Immune mobilising T cell receptors redirect polyclonal CD8+ T cells in chronic HIV infection to form immunological synapses
in: Scientific Reports (2022)
T cell exhaustion develops in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection due to chronic viral antigenic stimulation. This adaptive response primarily affects virus-specific CD8+ T cells, which may remain dysfunctional despite viral load-reducing antiretroviral therapy; however, abnormalities may also be evident in non-HIV-specific populations. Both could limit the efficacy of cell therapies against viral reservoirs. Here, we show that bulk (polyclonal) CD8+ T cells from people living with HIV (PLWH) express proposed markers of dysfunctional HIV-specific T cells at high levels yet form lytic immunological synapses (IS) and eliminate primary resting infected (HIV Gaglo) CD4+ T cells, when redirected by potent bispecific T cell-retargeting molecules, Immune mobilising monoclonal T cell receptors (TCR) Against Virus (ImmTAV). While PLWH CD8+ T cells are functionally impaired when compared to CD8+ T cells from HIV-naïve donors, ImmTAV redirection enables them to eliminate Gaglo CD4+ T cells that are insensitive to autologous HIV-specific cytolytic T cells. ImmTAV molecules may therefore be able to target HIV reservoirs, which represent a major barrier to a cure.