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Title: The impact of HLA-driven escape mutation on viral replicative capacity and immune control in HIV infection
Author: Tsai, Ming-Han Chloe
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 8775
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Despite the introduction of antiretroviral therapy, the HIV/HIV epidemic remains an unsolved global health problem. Amongst all the host defence mechanisms, HLA class I molecules have shown the strongest genetic association with delayed disease progression, in particular HLA-B alleles. Numerous studies have shown that the HLAmediated CD8+ T cell responses play a central role in the immune control of HIV. Yet our understanding of HLA-mediated immune control of HIV remains incomplete, even when considering the best-defined epitopes restricted by the protective HLA alleles at a population level. The studies I have conducted and describe herein focus on two well-charaterised protective HLA-B molecules, HLA-B*81:01 and HLA-B*27:05; a third protective molecule, HLA-B*52:01, that has not been well-studied hitherto; and finally the most prevalent HLAB allele in many Asian populations such as Taiwan, HLA-B*40:01, which has an apparently neutral effect on viral replication. This thesis is centred on the Gag-specific immune response, since previous studies have shown the benefits of CD8+ T-cell responses targeting this conserved and immunogenic region of the HIV proteome, in particular the p24 capsid protein. I have investigated here HLA footprints driven by CD8+ T-cell pressure on HIV that are evident in the viral sequences of individuals expressing these HLA molecules. These footprints include novel escape and putative compensatory mutations. The impact of these variants on viral replicative capacity (VRC) and on HIV disease outcome clinical outcomes was examined via fitness assays. These studies identified several escape mutations that effectively cripple HIV. The distinct compensatory pathways available to the virus to mitigate the fitness cost of particular escape mutations were evaluated. In the course of these analyses I have demonstrated the critical influence of the viral backbone, including HIV clade, in combination with particular viral variants, on VRC. Computational modelling analysis has been applied to facilitate understanding of the mechanism by which certain mutants affect the stability of interactions between HLA and viral capsid protein. This thesis offers novel insights into immune control of the key HIV subtypes – B- and C-clade – and of the most severely affected populations – in Africa (South Africa) and Asia (India and Taiwan) – within the global epidemic. This work helps to better define the viral mutation landscape that is essential both for future vaccines designed to corner the virus, and for successful HIV cure strategies.
Supervisor: Goulder, Philip J. R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HIV infections--Immunological aspects ; CTL response ; HIV ; Gag ; escape mutation ; HLA-B*40:01 ; HLA-B*52:01 ; cellular immunity ; HLA footprint ; HLA-B*81:01 ; compensatory mutation ; HLA-B*27:05 ; viral replicative capacity