Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains among the most significant public health threats worldwide. Despite three decades of research following the discovery of HIV, a preventive vaccine remains elusive. The study of HIV elite controllers has been crucial to elaborate the genetic and immunologic determinants that underlie control of HIV replication. Coordinated studies of elite control in humans have, however, been limited by variability among infecting viral strains, host genotype, and the uncertainty of the timing and route of infection. In this review, we discuss the role of nonhuman primate (NHP) models for the elucidation of the immunologic correlates that underlie control of AIDS virus replication. We discuss the importance of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) alleles in activating CD8+ T-cell populations that promote control of both HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication. Provocatively, we make the argument that T-cell subsets recognizing the HIV/SIV viral infectivity factor (Vif) protein may be crucial for control of viral replication. We hope that this review demonstrates how an in-depth understanding of the MHC-I gene products associated with elite control of HIV/SIV, and the epitopes that they present, can provide researchers with a glimpse into the protective immune responses that underlie AIDS nonprogression.
Immunogenetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 10, 2017
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