Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Step in breakdown of HIV proteins essential to recognition, destruction of infected cells

10.05.2011
Variations in peptide stability may alter targeting of infected cells by CD8 T cells

A key step in the processing of HIV within cells appears to affect how effectively the immune system's killer T cells can recognize and destroy infected cells. Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found that – as HIV proteins are broken down within cells, a process that should lead to labeling infected cell for destruction by CD8 T cells – there is a great variability in the stability of resulting protein segments, variations that could significantly change how well cells are recognized by the immune system. Their report appears in the June Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We have identified a novel mechanism by which HIV escapes recognition by virus-specific cytotoxic T cells, says Sylvie Le Gall, PhD, of the Ragon Institute, the paper's senior author. "This discovery may help us better understand the immune-system failure that characterizes HIV infection and provide information critical to the successful development of immune-system-based therapies."

CD8 T cells that have been programmed to target and destroy HIV-infected cells recognize those cells through tiny bits of viral protein, called peptides, displayed on the cell surface. Details of how HIV proteins are broken down into peptides and loaded onto the specialized molecules, called MHC Class I, that carry them to the cell surface are not well understood. Also unknown is whether particular HIV peptides are more effective than others in flagging cells for destruction.

Le Gall and her team first discovered that HIV peptides reduced to a length of 8 to 11 amino acids within infected cells varied greatly in their stability, with some breaking down further within seconds and others remaining unchanged for nearly an hour. Collaborators David Heckerman, MD, PhD, and Carl Kadie from Microsoft Research analyzed the biochemical features of 166 HIV peptides and identified particular structural patterns associated with either stability or instability. The researchers then showed that substituting a stability-associated structural motif for an instability motif significantly increased peptide stability, and vice-versa.

The stability of a peptide within the cell can significantly affect how much peptide is available to be loaded onto MHC Class I molecules and displayed on the cell surface. The authors found that several known HIV mutations significantly reduced peptide stability – one common mutation virtually abolished the cell-killing action of CD8 T cells. The Microsoft team members have developed a model to predict the probable stability of specific HIV peptides, but more research is needed to determine how variations in stability affect the presentation of the peptide segments called epitopes to CD8 cells and whether changes in peptide stability lead to a more efficient immune response.

"Efforts to develop T-cell-based vaccines need to focus on producing epitopes that elicit the most protective response," says Le Gall, an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Modulating peptide stability offers a unique way of regulating epitope presentation in favor of producing the most effective defence against HIV."

Additional co-authors of the Journal of Clinical Investigation report are lead author Estibaliz Lazaro, ,MD; Pamela Stamegna; Shao Chong Zhang, PhD; Pauline Gourdain, PhD; Nicole Y. Lai; Mei Zhang and Sergio A. Martinez, all of the Ragon Institute. The study was supported by grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard was established in 2009 with a gift from the Philip T. and Susan M. Ragon Foundation, creating a collaborative scientific mission among these institutions to harness the immune system to combat and cure human diseases. The primary initial focus of the institute is to contribute to the development of an effective AIDS vaccine. Administratively based at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Ragon Institute draws scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise across the Harvard and MIT communities and throughout the world, in order to apply the full arsenal of scientific knowledge to understanding mechanisms of immune control and immune failure and to apply these advances to directly benefit patients.

Sarah Dionne | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.massgeneral.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>