Treatment News : HIV Can Disguise Itself as Bacteria and Evade Antibodies

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August 15, 2014

HIV Can Disguise Itself as Bacteria and Evade Antibodies

HIV appears to evade attacks from the immune system in part because antibodies mistake the virus for bacteria, Healthline News reports. Publishing their findings in Cell Host & Microbe, researchers examined B-cell antibodies’ reaction to the virus and to bacteria that thrive in the gut.

B cells are a key part of the immune response because of their ability to recognize a specific infection once it has been introduced in the body.

The researchers found that the dominant B-cell immune response was to the gp41 region of HIV’s outer envelope. As it happens, gp41 closely resembles various bacteria. Eighty-two percent of the antibodies programmed to recognize gp41 cross-reacted with bacteria. The researchers determined that these cross-reactive antibodies originated in the intestine and that the immune response to gp41 can derive from a pool of B cells that were programmed by bacteria before the body was infected with HIV.

To read the Healthline story, click here.

To read the study, click here.

Search: HIV, bacteria, gp41, B-cell antibodies, Cell Host & Microbe

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