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Evidence of HIV-1 adaptation to HLA-restricted immune responses at a population level

Moore, Corey Benjamin (2002) Evidence of HIV-1 adaptation to HLA-restricted immune responses at a population level. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Selection of HIV-1 variants resistant to antiretroviral therapy is well documented. However, the selection in vivo of HIV-1 mutant species that can escape host immune system HLA class I restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses has, to date, only been documented in a few individuals and its clinical importance is not well understood. This thesis analyses the observed diversity of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase protein in a well characterised, stable, HLA-diverse cohort of HIV-1 infected patients with over two thousand patient-years of observation. The results show that HIV-1 polymorphism is selected within functional constraints and is associated with specific HLA class I alleles. Furthermore, these associations significantly cluster along the sequence and tend to occur within known corresponding HLA-restricted epitopes. Absence of polymorphism is also HLA-specific and more often seen with common HLA alleles. Knowledge of HLA specific viral polymorphisms can be used to model an individual’s viral load from their HLA type and viral sequence. These results suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocyte escape mutation in HIV-1 is critical to the host at an individual and population level as well as to short and long term viral evolution. This work provides new insights into viral-host interactions and has clinical implications for individualisation of HIV-1 therapy and vaccine design.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Chemical and Mathematical Science
Supervisor(s): James, Ian and Mallal, Simon
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