Decades of research, including the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine, confirm the evolutionary and immunological importance of CD8 T lymphocytes (TCD8+) that target peptides bound by the highly variable major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) proteins. However, their perceived importance has varied dramatically over the past decade. Regardless, there remains myriad reasons to consider the diversity of MHC-I alleles and the TCD8+ that target them as enormously important in infectious disease research. Thus, understanding these molecules in the best animal models of human disease could be a necessity for optimizing the translational potential of these models. Knowledge of macaque MHC has substantially improved their utility for modeling HIV and could aid in modeling other viruses as well, both in the context of distribution of alleles across treatment groups in vaccine trials and in deciphering mechanisms of immune control of pathogens for which specific MHC alleles demonstrate differential impacts on disease.
The Importance of Understanding MHC-I Diversity in Nonhuman Primate Models of Human Infectious Diseases.