Investigators at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have used a novel approach to identify specific amino acids in the protein structure of HIV that appear critical to the ability of the virus to function and replicate.
They also found that the immune systems of individuals who are naturally able to control HIV infection target these amino acids with pathogen-killing CD8 T cells, an ability seen even in controllers who do not carry versions of the HLA-B protein previously associated with HIV control. Their findings could guide the development of broadly protective vaccines to prevent and suppress HIV infection. Elizabeth Rossin, MD, PhD, is co-first-author of the report, which appears in Science. Read the press release