A team of researchers from the National Microbiology Center (CNM) of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) has published a scientific review in the journal Frontiers of Immunology, around the phenomenon of natural control of HIV infection, an ability that some people have, known as ‘non-progressors‘ Y ‘elite controllers‘, to keep the virus at bay.
The study of these patients represents a field of research to better understand HIV infection, why the AIDS disease develops and how the immune system is capable of controlling the replication of the virus.
The analysis of the controllers of HIV, which brings together the aforementioned patients, has been occupying the group of Dr. José Alcamí for years, who directs the AIDS Immunopathology Unit at the CNM-ISCIII. In 2019, he published a study focused on the transcriptome, which concluded that in elite controllers/slow progressors, an alteration of different biological mechanisms and a specific expression of several cellular factors that control the expression and multiplication of the HIV virus are observed. .
That same year, a genetic mutation associated with the slow progressor phenotype was discovered, which seems to worsen the entry of the virus into certain cell types, acting as a partial barrier to HIV infection.
The following year, another ISCIII team published a study of three slow-progressing patients who, after more than 25 years of HIV infection and without receiving antiretroviral treatment, did not have detectable virus in their blood nor had they developed AIDS. Shortly after, José Alcamí’s group also published that these elite controllers have a different expression in their microRNA (miRNA) profile, which allows them to improve the immune response to the virus and increase resistance to infection.
In the review now published, researchers at the ISC III They summarize and update the main findings of recent years regarding the major controllers of HIV. This work focuses on the advances made through the study of the transcriptome, which allows knowing all the activities and expressions of the genes present in a cell.