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Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Urology

Co-Operative Additive Effects between HLA Alleles in Control of HIV-1
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Author: Philippa C. Matthews et al.

by Philippa C. Matthews, Jennifer Listgarten, Jonathan M. Carlson, Rebecca Payne, Kuan-Hsiang Gary Huang, John Frater, Dominique Goedhals, Dewald Steyn, Cloete van Vuuren, Paolo Paioni, Pieter Jooste, Anthony Ogwu, Roger Shapiro, Zenele Mncube, Thumbi Ndung'u, Bruce D. Walker, David Heckerman, Philip J. R. Goulder


HLA class I genotype is a major determinant of the outcome of HIV infection, and the impact of certain alleles on HIV disease outcome is well studied. Recent studies have demonstrated that certain HLA class I alleles that are in linkage disequilibrium, such as HLA-A*74 and HLA-B*57, appear to function co-operatively to result in greater immune control of HIV than mediated by either single allele alone. We here investigate the extent to which HLA alleles - irrespective of linkage disequilibrium - function co-operatively.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We here refined a computational approach to the analysis of >2000 subjects infected with C-clade HIV first to discern the individual effect of each allele on disease control, and second to identify pairs of alleles that mediate ‘co-operative additive’ effects, either to improve disease suppression or to contribute to immunological failure. We identified six pairs of HLA class I alleles that have a co-operative additive effect in mediating HIV disease control and four hazardous pairs of alleles that, occurring together, are predictive of worse disease outcomes (q<0.05 in each case). We developed a novel ‘sharing score’ to quantify the breadth of CD8+ T cell responses made by pairs of HLA alleles across the HIV proteome, and used this to demonstrate that successful viraemic suppression correlates with breadth of unique CD8+ T cell responses (p?=?0.03).


These results identify co-operative effects between HLA Class I alleles in the control of HIV-1 in an extended Southern African cohort, and underline complementarity and breadth of the CD8+ T cell targeting as one potential mechanism for this effect.