Researchers Advance Closer to Developing HIV Vaccine

Insight into the inner complexities of HIV and cytotoxic T lymphocyte evolution raise hopes for HIV cure.

In a new study, researchers found that a single T cell-selected HIV mutation is able to produce different T cell adaptations.

A study published in Cell Reports sought to increase the understanding of HIV and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) co-evolution, and to improve the development of T cell-mediated AIDS vaccines, which induce the development of HIV-specific T cells within the body. For the study, researchers primarily focused on a mutation frequently found in individuals who have the human leukocyte antigen HLA-A*24:02.

It’s estimated that approximately 70% of the Japanese population have this mutation. The results of the study found that 1 mutation produced 2 outcomes.

During the HIV/CTL coevolution, the mutation induced a new T cell repertoire in 1 RF10 mutant epitope, but not in the RW8 mutant epitope. The coadaptation was clarified between a single HIV-1 mutation and T cells.

“This study demonstrated that only a single mutation selected by T cells produced 2 different outcomes in T cell adaptation suggesting a more complex co-evolution between HIV and T cell in the body,” said lead researcher Masafumi Takiguchi. “This finding will contribute to the development of an effective T cell-mediated AIDS vaccine in the future.”