Friday, February 6, 2015

Latent HIV may lurk in ‘quiet’ immune cells, research suggests

News Brief by Samantha Fine         
        Drugs for HIV can suppress infection but cannot eliminate the disease. The HIV virus has hidden reserves that lie within infected white blood cells; however, if scientists can uncover this part of the virus, it will be possible to not only control, but cure HIV.  Researchers at Rockefeller University have made insightful discoveries regarding white blood cells. Usually, white blood cells can produce many clones, all containing HIV; however, what they found was that the clones do not contain the latent reservoir of virus and instead, the cells that never divided are the actual source of the dormant reservoir. When infected with HIV, the virus targets a type of cell involved in immune response, known as CD4 T-lymphocytes, which can create an active infection and copies of itself. What usually occurs is the virus integrates some of itself into CD4 T-cell, which then diminishes the immune system of the infected person. Researchers believe the reservoir of the latent virus may be in a type of CD4T cell, known as a memory cell that can recognize particular pathogens. When this cell interacts with a past pathogen, a proliferation of T cells ensues, known as clonal expansion. HIV’s dormant reservoir may be maintained due to this type of clonal expansion.
        In another research lab, CD4 T cells of 13 individuals with HIV were studied to locate the integration sites where HIV had inserted itself. It was believed that because the human genome is large, the virus most likely would insert itself in various positions as opposed to the same position every time. 75 viral sequences were taken from the clones of cells from the 13 individuals; however, none could create more of the virus, corroborating the likelihood that the latent reservoir, the major controller of HIV, could reside in rare single cells with unique integrations.Rockefeller University. 

"Latent HIV may lurk in 'quiet' immune cells, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2015. .

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