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<jats:p>HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are important in controlling HIV replication, but the magnitude of the CTL response does not predict clinical outcome. In four donors with delayed disease progression we identified Vβ13.2 T cell receptors (TCRs) with very similar and unusually long β-chain complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) regions in CTL specific for the immunodominant human histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLA)-B8–restricted human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) nef epitope, FLKEKGGL (FL8). CTL expressing Vβ13.2 TCRs tolerate naturally arising viral variants in the FL8 epitope that escape recognition by other CTL. In addition, they expand efficiently in vitro and are resistant to apoptosis, in contrast to FL8–specific CTL using other TCRs. Selection of Vβ13.2 TCRs by some patients early in the FL8-specific CTL response may be linked with better clinical outcome.</jats:p>

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of Experimental Medicine


Rockefeller University Press

Publication Date





1547 - 1557