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Retrovirology. 2012 May 9;9:39. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-9-39.

HLA-C and HIV-1: friends or foes?

Author information

1
Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, Section of Biology and Genetics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Abstract

The major histocompatibility complex class I protein HLA-C plays a crucial role as a molecule capable of sending inhibitory signals to both natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) via binding to killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR). Recently HLA-C has been recognized as a key molecule in the immune control of HIV-1. Expression of HLA-C is modulated by a microRNA binding site. HLA-C alleles that bear substitutions in the microRNA binding site are more expressed at the cell surface and associated with the control of HIV-1 viral load, suggesting a role of HLA-C in the presentation of antigenic peptides to CTLs. This review highlights the role of HLA-C in association with HIV-1 viral load, but also addresses the contradiction of the association between high cell surface expression of an inhibitory molecule and strong cell-mediated immunity. To explore additional mechanisms of control of HIV-1 replication by HLA-C, we address specific features of the molecule, like its tendency to be expressed as open conformer upon cell activation, which endows it with a unique capacity to associate with other cell surface molecules as well as with HIV-1 proteins.

PMID:
22571741
PMCID:
PMC3386009
DOI:
10.1186/1742-4690-9-39
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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