Studies offer new insight into HIV vaccine development
David Watkins, researcher with the Medical School and the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, studies SIV viral infection at a microscope in his research lab. Photo by: Jeff Miller
MADISON-Mutations that allow AIDS viruses to escape detection by the immune system may also hinder the viruses’ ability to grow after transmission to new hosts, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced this week in the journal Nature Medicine.
The discovery may help researchers design vaccines that exploit the notorious mutability of HIV by training the immune system to attack the virus where it’s most vulnerable. The work appears alongside a study of HIV-infected people performed by scientists at Harvard Medical School and Oxford University. The Wisconsin study’s lead author, Thomas Friedrich, is a doctoral student working under the direction of David Watkins, professor of pathology at UW-Madison and senior scientist at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.
Watkins’ team produced an "escaped" AIDS virus that mimicked events that occur in HIV infection when the virus mutates to become unrecognizable to killer cells known as cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, or CTL. The researchers found that the mutant virus did not grow as well as the original strain. The mutations, while allowing the virus to escape immune recognition, had also weakened the virus. To model the transmission of escaped viruses between people, the team inoculated monkeys with the mutant virus strain. They discovered that most of the escape mutations were lost as the virus grew in the monkeys, often restoring original sequences that killer cells could recognize.
Some scientists have theorized that HIV could adapt to the human immune system as the AIDS epidemic develops, becoming less and less recognizable. Watkins said that his group’s findings should help allay these fears.
The UW-Madison group has been studying immunity to AIDS viruses since the early 1990s. Most recently, the researchers have been studying the ways in which viruses mutate to "escape" recognition by the body’s killer cells. Killer cells are white blood cells that perform immune "surveillance" throughout the body, detecting infected cells and eliminating them before the virus can spread.
"Over 40 million people are now infected with HIV worldwide, and a vaccine is urgently needed," Watkins said. "We hope that our findings can be used to help design vaccines that show killer cells how to fight the virus most effectively."
-- Jordana Lenon 608-263-7024, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordana Lenon | U of Wisconsin-Madison
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...