Transcriptional profiling of CD4 T cells identifies distinct subgroups of HIV-1 elite controllers

Francois Vigneault, Matthew Woods, Maria J. Buzon, Chun Li, Florencia Pereyra, Seth D. Crosby, Jennifer Rychert, George Church, Javier Martinez-Picado, Eric S. Rosenberg, Amalio Telenti, Xu G. Yu, Mathias Lichterfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) elite controllers maintain undetectable levels of viral replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART), but their underlying immunological and virological characteristics may vary. Here, we used a whole-genome transcriptional profiling approach to characterize gene expression signatures of CD4 T cells from an unselected cohort of elite controllers. The transcriptional profiles for the majority of elite controllers were similar to those of ART-treated patients but different from those of HIV-1-negative persons. Yet, a smaller proportion of elite controllers showed an alternative gene expression pattern that was indistinguishable from that of HIV-1-negative persons but different from that of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-treated individuals. Elite controllers with the latter gene expression signature had significantly higher CD4 T cell counts and lower levels of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cell responses but did not significantly differ from other elite controllers in terms of HLA class I alleles, HIV-1 viral loads determined by ultrasensitive single-copy PCR assays, or chemokine receptor polymorphisms. Thus, these data identify a specific subgroup of elite controllers whose immunological and gene expression characteristics approximate those of HIV-1-negative persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3015-3019
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2011


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