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Biological catch-22 prevents induction of antibodies that block HIV
Date:12/15/2009

that the mouse's immune system produced plenty of early stage B cells bearing this human neutralizing antibody on their surface but eliminated most of them before they had a chance to fully evolve into more mature B cells capable of secreting the antibody.

"This work may mean that we need to think and act very differently in envisioning how a successful vaccine may work," said Verkoczy. "The good news is that while about 85 percent of the "right" kind of B cells are eliminated, about 15 percent survive and wind up in circulating blood, but are turned off. One goal in vaccine design may be to figure out how to wake them up so they can go to work."

"We have now unveiled a major reason why members of this class of neutralizing antibodies are not routinely made: Our own immune systems block their production because they are perceived as potentially harmful, when in reality, they are not," said Haynes. "This is a very unusual way the virus has developed to evade the immune system."

Haynes says researchers plan on using the new mouse model to test ways to teach the immune system to enable the production of powerful neutralizing antibodies capable of blocking HIV.


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Contact: Michelle Gailiun
michelle.gailiun@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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