Cellular markers as indicators of potential HIV reservoirs

Cellular markers as indicators of potential HIV reservoirs

Associated Students: 
Project Level: 
Email Address: 
isabella.ferreira@ahri.org
Phone Number: 
+27 (0) 31 760 4197
Supervisor(s): 

HIV infection is suppressed but not cured in the presence of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Identifying the cellular HIV reservoir, which allows HIV to persist, is key to the eradication of the virus. In this study, Ferreira and her team will identify the cellular subset that constitutes the reservoir in lymph nodes, which is thought to be critical for HIV replication and persistence in ART suppressed individuals. Recent research has identified a) PD-1 expressing follicular helper T-cells and b) CD32a expressing cells as harbouring replication competent virus in ART suppressed individuals. It is unclear whether one or both markers are co-expressed, and what the cellular source of the reservoir in sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically South Africa is. Such information should enable reservoir eradication by targeting the infected subtype, if that cell subtype forms a minor population of immune cells.