DNA techniques show how HIV takes down the immune system

HIV leads to AIDS primarily because the virus destroys essential immune cells called CD4 T cells, but precisely how these cells are killed has not been clear. Two papers published simultaneously December 19 in Nature and Science reveal the molecular mechanisms that cause the death of most CD4 T cells in lymphoid tissues, the main reservoir for such cells, during infection.

Two research teams led by Warner Greene at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco have demonstrated that the vast majority of CD4 T cells in lymphoid tissues, despite their ability to resist full infection by HIV, respond to the presence of viral DNA by sacrificing themselves via pyroptosis—a highly inflammatory form of cell death that lures more CD4 T cells to the area, thereby creating a vicious cycle that ultimately wreaks havoc on the immune system.

Read the full, original story: How HIV Destroys Immune Cells

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