Acyclovir Has Low but Detectable Influence on HLA-B*57:01 Specificity without Inducing Hypersensitivity.

Metushi IG, Wriston A, Banerjee P, Gohlke BO, English AM, Lucas A, Moore C, Sidney J, Buus S, Ostrov DA, Mallal S, Phillips E, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Preissner R, Peters B
PLoS One. 2015 10 (5): e0124878

PMID: 26024233 · PMCID: PMC4449000 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0124878

Immune mediated adverse drug reactions (IM-ADRs) remain a significant source of patient morbidity that have more recently been shown to be associated with specific class I and/or II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. Abacavir-induced hypersensitivity syndrome is a CD8+ T cell dependent IM-ADR that is exclusively mediated by HLA-B*57:01. We and others have previously shown that abacavir can occupy the floor of the peptide binding groove of HLA-B*57:01 molecules, increasing the affinity of certain self peptides resulting in an altered peptide-binding repertoire. Here, we have identified another drug, acyclovir, which appears to act in a similar fashion. As with abacavir, acyclovir showed a dose dependent increase in affinity for peptides with valine and isoleucine at their C-terminus. In agreement with the binding studies, HLA-B*57:01 peptide-elution studies performed in the presence of acyclovir revealed an increased number of endogenously bound peptides with a C-terminal isoleucine. Accordingly, we have hypothesized that acyclovir acts by the same mechanism as abacavir, although our data also suggest the overall effect is much smaller: the largest changes of peptide affinity for acyclovir were 2-5 fold, whereas for abacavir this effect was as much as 1000-fold. Unlike abacavir, acyclovir is not known to cause IM-ADRs. We conclude that the modest effect of acyclovir on HLA binding affinity in contrast to the large effect of abacavir is insufficient to trigger a hypersensitivity syndrome. We further support this by functional in vitro studies where acyclovir, unlike abacavir, was unable to produce an increase in IFN-γ upon expansion of HLA-B*57:01+ PBMCs from healthy donors. Using abacavir and acyclovir as examples we therefore propose an in vitro pre-clinical screening strategy, whereby thresholds can be applied to MHC-peptide binding assays to determine the likelihood that a drug could cause a clinically relevant IM-ADR.

MeSH Terms (7)

Acyclovir Antiviral Agents Cells, Cultured Drug Hypersensitivity HLA-B Antigens Humans Protein Binding

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