Successful human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccines will need to induce effective T-cell immunity. We studied immunodominant simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag-specific T-cell responses and their restricting major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I alleles in pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina), an increasingly common primate model for the study of HIV infection of humans. CD8+ T-cell responses to an SIV epitope, Gag 164-172KP9, were present in at least 15 of 36 outbred pigtail macaques. The immunodominant KP9-specific response accounted for the majority (mean, 63%) of the SIV Gag response. Sequencing from six macaques identified 7 new Mane-A and 13 new Mane-B MHC class I alleles. One new allele, Mane-A*10, was common to four macaques that responded to the KP9 epitope. We adapted reference strand-mediated conformational analysis (RSCA) to MHC class I genotype M. nemestrina. Mane-A*10 was detected in macaques presenting KP9 studied by RSCA but was absent from non-KP9-presenting macaques. Expressed on class I-deficient cells, Mane-A*10, but not other pigtail macaque MHC class I molecules, efficiently presented KP9 to responder T cells, confirming that Mane-A*10 restricts the KP9 epitope. Importantly, naïve pigtail macaques infected with SIVmac251 that respond to KP9 had significantly reduced plasma SIV viral levels (log10 0.87 copies/ml; P = 0.025) compared to those of macaques not responding to KP9. The identification of this common M. nemestrina MHC class I allele restricting a functionally important immunodominant SIV Gag epitope establishes a basis for studying CD8+ T-cell responses against AIDS in an important, widely available nonhuman primate species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science