The role of CD8 T cells in controlling HIV beyond the antigen-specific face.

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Understanding the determinants of HIV immune control is important for seeking viable HIV prevention, treatment and curative strategies. The antigen-specific roles of CD8 T cells in controlling primary HIV infection have been well documented, but their abilities to control the latent HIV reservoir is less well studied.The scientific literature on this issue was searched on PubMed.Recent reports have demonstrated that CD8 T cells are also involved in the control of viral replication in HIV-infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, based on accumulating evidence, the antiviral role of CD8 T cells in ART patients may not be achieved via an antigen-specific manner as HIV-specific CD8 T cells can sense, but not effectively eliminate, cells harbouring intact provirus without first being activated. Our recent study indicated that virtual memory CD8 T cells, a semi-differentiated component of CD8 T cells, may be involved in the mechanism restraining the HIV DNA reservoir in ART patients.In this review, we summarize recent findings on the role of CD8 T cells in controlling HIV, highlighting differences between conventional antigen-specific and innate-like CD8 T cells. A better understanding of the roles of CD8 T cells during HIV infection should benefit the informed design of immune-based treatment strategies.

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