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J Immunol. 1999 Jun 15;162(12):7525-33.

Biased TCR repertoire in HIV-1-infected patients due to clonal expansion of HIV-1-reverse transcriptase-specific CTL clones.

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Department of Medicine III, Institute of Clinical Immunology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.


To study whether an expansion of HIV-1-specific CTL is contributing to the skewed TCR repertoire in HIV-1-infection, we characterized the TCR usage of CTL clones specific for a conserved epitope in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT/476-484). CTL clones from three HIV-1-infected patients displayed highly similar TCR usage and used the identical Vbeta6.1 and Valpha2.5 gene segments. CTL clones from two patients showed a very high degree of similarity within the TCR complementarity-determining region-3 (CDR-3). In accordance with the similar molecular structure, all three CTL clones also exhibited a similar functional activity with regard to recognition of variant peptides and cytokine secretion pattern. In one subject clonal expansion of a single CTL specificity could be shown over a 10-mo period. TCR spectratyping of PBMC from two patients revealed a marked expansion of CDR-3 segments of a certain length within the Vbeta6-family. Sequence analysis of these CDR-3 yielded sequences identical to the RT/476-484-specific CTL previously isolated from the same patients. This analysis demonstrates that clonal expansion of HIV-1-specific CTL is contributing to the skewed TCR repertoire in HIV-1-infected patients.

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