HIV Controllers Exhibit Effective CD8+ T Cell Recognition of HIV-1-Infected Non-activated CD4+ T Cells

Blandine Monel, Annmarie McKeon, Pedro Lamothe-Molina, Priya Jani, Julie Boucau, Yovana Pacheco, R. Brad Jones, Sylvie Le Gall, Bruce D. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Even with sustained antiretroviral therapy, resting CD4 + T cells remain a persistent reservoir of HIV infection, representing a critical barrier to curing HIV. Here, we demonstrate that CD8 + T cells recognize infected, non-activated CD4 + T cells in the absence of de novo protein production, as measured by immune synapse formation, degranulation, cytokine production, and killing of infected cells. Immune recognition is induced by HLA-I presentation of peptides derived from incoming viral particles, and recognition occurred either following cell-free virus infection or following cell-to-cell spread. CD8 + T cells from HIV controllers mediate more effective immune recognition than CD8 + T cells from progressors. These results indicate that non-activated HIV-infected CD4 + T cells can be targeted by CD8 + T cells directly after HIV entry, before reverse transcription, and thus before the establishment of latency, and suggest a mechanism whereby the immune response may reduce the size of the HIV reservoir. The cure for HIV is not achievable due to HIV reservoirs, mostly in resting CD4 + T cells. Monel et al. show that CD8 + T cells from HIV controllers are able to establish immunological synapses with HIV + resting CD4 + T cells, leading to IFN-γ, MIP1-β production, degranulation, and the elimination of the target cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-153.e4
JournalCell Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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