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Posted: 27 Oct 2011

Immunologists have known for some time that chronic infections, such as HIV infection, differ from acute infections. After prolonged exposure, the immune system becomes less reactive to the pathogen, a state known as “exhaustion”. Following up on studies performed in the mouse model of chronic infection, Walker et al. uncovered a molecular...

Posted: 20 Oct 2011

The strengths of the non-human primate model in discovering the important details of HIV pathogenesis shine in the study of Roederer et al., who looked at multiple compartments in macaques acutely infected with SIV and found drastic losses of CD4 memory cells throughout the body within days after infection. Preventing this early damage to...

Posted: 13 Oct 2011

Members of the intrinsic immune system (see also year 2002 of this series), TRIM proteins, inhibit viruses in a species-specific manner – when crossing from one host specie to another, viruses have to adapt their capsid proteins to avoid detection by these restriction factors. Recent studies of TRIM proteins in different species and of...

Posted: 6 Oct 2011

Since the discovery of HIV, researchers have uncovered, in unprecedented detail, the molecular processes involved in different stages of the viral life cycle, from reverse transcription and integration to viral particle assembly and protease-mediated maturation. One of these processes is budding – a late-stage step in virus infection,...

Posted: 29 Sep 2011

The HIV protein Vif (virion infectivity factor) got its name for the ability to improve infectivity of HIV in certain cell lines. It’s been long hypothesized that it does so by inhibiting a restriction factor present in some cells, but the eventual discovery of the identity of this factor brought more surprises than expected. APOBEC3G...