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HIV Escape from antiretrovirals and CTL responses: Parallels and differences

Mallal, S. (2003) HIV Escape from antiretrovirals and CTL responses: Parallels and differences. In: 2nd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, 13 - 16 July 2003, Paris, France.


Dr. Mallal describes mechanisms by which HIV viruses escape from cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) responses and anti-retroviral drugs. In the presentation, Dr. Mallal particularly focuses on HIV escape from CTL responses and hypothesizes on the selective pressure involved in generating these escape mutations.

It is well known that the molecular interaction of HIV epitopes with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule is delicate and depends on the amino acid sequences within the binding groove. Certain escape mutations aim to disrupt this interaction which allows the viral epitopes to circulate freely and thus remaining undetectable by CTLs.

Subsequent to HIV transmission from one host to the next, it is hypothesized that the virus begins to shed its escape mutations. Shortly after, the virus adapts to the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) profile of the host by generating alternative escape mutations. It is important to recognize that these escape mutation can, and most often do, come at a replicative cost.

Dr. Mallal presents the results of HIV reverse transcriptase sequencing in 2 cohort studies and their association with the HLA type, in turn supporting the hypothesis that escape mutations can in fact be HLA class 1 allele specific.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics
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