Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35082297
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-022-28130-0
Nat Commun 2022 Jan; 13(1): 521
HIV elite controllers maintain a population of CD4 + T cells endowed with high avidity for Gag antigens and potent effector functions. How these HIV-specific cells avoid infection and depletion upon encounter with the virus remains incompletely understood. Ex vivo characterization of single Gag-specific CD4 + T cells reveals an advanced Th1 differentiation pattern in controllers, except for the CCR5 marker, which is downregulated compared to specific cells of treated patients. Accordingly, controller specific CD4 + T cells show decreased susceptibility to CCR5-dependent HIV entry. Two controllers carried biallelic mutations impairing CCR5 surface expression, indicating that in rare cases CCR5 downregulation can have a direct genetic cause. Increased expression of β-chemokine ligands upon high-avidity antigen/TCR interactions contributes to autocrine CCR5 downregulation in controllers without CCR5 mutations. These findings suggest that genetic and functional regulation of the primary HIV coreceptor CCR5 play a key role in promoting natural HIV control.