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      Antiviral pressure exerted by HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) during primary infection demonstrated by rapid selection of CTL escape virus.

      Nature medicine

      Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, immunology, virology, HIV Envelope Protein gp160, HIV-1, Humans, Immunodominant Epitopes, Oligonucleotide Probes, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Viremia

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          Abstract

          The HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response is temporally associated with the decline in viremia during primary HIV-1 infection, but definitive evidence that it is of importance in virus containment has been lacking. Here we show that in a patient whose early CTL response was focused on a highly immunodominant epitope in gp 160, there was rapid elimination of the transmitted virus strain and selection for a virus population bearing amino acid changes at a single residue within this epitope, which conferred escape from recognition by epitope-specific CTL. The magnitude (> 100-fold), kinetics (30-72 days from onset of symptoms) and genetic pathways of virus escape from CTL pressure were comparable to virus escape from antiretroviral therapy, indicating the biological significance of the CTL response in vivo. One aim of HIV-1 vaccines should thus be to elicit strong CTL responses against multiple codominant viral epitopes.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Treatment of infected patients with ABT-538, an inhibitor of the protease of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), causes plasma HIV-1 levels to decrease exponentially (mean half-life, 2.1 +/- 0.4 days) and CD4 lymphocyte counts to rise substantially. Minimum estimates of HIV-1 production and clearance and of CD4 lymphocyte turnover indicate that replication of HIV-1 in vivo is continuous and highly productive, driving the rapid turnover of CD4 lymphocytes.
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              High levels of HIV-1 in plasma during all stages of infection determined by competitive PCR.

              Quantitative competitive polymerase chain reaction (QC-PCR) methods were used to quantify virion-associated human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) RNA in plasma from 66 patients with Centers for Disease Control stage I to IVC1 infection. HIV-1 RNA, ranging from 100 to nearly 22,000,000 copies per milliliter of plasma (corresponding to 50 to 11,000,000 virions per milliliter), was readily quantified in all subjects, was significantly associated with disease stage and CD4+ T cell counts, and decreased by as much as 235-fold with resolution of primary infection or institution of antiretroviral therapy. Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint dilution culture. Quantitation of HIV-1 in plasma by QC-PCR may be useful in assessing the efficacy of antiretroviral agents, especially in early stage disease when conventional viral markers are often negative.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                9018240

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