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Title: T-cell receptor (TCR) usage in HIV-2 infection
Author: Moysi, Eirini
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 2167
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Long-term non-progressors (LTPNs) in HIV infection target the structural protein Gag more frequently than individuals who progress to disease. However, the targeting of Gag per se does not always distinguish these two groups. Various factors have been put forth as likely explanations for this discrepancy including differences in the breadth and magnitude of observed responses, the HLA type of the host, the nature of the individual epitopes targeted and the ability of the virus to mutate these antigenic regions. The purpose of this thesis was to examine, using PBMCs isolated from HIV-2 infected LTNPs and CTL clones established in vitro, the clonotypic architecture and quality of an immunodominant HIV-2 Gag-specific response directed towards the HLA-B*3501-restricted epitope NPVPVGNIY (NY9: Gag245-253). The data presented in this thesis show that in spite of the expression of multiple inhibitory receptors on the surface of NY9-specific CD8+ T-cells, the NY9-response, which is a clonotypically 'private' response, bears a signature characterised by an increased cytotoxic sensitivity and the production of an array of cytokines, most notably IFN-γ and MIP-1β. Moreover, the results of this thesis indicate that the NY9-specific CD8+ T-cells are able to cross-recognise and lyse target B-cells pulsed with the corresponding HIV epitope PY9 and its variants at functional avidities (EC50) that are close to those exhibited by PY9-specific T-cells. However, not all mobilised TCR clonotypes are equally sensitive or equally cross-reactive. When individual CTL clones were studied it emerged that dominant clonotypes within the NY9-specific CD8+ T-cell memory pool possessed a higher avidity for tetramer and sensitivity for antigen than subdominant ones and demonstrated a better cross-reactive potential towards variants of the HIV-2 epitope. Hence, future HIV vaccine strategies may benefit from the inclusion of epitopes like NY9, the presentation of which appears to mobilise CD8+ T-cells with superior functional profiles.
Supervisor: Rowland-Jones, Sarah Louise; Dong, Tao; Stewart-Jones, Guillaume Sponsor: Bodossaki Foundation ; Wingate Foundation ; A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Infectious diseases ; Immunology ; Viruses ; Vaccinology ; Cytotoxic T-cells ; CD8+ T-cells