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Virology

Immune evasion activities of accessory proteins Vpu, Nef and Vif are conserved in acute and chronic HIV-1 infection.


PMID 25827531

Abstract

Heterosexual HIV-1 transmission has been identified as a genetic bottleneck and a single transmitted/founder (T/F) variant with reduced sensitivity to type I interferon initiates productive infection in most cases. We hypothesized that particularly active accessory protein(s) may confer T/F viruses with a selective advantage in establishing HIV infection. Thus, we tested vpu, vif and nef alleles from six T/F and six chronic (CC) viruses in assays for 9 immune evasion activities involving the counteraction of interferon-stimulated genes and modulation of ligands known to activate innate immune cells. All functions were highly conserved with no significant differences between T/F and CC viruses, suggesting that these accessory protein functions are important throughout the course of infection.