The discovery of HLA-B*57:01–associated abacavir hypersensitivity is a translational success story that eliminated adverse reactions to abacavir through pretreatment screening and defined a mechanistic model of an altered peptide repertoire. In this issue of the JCI, Cardone et al. have developed an HLA-B*57:01–transgenic mouse model and demonstrated that CD4+ T cells play a key role in mediating tolerance to the dramatically altered endogenous peptide repertoire induced by abacavir and postulate a known mechanism by which CD4+ T cells suppress DC maturation. This report potentially explains why 45% of HLA-B*57:01 carriers tolerate abacavir and provides a framework for future studies of HLA-restricted, T cell–mediated drug tolerance and hypersensitivity.
Elizabeth J. Phillips, Simon A. Mallal