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    Viral infections influence intracellular peptide repertoires available for presentation by HLA-I. Alterations in HLA-I/peptide complexes can modulate binding of killer immunoglobuline-like receptors (KIRs) and thereby the function of natural killer (NK) cells. Although multiple studies have provided evidence that HLA-I/KIR interactions play a role in HIV-1 disease progression, the consequence of HIV-1 infection for HLA-I/KIR interactions remain largely unknown. We determined changes in HLA-I presented peptides resulting from HIV-1-infection of primary human CD4 T cells and assessed the impact of changes in peptide repertoires on HLA-I/KIR interactions. Liquid chromatography-coupled tandem mass spectrometry to identify HLA-I presented peptides, cell-based in-vitro assays to evaluate functional consequences of alterations in immunopeptidome and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to confirm experimental data. A total of 583 peptides exclusively presented on HIV-1-infected cells were identified, of which only 0.2% represented HIV-1 derived peptides. Focusing on HLA-C*03 : 04/KIR2DL3 interactions, we observed that HLA-C*03 : 04-presented peptides derived from noninfected CD4 T cells mediated stronger binding of inhibitory KIR2DL3 than peptides derived from HIV-1-infected cells. Furthermore, the most abundant peptide presented by HLA-C*03 : 04 on noninfected CD4 T cells (VIYPARISL) mediated the strongest KIR2DL3-binding, while the most abundant peptide presented on HIV-1-infected cells (YAIQATETL) did not mediate KIR2DL3-binding. Molecular dynamics simulations of HLA-C*03 : 04/KIR2DL3 interactions in the context of these two peptides revealed that VIYPARISL significantly enhanced the HLA-C*03 : 04/peptide contact area to KIR2DL3 compared with YAIQATETL. These data demonstrate that HIV-1 infection-induced changes in HLA-I-presented peptides can reduce engagement of inhibitory KIRs, providing a mechanism for enhanced activation of NK cells by virus-infected cells.


    Maja C Ziegler, Annika Nelde, Jeffrey K Weber, Christian M Schreitmüller, Glòria Martrus, Tien Huynh, Madeleine J Bunders, Sebastian Lunemann, Stefan Stevanovic, Ruhong Zhou, Marcus Altfeld. HIV-1 induced changes in HLA-C*03 :  04-presented peptide repertoires lead to reduced engagement of inhibitory natural killer cell receptors. AIDS (London, England). 2020 Oct 01;34(12):1713-1723

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    PMID: 32501836

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