Helen Horton, PhD
Rare individuals, termed long-term non-progressors (LTNP), can control HIV-1 infection for decades without anti-retroviral therapy (ART), however the reasons for this control are not known. During most chronic viral infections, where the pathogen is not immediately cleared, virus-specific CD8+ T cells eventually lose their ability to proliferate and kill infected cells. This loss of function is mediated, in part, by the influence of regulatory T cells (Tregs), and other cells with suppressive function. Dr. Horton will present recent data from her lab showing that individuals who control HIV possess T cells that recognize conserved regions of HIV and that these T cells can escape from normal immune regulation mediated by Tregs. These data could explain why LTNP control infection.