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The identification of unique serum proteins of HIV-1 latently infected long-term non-progressor patients

Rachel Van Duyne12, Irene Guendel2, Kylene Kehn-Hall2, Rebecca Easley2, Zachary Klase3, Chenglong Liu4, Mary Young4 and Fatah Kashanchi25*

Author Affiliations

1 The George Washington University Medical Center, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, Washington, DC 20037, USA

2 George Mason University, Department of Molecular and Microbiology, National Center for Biodefense & Infectious Diseases, Manassas, VA 20110, USA

3 Molecular Virology Section, Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0460, USA

4 Washington Metropolitan Women's Interagency HIV Study, Division of Infectious Diseases, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA

5 National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases Professor of Microbiology George Mason University Discovery Hall, Room 306 10900 University Blvd. MS 1H8 Manassas, VA 20110, USA

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AIDS Research and Therapy 2010, 7:21  doi:10.1186/1742-6405-7-21

Published: 6 July 2010



The search for disease biomarkers within human peripheral fluids has become a favorable approach to preventative therapeutics throughout the past few years. The comparison of normal versus disease states can identify an overexpression or a suppression of critical proteins where illness has directly altered a patient's cellular homeostasis. In particular, the analysis of HIV-1 infected serum is an attractive medium with which to identify altered protein expression due to the ease and non-invasive methods of collecting samples as well as the corresponding insight into the in vivo interaction of the virus with infected cells/tissue. The utilization of proteomic techniques to globally identify differentially expressed serum proteins in response to HIV-1 infection is a significant undertaking that is complicated due to the innate protein profile of human serum.


Here, the depletion of 12 of the most abundant serum proteins, followed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with identification of these proteins using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, has allowed for the identification of differentially expressed, low abundant serum proteins. We have analyzed and compared serum samples from HIV-1 infected subjects who are being treated using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to those who are latently infected but have not progressed to AIDS despite the absence of treatment, i.e. long term non-progressors (LTNPs). Here we have identified unique serum proteins that are differentially expressed in LTNP HIV-1 patients and may contribute to the ability of these patients to combat HIV-1 infection in the absence of HAART. We focused on the cdk4/6 cell cycle inhibitor p16INK4A and found that the treatment of HIV-1 latently infected cell lines with p16INK4A decreases viral production despite it not being expressed endogenously in these cells.


Identification of these unique proteins may serve as an indication of altered viral states in response to infection as well as a natural phenotypic variability in response to HIV-1 infection in a given population.