McKinnon, LR. et al. (2005). Cross-clade CD8(+) T-cell responses with a preference for the predominant circulating clade. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. 40(3): 245-249. [PubMed ID: 16249696]
There is evidence to suggest that CD8+ T cells play an important role in containing HIV infection and several vaccine candidates are aimed at CD8+ T cell responses. A better understanding of cross-clade CD8+ T cell responses to HIV may help to predict whether a successful vaccine could be used to stop geographically and genetically distinct HIV epidemics.
In a related study PEPscreen® custom peptide libraries were constructed to investigate the T cell responses of HIV-resistant individuals. In this case the PEPscreen® library consisted of peptides 9 amino acids in length, overlapping by one amino acid. It provided the opportunity to screen the immunological responsiveness of every conceivable optimal-length epitope in the HIV Env vaccinia protein and was applied in a number of immunological assays. Further use of PEPscreen® peptide libraries was made by the group to study how HIV diversity affects cellular immune responses. The PEPscreen® peptides were used in ELISPOT, flow cytometric and cell culture assays. A library was designed to test variations in the most common version of a particular epitope in order to investigate how specific amino acid mutations affect T cell recognition.
Strategies involving the investigation of T cell responses and epitope mapping, combined with determining the HIV sequence infecting the patient will provide a better understanding of the interaction between the immune system and HIV evolution.