Because the gastrointestinal mucosa is a critical early site of viral replication and CD4 T-cell depletion, as well as the largest lymphoid organ in the body, assessment of the adaptive immune mechanisms functioning in this tissue may provide important new insights relevant to our understanding of the host-pathogen relationship. Our studies during the prior funding cycle indicated that a robust, often polyfunctional CD8 T-cell response is mounted in gut mucosa during chronic HIV infection. In the next funding cycle, we will build upon prior studies to test three complementary hypotheses concerning the role of mucosal immunity in HIV pathogenesis. Our studies will focus on (1) Polyfunctional mucosal T-cells as an immune correlate of non-progression;(2) The effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on CD8 T-cell phenotype and function in the gut;and (3) The role of mucosal regulatory T-cells in shaping polyfunctional adaptive immune responses. These studies will be conducted on paired blood and mucosal samples from HIV+ subjects on and off ART, including a well-characterized group of HIV controllers, and healthy controls.
In Specific Aim 1, we will test the hypothesis that polyfunctional, HIV-specific CD8 T-cells in mucosal tissues are an immune correlate of non-progression. For the purposes of this study, we define polyfunctional T cells as those capable of secreting multiple cytokines/chemokines and releasing cytolytic granules upon in vitro stimulation. Our hypothesis predicts that mucosal T-cell responses in individuals characterized as Elite Controllers (EC, viral load <75) and Viremic Controllers (VC, viral load 75-2,000) are stronger, more functionally complex, and broader than in Non-Controllers (NC, viral load >10,000).
For Specific Aim 2, we will focus on Non-Controllers who are beginning ART. We will test the hypotheses that (a) the gut microenvironment drives virus-specific memory CD8+ T-cells to immune senescence due to high antigen load, CD4 T-cell depletion, and local expression of ligands for PD- 1;and (b) ART will lead to only partial CD4 restoration and reversal of immune senescence in the gut. Finally, for Specific Aim 3, we will test the hypothesis that regulatory T-cells are present in mucosal tissues of HIV-infected individuals, and that these cells act locally within mucosal tissues to suppress HIV-specific effector functions. Taken together, these studies should greatly advance our understanding of the HIV-host relationship in mucosal tissues during chronic infection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis Study Section (AIP)
Program Officer
Embry, Alan C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Davis
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Leeansyah, Edwin; Ganesh, Anupama; Quigley, Maire F et al. (2013) Activation, exhaustion, and persistent decline of the antimicrobial MR1-restricted MAIT-cell population in chronic HIV-1 infection. Blood 121:1124-35
Hatano, Hiroyu; Yukl, Steven A; Ferre, April L et al. (2013) Prospective antiretroviral treatment of asymptomatic, HIV-1 infected controllers. PLoS Pathog 9:e1003691
Hayes, Timothy L; Asmuth, David M; Critchfield, J William et al. (2013) Impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy initiation on CD4(+) T-cell repopulation in duodenal and rectal mucosa. AIDS 27:867-77
Sandberg, Johan K; Dias, Joana; Shacklett, Barbara L et al. (2013) Will loss of your MAITs weaken your HAART [corrected]? AIDS 27:2501-4
Shaw, Julia M; Hunt, Peter W; Critchfield, J William et al. (2013) Short communication: HIV+ viremic slow progressors maintain low regulatory T cell numbers in rectal mucosa but exhibit high T cell activation. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 29:172-7
Presicce, Pietro; Shaw, Julia M; Miller, Christopher J et al. (2012) Myeloid dendritic cells isolated from tissues of SIV-infected Rhesus macaques promote the induction of regulatory T cells. AIDS 26:263-73
Shaw, Julia M; Hunt, Peter W; Critchfield, J William et al. (2011) Increased frequency of regulatory T cells accompanies increased immune activation in rectal mucosae of HIV-positive noncontrollers. J Virol 85:11422-34
Shacklett, Barbara L; Ferre, April L (2011) Mucosal immunity in HIV controllers: the right place at the right time. Curr Opin HIV AIDS 6:202-7
Shacklett, Barbara L; Greenblatt, Ruth M (2011) Immune responses to HIV in the female reproductive tract, immunologic parallels with the gastrointestinal tract, and research implications. Am J Reprod Immunol 65:230-41
Hatano, Hiroyu; Hayes, Timothy L; Dahl, Viktor et al. (2011) A randomized, controlled trial of raltegravir intensification in antiretroviral-treated, HIV-infected patients with a suboptimal CD4+ T cell response. J Infect Dis 203:960-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 28 publications