Because of a protein exposure, the latent HIV tragedy!

- Jul 18, 2018-

It creates panic and makes the whole society smell. It has a special identity and is mixed with human complex emotions. It attacks human physiological defenses and stimulates people's pain points. Some people have lost their lives because of it, and some people have tasted the world because of it. It is AIDS.


    For a long time, in order to bring the evils of this crime to justice, human beings have spent a lot of manpower and resources, and launched various countermeasures, especially the emergence of antiretroviral drugs. At one time, everyone was overjoyed and thought that the final solution was found. . However, the dream was quickly shattered. Due to the shelter of some infected T cells, HIV (HIV) found an excellent hiding place. As a result, these viruses were extremely difficult to detect and eliminate, as long as the limelight passed. (The patient stopped taking the medicine), and then it was raging. It was really "the wildfire could not be burned, and the spring breeze was born again." Knowing this cruel truth, the scientists racked their brains and tried to dig out the shelters of these HIV, but with little success. This situation is really frustrating.

HIV (yellow part) is infecting T cells. Image credit: Seth Pincus, Elizabeth Fischer, Austin Athman / NIH


    However, despite the hard work, the scientists did not give up their efforts. On March 15th, Nature magazine published a heavy paper—a research institute such as the University of Montpellier in France discovered a type called CD32a. Protein is expected to completely reverse the unfavorable situation of human resistance to the AIDS war. This protein is a bit unusual and is located on the surface of T cells that are infected and in the latent period. Just like a criminal suspect who wants to escape all night, the police often produce a sketch image, and if you find the CD32a, you can take out the T cells that have been infected but are silent. As a result, scientists are expected to completely eradicate HIV shelters and eliminate HIV.


    "As early as 1996, humans dreamed of cutting off the black hands behind the scenes, but the problem was that we couldn't find them at the time." One of the authors, Monsef Benkirane, a virologist at the University of Montpellier, France, is not without Said with emotion.

Monsef Benkirane, a virologist at the University of Montpellier, France. Image from the web


    By 2012, there seems to be a glimmer of hope, because some scientists have designed a "high trick" called "shock and kill" that may allow infected latent T cells to move from behind the scenes to the foreground. As a result, the immune system and HIV drugs can be combined to kill them. Sure enough, it is a trick! However, "the ideal is very beautiful, but the reality is very skinny." From the actual feedback of the patient, the effect is not obvious. According to Steven Deeks, a virologist at the University of California, San Diego, the reason for this may be that the drugs used to activate latent cells have limited effects, and many HIV repositories have not been exposed to identity.

The mechanism of action of "shock and kill". Image from the network


    A very bad fact is that virologists know very little about these HIV repositories, and the reasons are obvious. These latent infected cells are too difficult to find. In view of this, Benkirane and others are pondering, the immediate thing is actually - have to find a way to find these cells. Thus, they labeled HIV with fluorescence and placed it in a dormant T cell to see how the gene expression differed between the infected and uninfected cells. Their efforts quickly paid off and they discovered a very special gene that encodes the CD32a protein. CD32a has one special feature: it is almost undetectable in uninfected cells; it is not very high in cells that actively transmit HIV.


    Using an antibody that binds to CD32a, the researchers isolated cells expressing the protein from blood samples taken from HIV-infected individuals. As expected, these cells are HIV repositories such as fake replacements. Benkirane said excitedly: "I don't want to think about it when I want to stay in the past."

T cells expressing CD32a are latent HIV repositories. Image source: Nature


    In the late 1990s, methods for determining the number of viruses in a sample were found, which greatly promoted the development of antiretroviral therapy. Now that the target protein (or biomarker) of CD32a has been found, scientists are also looking forward to this as an important step towards a complete cure for AIDS.


    Tony Fauci, head of the American Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "Next, using this method, we will screen the blood of patients of different genders, races, ages, and stages of infection." In addition, scientists Organ tissues such as the intestines and lymph nodes, which are frequently invaded by HIV, will also be detected. If CD32a proves to be a reliable marker, the ultimate goal is to use it for targeted drug design to completely eliminate latent cells harboring HIV.


    Despite the gratifying results, Fauci remains cautious about the potential of CD23a, because the many years of failure in trying to completely overcome AIDS are too many. However, he still said: "With so many top professionals involved, the data is so perfect, overall, I am still optimistic.

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