Gene Controls Production of Protein That Blocks HIV From Entering Cells; People With Extra Copies Protected, Study Says
January 7, 2005
Individuals who have extra copies of a gene that produces a specific protein are less likely to contract HIV or develop AIDS than people from the same ancestry who do not have extra copies of the gene, according to a study published in the Jan. 6 online issue of Science magazine, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 1/6). Dr. Sunil Ahuja of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and colleagues studied blood samples from more than 4,300 HIV-positive and HIV-negative people with varying ancestral origins, according to Reuters (Fox, Reuters, 1/6). The researchers found that people who had more copies of a gene that produces the chemokine CCL3L1 -- a "sort of protein distress call from injured tissue" -- are less likely to be HIV-positive than people of the same ancestry who had fewer copies of the gene, according to the New York Times (McNeil, New York Times, 1/7). For each additional copy of the CCL3L1-producing gene that a person had beyond the average for their ancestral group, the risk of acquiring HIV was lowered by between 4.5% to 10.5%, according to the study (NIAID release, 1/6). HIV-negative African Americans had an average of four copies of the gene, while HIV-negative European Americans averaged two copies and HIV-negative Hispanic Americans averaged three copies (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 1/6). However, the findings do not indicate that one ancestral group is more susceptible to HIV infection than another (Reuters, 1/6). Researchers now know of 15 genetic traits that affect a person's susceptibility to HIV, the Times reports (New York Times, 1/7).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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