Mutations in a dominant Nef epitope of simian immunodeficiency virus diminish TCR:epitope peptide affinity but not epitope peptide:MHC class I binding.
Viruses like HIV and SIV escape from containment by CD8(+) T lymphocytes through generating mutations that interfere with epitope peptide:MHC class I binding. However, mutations in some viral epitopes are selected for that have no impact on this binding. We explored the mechanism underlying the evolution of such epitopes by studying CD8(+) T lymphocyte recognition of a dominant Nef epitope of SIVmac251 in infected Mamu-A*02(+) rhesus monkeys. Clonal analysis of the p199RY-specific CD8(+) T lymphocyte repertoire in these monkeys indicated that identical T cell clones were capable of recognizing wild-type (WT) and mutant epitope sequences. However, we found that the functional avidity of these CD8(+) T lymphocytes for the mutant peptide:Mamu-A*02 complex was diminished. Using surface plasmon resonance to measure the binding affinity of the p199RY-specific TCR repertoire for WT and mutant p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 monomeric complexes, we found that the mutant p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 complexes had a lower affinity for TCRs purified from CD8(+) T lymphocytes than did the WT p199RY peptide:Mamu-A*02 complexes. These studies demonstrated that differences in TCR affinity for peptide:MHC class I ligands can alter functional p199RY-specific CD8(+) T lymphocyte responses to mutated epitopes, decreasing the capacity of these cells to contain SIVmac251 replication.
Cale, EM; Bazick, HS; Rianprakaisang, TA; Alam, SM; Letvin, NL
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