cells are necessary to generate and maintain humoral immune responses by providing help to antigen-specific B cells for the production of antibodies. In HIV infection, CD4(+) T cells are thought to be necessary for the induction of Env-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies. However, few studies have investigated the role of HIV-specific CD4(+) T cells in association with HIV neutralizing antibody activity in vaccination or natural infection settings. Here, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of HIV-specific CD4(+) T cell responses in a cohort of 34 untreated HIV-infected controllers matched for viral load, with and without neutralizing antibody breadth to a panel of viral strains. Our results show that the breadth and magnitude of Gag-specific CD4(+) T cell responses were significantly higher in individuals with neutralizing antibodies than in those without neutralizing antibodies. The breadth of Gag-specific CD4(+) T cell responses was positively correlated with the breadth of neutralizing antibody activity. Furthermore, the breadth and magnitude of gp41-specific, but not gp120-specific, CD4(+) T cell responses were significantly elevated in individuals with neutralizing antibodies. Together, these data suggest that robust Gag-specific CD4(+) T cells and, to a lesser extent, gp41-specific CD4(+) T cells may provide important intermolecular help to Env-specific B cells that promote the generation or maintenance of Env-specific neutralizing antibodies. IMPORTANCE One of the earliest discoveries related to CD4(+) T cell function was their provision of help to B cells in the development of antibody responses. Yet little is known about the role of CD4(+) T helper responses in the setting of HIV infection, and no studies to date have evaluated the impact of HIV-specific CD4(+) T cells on the generation of antibodies that can neutralize multiple different strains of HIV. Here, we addressed this question by analyzing HIV-specific CD4(+) T cell responses in untreated HIV-infected persons with and without neutralizing antibodies. Our results indicate that HIV-infected persons with neutralizing antibodies have significantly more robust CD4(+) T cell responses targeting Gag and gp41 proteins than individuals who lack neutralizing antibodies. These associations suggest that Gag-and gp41-specific CD4(+) T cell responses may provide robust help to B cells for the generation or maintenance of neutralizing antibodies in natural HIV-infection.
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