Science and Technology
publicado em 09/05/2010 às 13h30:00
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HLA B57 gene produces T cells and creates natural immunity against HIV

The discovery could help researchers to develop vaccines that provoke the same response to the AIDS virus

 
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When someone is infected with the HIV virus is usually a matter of time until they develop AIDS period that can be expanded with the introduction of drug treatment, especially in the early stages of infection.

But there are a small number of individuals who, even when exposed to the virus, it takes time for symptoms. And in some cases, the disease simply does not develop.

In the 1990s, researchers found that among those who are naturally immune to HIV representing one in every 200 infected, a large part carried a specific gene, called HLA B57. Now, a group of U.S. investigators has revealed a new factor that contributes to the ability of this gene in conferring immunity.

The study is featured in Thursday's edition (6 / 5) of the journal Nature. The group, led by Professors Arup Chakraborty, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Bruce Walker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute, found that the presence of HLA-B57 causes the body to produce more T lymphocytes white blood cells that act to protect against infections .

People with the gene have an increased number of T cells, which cling more tightly with pieces of HIV than those without the gene. This increases the chances of lymphocytes recognize cells expressing the virus proteins, including mutant versions that arose during infection.

This effect contributes to greater control of HIV infection (and any other type of viruses which evolve rapidly), but also makes people more susceptible to autoimmune diseases in which T lymphocytes attack the body's own cells.

The discovery could help researchers develop vaccines that provoke the same response to HIV that occurs in those who have the HLA B57 gene. HIV is slowly unfolding. This discovery represents another point for us in the fight against the virus, but we still have a long way to go, "Walker said.

This is a remarkable study, which began with a clinical observation, integrated experimental observations, has generated a valuable model derived from this model and a thorough knowledge of the behavior of the human immune system. Rarely does anyone has the opportunity to read an article that so greatly expands human knowledge, "said David Baltimore, professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 1975.

Source: FAPESP
   Palavras-chave:   HLA B57    T lymphocytes    Natural immunity    HIV   
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