HIV-1 movement across genital tract cells surprisingly enhanced by usurping antibody response

Infectious disease researchers have identified a novel mechanism wherein HIV-1 may facilitate its own transmission by usurping the antibody response directed against itself. These results have important implications for HIV vaccine development and for understanding the earliest events in HIV transmission.

In a study appearing in the November issue of PLoS Pathogens, Dr. Donald Forthal of UC Irvine and colleagues studied the mechanisms employed by the virus to cross genital tract tissue and establish infection. Since cervicovaginal fluid is acidic and HIV-1 in cervicovaginal fluid is likely coated with antibodies, they explored the effect of low pH and HIV-1-specific antibodies on transcytosis, the movement of HIV-1 across tight-junctioned epithelial cells.

The researchers found that the combination of HIV-1-specific antibodies and low pH enhanced transcytosis as much as 20-fold.

Virus that underwent transcytosis under these conditions was infectious, and infectivity was highly influenced by whether or not the antibody neutralized the virus. They observed enhanced transcytosis using antibody from cervicovaginal and seminal fluids and using transmitted/founder strains of HIV-1. Enhanced transcytosis was due to the Fc neonatal receptor (FcRn), which binds immune complexes at acidic pH and releases them at neutral pH. Finally, staining of human tissue revealed abundant FcRn expression on columnar of penile urethra and endocervix.

More information: www.plospathogens.org/article/… journal.ppat.1003776

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New research shows promise for possible HIV cure

Dec 03, 2013

Researchers have used radioimmunotherapy (RIT) to destroy remaining human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected cells in the blood samples of patients treated with antiretroviral therapy, offering the promise ...

Study explores barriers to HIV vaccine response

Sep 20, 2013

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) discovered that an antibody that binds and neutralizes HIV likely also targets the body's own "self" proteins. This finding could complicate the development of HIV vaccines ...

HIV vaccines elicit immune response in infants

Oct 08, 2013

A new analysis of two HIV vaccine trials that involved pediatric patients shows that the investigational vaccines stimulated a critical immune response in infants born to HIV-infected mothers, researchers at Duke Medicine ...

Recommended for you

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Nov 20, 2014

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells ...

Virus discovery could impact HIV drug research

Nov 20, 2014

A research team led by Portland State University (PSU) biology professor Ken Stedman has unlocked the structure of an unusual virus that lives in volcanic hot springs. The discovery could pave the way for better drugs to ...

UN warns over threat of AIDS rebound

Nov 19, 2014

South African actress Charlize Theron threw her weight Tuesday behind an urgent new UN campaign to end AIDS as a global health threat by 2030.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.