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Canada Virus reports Research & Breakthroughs Canada

A Better Understanding of HIV's Effect on the Immune System

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A new study by Andrés Finzi, professor at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and researcher at the CHUM Research Center, examines the efficacy of non-neutralizing antibodies against the AIDS virus.Science Daily reported that the study, initially published in Cell Reports, shows that humanized mice needed the viral protein Vpu to allow infected cells to eliminate the antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC).

The non-neutralizing antibodies use this mechanism to get rid of the cells infected by the virus.Even though millions of people living with HIV have non-neutralizing antibodies, the lack of vaccine against the virus sparked the idea for the study.

The first author, Jérémie Prévost, gathered a team to study under Finzi, who is the study’s lead author and a Canada Research Chair in Retroviral Entry.“We observed that the modified HIV-1 virus used in certain laboratory experiments does not express Vpu,” said Finzi. “However, in the naturally-occurring virus, the protein actually plays the role of a bodyguard for the infected cell.

Once expressed, it allows it to replicate itself and helps it protect itself by flying under the immune system’s radar.”Finzi’s collaborator, Priti Kumar, also conducted experiments on humanized mice at Yale University School of Medicine with similar results.

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