Immunodominance of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses in acute HIV-1 infection: at the crossroads of viral and host genetics

Trends Immunol. 2005 Mar;26(3):166-71. doi: 10.1016/


The development of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses during acute HIV-1 infection is associated with a dramatic decline in HIV-1 replication and the resolution of the acute retroviral syndrome. These HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cells typically target a small number of viral epitopes in a distinct hierarchical order, and high-level viremia in chronic progressive infection leads to broadly diversified HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses with a less clear immunodominance pattern. It is argued here that the specific hierarchical pattern of immune responses in acute HIV-1 infection is the result of a tightly regulated process that, among other factors, is critically impacted by the kinetics of viral protein expression, the HLA class I background of the infected individual and the autologous sequence of the infecting virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I