Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rare versions of immune system genes stave off HIV infection

08.07.2003


Researchers have new answers as to why some HIV-infected individuals don’t progress to full-blown AIDS as rapidly as other HIV-positive people.



Northwestern University scientist Steven M. Wolinsky, M.D., and colleagues found that individuals with certain rare variations, or alleles, of two immune system genes -- human leukocyte antigens A and B (HLA-A and HLA-B) -- are better equipped to stave off HIV than people with more common sets of HLA alleles.

This finding indicates that HIV has evolved to attack the most common immune system genes and that there may be differences in how people respond to infection based on their HLA proteins. Importantly, the research, which was published in the July issue of Nature Medicine, showed that HIV influences human immune response just as humans put evolutionary pressure on the virus.


"We’re pushing on the microbe and it’s pushing back on us," Wolinsky said.

The group’s study, which was conducted in 996 HIV-infected men in Chicago component of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), also has major therapeutic implications for determining the patients who require more aggressive treatment and for developing AIDS vaccines, Wolinsky said.

Wolinsky is the Samuel J. Sackett Professor and chief of infectious disease at the Feinberg School of Medicine and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also is director of the Great Lakes Regional Center for AIDS Research.

HLA molecules help trigger activity of infection-fighting T cells. During the immune response, HLA proteins bind bits of an invading microbe’s proteins in an infected cell, which are then presented on the infected cell’s surface to killer T cells. The killer T cells, also known as cytotoxic T cells, destroy the infected cell and thereby prevent spread of infection.

Importantly, the study demonstrated the first clinical application of a new statistical method, called minimum description length (MDL), that enabled the researchers to analyze the hundreds of HLA-A and HLA-B alleles found in the Chicago HIV study population and classify patients into disease progression groups based on their ability to bind specific microbial proteins. The investigators were then able to associate nine different HLA "supertypes" with disease outcome.

They found that men with the most frequent HLA supertypes had the highest viral loads – less HIV in their blood -- while the men with the least frequent supertypes had the lowest. One of study’s more significant findings was that black men had lower viral loads than white men.

Findings from the study are especially pertinent to the development of AIDS vaccines. Since it appears that HIV has evolved to assail the most frequent alleles in the population, any vaccine designed to help killer T cells control HIV infection – which is based on the HLA – might not provide protection, Wolinsky said.

Further, because immune system alleles – and, thus disease progression rates -- vary with different populations and geographical areas, it is therefore possible that AIDS vaccines will have to be tailored to specific locations or even for individual patients. Wolinsky’s co-researcher were Elizabeth Trachtenberg, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Bette Korber, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Thomas Kepler, Duke University, among others.

Elizabeth Crown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nwu.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
29.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>