T-cell response to HIV proteins may make them vaccine candidates

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Researchers focus on regulatory proteins Tat and Rev

Development of a vaccine against HIV-1 has long focused on the virus’s structural proteins. These molecules are expressed relatively late in the viral life cycle, after HIV-1 has decreased the expression of an important set of cellular proteins involved in the body’s ability to fight viral infections. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have now found that two HIV-1 regulatory proteins, Tat and Rev, expressed earlier in the HIV-1 life cycle, are frequently targeted by the immune system of infected individuals. The fact that Tat and Rev are frequently targeted by cells critical to fighting HIV infection indicates that they may be “candidates for a multicomponent HIV-1 vaccine.”