AIDS virus shown different in semen versus blood
The virus that causes AIDS may undergo changes in the genital tract rendering HIV-1 in semen different than HIV-1 in the blood, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research (United Kingdom), and the Baylor Pediatric Center of Excellence (Malawi). The research, published August 19 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens, advances our understanding of HIV-1 replication in the male genital tract. Worldwide, much of the transmission of HIV-1 is through sexual contact, men being the transmitting partner in a majority of cases. The nature of the virus in the male genital tract is of central importance to understanding the transmission process and the selective pressures that may impact the transmitted virus. Ultimately, a vaccine or microbicide must block the transmitted virus.
The researchers examined the gene encoding the major surface protein of HIV-1 (the Env protein) in the viral populations in paired blood plasma and semen samples to determine any differences in the virus at the site of transmission, i.e., semen.
"In some men, the virus population in semen was similar to that in the blood, suggesting that virus was being imported from the blood into the genital tract and not being generated locally in the genital tract," said author Ronald Swanstrom, PhD. "However, we found two mechanisms that significantly altered the virus population in the semen, showing that virus can grow in the seminal tract in two different ways."
In one way, one or more viruses grow rapidly in the seminal tract over a short period such that the viral population in semen is relatively homogeneous (compared to the complex population in the blood). In the other way, the virus replicates in T cells in the seminal tract over a long period, creating a separate population of virus in semen that is both complex and distinct from the virus in the blood.
"While it remains unknown how these differences change the biology of the virus or if these changes are important for the transmission process, it is clear that the virus in the blood does not always represent the virus at the site of transmission," said author Dr. Jeffrey Anderson.
"Making molecular clones of these compartmentalized viral env genes is an important next step that will allow us to study these differences," said author Dr. Li-Hua Ping.
Source: Public Library of Science
Articles on the same topic
- AIDS virus changes in semen make it different than in bloodThu, 19 Aug 2010, 17:24:29 EDT
- AIDS virus changes in semen make it different than in bloodfrom Science CentricFri, 20 Aug 2010, 6:56:09 EDT
- AIDS virus shown different in semen versus bloodfrom Science CentricFri, 20 Aug 2010, 6:21:13 EDT
- AIDS virus shown different in semen versus bloodfrom Biology News NetFri, 20 Aug 2010, 3:07:09 EDT
- AIDS virus changes in semen make it different than in bloodfrom Science DailyThu, 19 Aug 2010, 23:21:14 EDT
- Three Distinct Routes Detailed for How HIV Arises in Male Genital Tractfrom Scientific AmericanThu, 19 Aug 2010, 19:35:11 EDT
- AIDS virus changes in semen make it different than in bloodfrom PhysorgThu, 19 Aug 2010, 17:14:18 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- How forest management and deforestation are impacting climate
- Two Penn professors call attention to the use of race in human genetic research
- Removing race from human genetic research
- Discovery: Many white-tailed deer have malaria
- Climate change's frost harms early plant reproduction, Dartmouth study finds
- You can teach an old dog new tricks
- Two AgriLife Research entomologists co-author bedbug genome mapping paper
- For older adults, serious depression symptoms increase risk for stroke and heart disease
- Infectious diseases cause significant emergency visits, hospitalizations for older adults
- Connective tissue disease increases risk for cardiovascular problems
- New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures
- Urban sprawl stunts upward mobility, University of Utah study finds
- Study finds toxic pollutants in fish across the world's oceans
- Schizophrenia's strongest known genetic risk deconstructed
- For this nanocatalyst reaction, one atom makes a big difference