Purpose of review: There is still a fundamental lack of understanding of what protected vaccinee's in the moderately successful RV144 Thailand trial. It is clear that better tools are needed to identify and study correlates of protection and immune responses to vaccine challenge. Quantitative mass spectrometry (MS) has evolved considerably to become a useful tool in biomarker discovery; however, until recently it has been scarcely used to define host responses to HIV exposure and/or viral infection. In this review we discuss current quantitative MS techniques, their application in current HIV studies as well as novel approaches that could be used to better examine innate or adaptive immune responses in HIV vaccine or microbicide trials.
Recent findings: Several recently published studies have allowed researchers to utilize quantitative MS as part of a systems biology approach to better understand the HIV-affected host's interaction with HIV and/or vaccine challenge. Proteomics has shown it can play a major role in studies to demonstrate insight into HIV replication, early stages of pathogenesis, and identify potential correlates of mucosal protection.
Summary: Novel advances in quantitative proteomic techniques are allowing the opportunity to profile and evaluate HIV specific innate and adaptive immune responses, and will increase our understanding of HIV pathogenesis.