Distinct Gene-Expression Profiles Associated With the Susceptibility of Pathogen-Specific CD4 T Cells to HIV-1 Infection

Hu et al., Blood. (2013) - PMID: 23258923

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In HIV infection, CD4 responses to opportunistic pathogens such as Candida albicans are lost early, but CMV-specific CD4 response persists. Little is currently known about HIV infection of CD4 T cells of different pathogen/antigen specificities. CFSE-labeled PBMCs were stimulated with CMV, tetanus toxoid (TT), and C albicans antigens and subsequently exposed to HIV. HIV infection was monitored by intracellular p24 in CFSE(low) population. We found that although TT- and C albicans-specific CD4 T cells were permissive, CMV-specific CD4 T cells were highly resistant to both R5 and X4 HIV. Quantification of HIV DNA in CFSE(low) cells showed a reduction of strong-stop and full-length DNA in CMV-specific cells compared with TT- and C albicans-specific cells. β-Chemokine neutralization enhanced HIV infection in TT- and C albicans-specific cells, whereas HIV infection in CMV-specific cells remained low despite increased entry by β-chemokine neutralization, suggesting postentry HIV restriction by CMV-specific cells. Microarray analysis (Gene Expression Omnibus accession number: GSE42853) revealed distinct transcriptional profiles that involved selective up-regulation of comprehensive innate antiviral genes in CMV-specific cells, whereas TT- and C albicans-specific cells mainly up-regulated Th17 inflammatory response. Our data suggest a mechanism for the persistence of CMV-specific CD4 response and earlier loss of mucosal Th17-associated TT- and C albicans-specific CD4 response in AIDS.

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