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J Virol. 2011 Nov;85(21):11526-31. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05418-11. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Identification of human endogenous retrovirus-specific T cell responses in vertically HIV-1-infected subjects.

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  • 1Division of Experimental Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Department of Medicine, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV)-specific T cell responses in HIV-1-infected adults have been reported. Whether HERV-specific immunity exists in vertically HIV-1-infected children is unknown. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of HERV-specific T cell responses in 42 vertically HIV-1-infected children. HERV (-H, -K, and -L family)-specific T cell responses were identified in 26 of 42 subjects, with the greatest magnitude observed for the responses to HERV-L. These HERV-specific T cell responses were inversely correlated with the HIV-1 plasma viral load and positively correlated with CD4(+) T cell counts. These data indicate that HERV-specific T cells may participate in controlling HIV-1 replication and that certain highly conserved HERV-derived proteins may serve as promising therapeutic vaccine targets in HIV-1-infected children.

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