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Volume 6 Supplement 3

AIDS Vaccine 2009

P16-12. Relative dominance of Gag-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes is associated with viral load inversely in HIV-1 clade B' infected Chinese


The role of CD8+ T cells with cytotoxic (CTL) activity of different HIV proteins in controlling HIV-1 infection is still controversial, though a number of studies have suggested that gag-specific CTLs could play a superior role in viral control. The characterization of HIV-1-specific CTLs in genetic diverse individuals infected with locally prevalent HIV-1 strains will provide useful information in elucidating the mechanism of HIV-1 pathogenesis.


The HIV-1-specific CTLs were measured with an IFN-γ ELISPOT assay by using overlapping peptides covering the whole consensus clades B proteome in 114 untreated HIV-1 clade B' infected Chinese. The correlation of CTL responses with immune control of HIV-1 infection was analyzed.


The mean spot-forming cells/106 PBMCs of positive responses to each of the HIV-1 proteins were as follows: Gag, 2853; Pol, 1305; Env, 928; Nef, 1244; Tat, 543; Rev, 827; Vpr, 260; Vpu, 476 and Vif, 365. PBMC from 101/114 (88.60%) subjects recognized at least one overlapping Gag peptide. Pol, Env, Nef, Tat, Rev, Vpr, Vpu and Vif were targeted by 85.09, 74.56, 78.95, 29.82, 29.82, 19.30, 12.28 and 32.46% of studied individuals, respectively. When viral loads were compared to the proportion of protein-specific CTL responses of the total virus-specific responses, we found an inverse association between viral loads and the breadth (p < 0.001) and magnitude (p < 0.001) of the relative Gag response, and a direct association between viral loads and the breadth of the relative Tat(p = 0.029), Pol(p = 0.003) and Env(p = 0.029) response and magnitude of the relative Tat(p = 0.043), Pol(p = 0.003) and Env(p = 0.030) response.


In present study, Gag is the most immunodominant region. The proportion of Gag-specific CTL responses among the total virus-specific CTL activity is inversely associated with viral loads. The dominance of Gag-specific responses may be an indicator of relative control of HIV infection.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jia, M., Chen, J., Hong, K. et al. P16-12. Relative dominance of Gag-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes is associated with viral load inversely in HIV-1 clade B' infected Chinese. Retrovirology 6 (Suppl 3), P241 (2009).

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