November 9, 2010
Just five amino acids could make the difference between a person who naturally controls HIV and someone who would progress to AIDS if not treated, a new human genome study has found.
The research analyzed the genetic makeup of almost 1,000 HIV controllers and 2,600 progressors, finding more than 300 points associated with immune control of HIV. All were in regions of chromosome six that code for HLA (human leukocyte antigen system) proteins. Scientists then pinpointed five amino acids in the HLA-B protein as key.
HLA-B is involved in the immune process that recognizes and destroys virus-infected cells. A protein called the binding pocket moves peptides from inside the virus onto the cell membrane, marking the cell for destruction by CD8 "killer" T cells of the immune system. The five distinguishing amino acids are in the binding pocket, according to scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
11.04.2010; Caroline Parkinson
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