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Retrovirology. 2013 Jan 7;10:1. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-10-1.

Attenuation of multiple Nef functions in HIV-1 elite controllers.

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  • 1Center for AIDS Research, Kumamoto University, 2-2-1 Honjo, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan.



Impaired HIV-1 Gag, Pol, and Env function has been described in elite controllers (EC) who spontaneously suppress plasma viremia to < 50 RNA copies/mL; however, activity of the accessory protein Nef remains incompletely characterized. We examined the ability of 91 Nef clones, isolated from plasma of 45 EC and 46 chronic progressors (CP), to down-regulate HLA class I and CD4, up-regulate HLA class II invariant chain (CD74), enhance viral infectivity, and stimulate viral replication in PBMC.


In general, EC Nef clones were functional; however, all five activities were significantly lower in EC compared to CP. Nef clones from HLA-B*57-expressing EC exhibited poorer CD4 down-regulation function compared to those from non-B*57 EC, and the number of EC-specific B*57-associated Nef polymorphisms correlated inversely with 4 of 5 Nef functions in these individuals.


Results indicate that decreased HIV-1 Nef function, due in part to host immune selection pressures, may be a hallmark of the EC phenotype.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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