Saturday, March 5, 2011

Integration and its role among the Elite Suppressors of HIV

In the current issue of PLoS, researchers Graf et al. from UPenn report an interesting finding in "elite suppressors " of HIV. These elite suppressors (ES) are a very small population (less than .5%) of HIV positive individuals who naturally suppressing and controlling the infection without the use of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). ES patients' levels of viral RNA are typically maintained below 50-75 copies per mL of plasma. 

In this study, Graf et al. specifically examine and measure the amount of integrated HIV DNA in ES patients. They developed and demonstrated the validity of a  HIV DNA integration quantification technique and found that ES patients  have lower levels of integration compared to patients on and off HAART by one and two orders of magnitude, respectively. Since this phenomenon could be caused by some upstream inhibition of DNA generation or a problem of integration, they examined  total level of HIV DNA in ES patients--finding that total HIV DNA in ES patients are largely unintegrated.  These findings have the potential to contributing to the little known information on this unique population.

-Vy Tran

Graf EH, Mexas AM, Yu JJ, Shaheen F, Liszewski MK, et al. (2011) Elite Suppressors Harbor Low Levels of Integrated HIV DNA and High Levels of 2-LTR Circular HIV DNA Compared to HIV+ Patients On and Off HAART. PLoS Pathog 7(2): e1001300. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001300

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