Brockman’s team has developed new laboratory-based methods for identifying antiviral T cells and assessing their ability to recongnise diverse HIV sequences.
An international team of researchers is harnessing the immune system to reveal new clues that may help in efforts to produce an HIV vaccine. SFU professor Mark Brockman and co-authors from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa have identified a connection between infection control and how well antiviral T cells respond to diverse HIV sequences. According to Brockman, HIV adapts to the human immune system by altering its sequences to evade helpful antiviral T cells.
Brockman’s team has developed new laboratory-based methods for identifying antiviral T cells and assessing their ability to recongnise diverse HIV sequences. Since HIV is highly diverse and evolves constantly during untreated infection, the peptide antigen sequence also changes. Matching T cells against the HLA variants and HIV peptide antigens expressed in an individual is a critical step in the routine research process.
The study demonstrates that individual T cells differ widely in their ability to recognize peptide variants and suggests that these differences may be clinically significant in the context of a diverse or rapidly evolving pathogen such as HIV.