Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research deciphers HIV attack plan: How AIDS virus grooms its assault team

Date:
April 1, 2013
Source:
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
A new study defines previously unknown properties of transmitted HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. The viruses that successfully pass from a chronically infected person to a new individual are both remarkably resistant to a powerful initial human immune-response mechanism, and they are blanketed in a greater amount of envelope protein that helps them access and enter host cells.

Bette Korber.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

A new study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania scientists defines previously unknown properties of transmitted HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. The viruses that successfully pass from a chronically infected person to a new individual are both remarkably resistant to a powerful initial human immune-response mechanism, and they are blanketed in a greater amount of envelope protein that helps them access and enter host cells.

Related Articles


These findings will help inform vaccine design and interpretation of vaccine trials, and provide new insights into the basic biology of viral/host dynamics of infection.

During the course of each AIDS infection, the HIV-1 virus evolves within the infected person to escape the host's natural immune response and adapt to the local environment within the infected individual. Because HIV evolves so rapidly and so extensively, each person acquires and harbors a complex, very diverse set of viruses that develops over the years of their infection. Yet when HIV is transmitted to a new person from their partner, typically only a single virus from the diverse set in the partner is transmitted to establish the new infection.

The key discoveries here are the specific features that distinguish those specific viruses which successfully move to the new host, compared with the myriad forms in the viral population present in a chronically infected individual.

"The viruses that make it through transmission barriers to infect a new person are particularly infectious and resilient," said Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Bette Korber. "Through this study we now better understand the biology that defines that resilience."

The team set out to determine whether the viruses that were successfully transmitted to a new patient might share distinct biological properties relative to those typically isolated from people with long-term, chronic infection. To do this, the group at U Penn cloned a set of intact viruses from acute infection, and a set of viruses from chronically infected people, and characterized them by measuring quantities that might be related to the virus's ability to successfully establish a new infection. They discovered several clear correlations. For example, transmitted viruses were both more infectious and contained more protective "envelope" per virus; envelope is the protein the virus uses to enter host cells.

The team identified an additional interesting property that could be a general characteristic of new viral infections: the transmitted HIV was capable of replicating and growing well in the presence of alpha interferon. Alpha interferon production is part of our innate human immune response to a new infection. As soon as a new viral infection is initiated in our bodies, local immune cells at the site of infection start secreting molecules called cytokines that have general antiviral activity and can inhibit the production of the newly infected virus. Alpha interferon is one of these potent cytokines.

In the early days of an HIV infection, this innate immune response increases to an intense level, called a "cytokine storm," which gradually recedes during infection. For a newly transmitted HIV to successfully establish infection, it must grow and expand in the new host while facing this cytokine storm. Although typical chronic viruses are sensitive to and inhibited by alpha interferon, transmitted HIV-1 viruses grew well in the presence of interferon.

Los Alamos scientists Elena Giorgi, James Theiler and Bette Korber were part of the analysis team working closely with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, Nick Parrish and Beatrice Hahn. The paper, "Phenotypic properties of transmitted founder HIV-1" is in this week's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. F. Parrish, F. Gao, H. Li, E. E. Giorgi, H. J. Barbian, E. H. Parrish, L. Zajic, S. S. Iyer, J. M. Decker, A. Kumar, B. Hora, A. Berg, F. Cai, J. Hopper, T. N. Denny, H. Ding, C. Ochsenbauer, J. C. Kappes, R. P. Galimidi, A. P. West, P. J. Bjorkman, C. B. Wilen, R. W. Doms, M. O'Brien, N. Bhardwaj, P. Borrow, B. F. Haynes, M. Muldoon, J. P. Theiler, B. Korber, G. M. Shaw, B. H. Hahn. Phenotypic properties of transmitted founder HIV-1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1304288110

Cite This Page:

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Research deciphers HIV attack plan: How AIDS virus grooms its assault team." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132056.htm>.
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2013, April 1). Research deciphers HIV attack plan: How AIDS virus grooms its assault team. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132056.htm
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Research deciphers HIV attack plan: How AIDS virus grooms its assault team." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132056.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins