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T cell epitopes restricted by several protective HLA alleles, such as B*57, B*5801, B*27, B*51 and B*13, have been very well defined over the past two decades. We investigated 32 well-known T cell epitopes restricted by protective HLA molecules among 54 Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM) at the early stage of HIV-1 infection. Subjects in our cohort carrying protective HLA types did not exhibit slow CD4 T cell count decline (P = 0.489) or low viral load set points (P = 0.500). Variations occurred in 96.88% (31/32) of the known wild-type epitopes (rate 1.85-100%), and the variation rates of the strains of two CRF01_AE lineages were significantly higher than those of non-CRF01_AE strains (76.82% vs. 48.96%, P = 0.004; 71.27% vs. 8.96%, P = 0.025). Subjects infected with CRF01_AE exhibited relatively rapid disease progression (P = 0.035). Therefore, the lack of wild-type protective T cell epitopes restricted by classic protective HLA alleles in CRF01_AE HIV-1 strains may be one of the reasons why rapid disease progression is observed in Chinese MSM with HIV-1 infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical microbiology and immunology

Publication Date





239 - 251


NHC Key Laboratory of AIDS Immunology (China Medical University), Department of Laboratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, No 155, Nanjing North Street, Heping District, Shenyang, 110001, Liaoning Province, China.


Humans, HIV Infections, Disease Progression, HLA Antigens, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Viral Load, Follow-Up Studies, Prospective Studies, Homosexuality, Male, Polymorphism, Genetic, Alleles, Adult, Middle Aged, China, Male, Young Adult