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Self Nonself. 2011 Jan;2(1):49-54. Epub 2011 Jan 1.

Searching for an effective, safe and universal anti-HIV vaccine: Finding the answer in just one short peptide.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; University of Bari; Bari, Italy.


We explore the pentapeptide overlapping between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) proteins and the human proteome. Our intent was to define viral peptides to be used in vaccines effective against different HIV strains, vaccines that are able to overcome the difficulties posed by the tendency of HIV to mutate, and that are also exempt from harmful collateral cross-reactions, as well as being repeatedly administrable to the global population. Analysis of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein 160 (Env gp160) sequences revealed a set of 15 pentapeptides highly conserved among a number of retroviral sequences, and absent in the human proteome, thus representing unique molecular retroviral signatures. Use of these short viral peptide modules may represent the first concrete step toward the goal of a universal, safe and effective anti-HIV vaccine.

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