Editors' ChoiceMEDICINE

Getting HIV Under Control

Science Signaling  14 Dec 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 152, pp. ec383
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3152ec383

Approximately 1 in 300 people infected with HIV are HIV “controllers” who are able to maintain long-term control of the virus without medication and who do not progress to AIDS. Uncovering the genetic basis for this ability is of great interest. The International HIV Controllers Study group (see the Perspective by McMichael and Jones) now present genome-wide association results from patients enrolled in the International HIV Controllers Study. The analysis compared HIV controllers of European, African-American, and Hispanic descent with HIV progressors and found >300 variants that reached genome-wide significance, all of which were in the major histocompatibility class I (HLA) region on chromosome 6. Analysis of the effects of individual amino acids within classical HLA proteins revealed six independently significant residues, five of which lined the peptide-binding groove. Thus, differences in binding to viral peptide antigens by HLA may be the major factors underlying genetic differences between HIV controllers and progressors.

The International HIV Controllers Study, The major genetic determinants of HIV-1 control affect HLA class I peptide presentation. Science 330, 1551–1557 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. J. McMichael, E. Y. Jones, First-class control of HIV-1. Science 330, 1488–1490 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]