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158 HIV-1 Matrix Protein p17: A Candidate Antigen for Therapeutic Vaccines Against AIDS

Caruso, Arnaldo; Caccuri, Francesca; Magiera, Anna; Fiorentini, Simona; Giagulli, Cinzia

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: April 2011 - Volume 56 - Issue - p 66
doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000397344.07803.7a

Department of Applied and Experimental Medicine, Section of Microbiology, University of Brescia Medical School

The success in the development of anti-retroviral therapies (HAART) that contain Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are challenged by the cost of this lifelong therapy and by its toxicity. Immune-based therapeutic strategies that boost the immune response against HIV-1 proteins or protein subunits have been recently proposed to control virus replication in order to provide protection from disease development, reduce virus transmission, and help limit the use of anti-retroviral treatments. HIV-1 matrix protein p17 is a structural protein that is critically involved in most stages of the life cycle of the retrovirus. Besides its well established role in the virus life cycle, increasing evidence suggests that p17 may also be active extracellularly in deregulating biological activities of many different immune cells that are directly or indirectly involved in AIDS pathogenesis. Thus, p17 might represent a promising target for developing a therapeutic vaccine as a contribution to combating AIDS. Here we discuss the biological characteristics of HIV-1 matrix protein p17 and describe why a synthetic peptide representative of the p17 functional epitope may work as a vaccine molecule capable of inducing anti-p17 neutralizing response against p17 derived from divergent HIV-1 strains.

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.