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Expression analysis of human endogenous retrovirus family K (HERV-K) in patients infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1)

Grant number: 13/25190-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): April 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Shirley Cavalcante Vasconcelos
Grantee:Maira Cicero Ferreira
Host Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Nearly 8% of the human genome is formed by human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) that integrates randomly into the host genome, which can cause deleterious mutations; therefore there are protection mechanisms against such integration as: silencing by methylation of DNA and / or changes in chromatin; production of interference RNA and the action of the enzymes from the APOBEC3´s family. The HERV-K family is the youngest and the most active representative of the HERVs, being able to form viral particles. Infection with HIV deregulate and eventually destroys the immune system of the host, which facilitates the replication of opportunistic pathogens. Antibodies against HERV-K can be detected in the plasma of approximately 70% of individuals infected with HIV-1 as compared to only 3% in healthy individuals. The objective of this project is to investigate whether the mechanism responsible for the increase in the expression of HERV-K, is caused by the inhibition of the APOBEC3 by the vif protein of HIV-1, or by the interaction of HIV-1 with RNA silencing machinery; in different groups of patients infected with HIV-1 and try to correlate those data with the progression of the disease. (AU)

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