This article, published in Cell Host & Microbe, looked at human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1) Envelope gp41 antibodies. (Gp41 is a protein on the surface of HIV that helps the virus invade the host’s cells; it is of interest to those aiming to develop HIV vaccines.)
Researchers wanted to know what shaped gp41 antibody response to HIV-1. Their findings supported the hypothesis that the dominant HIV-1 gp41 antibody response after HIV-1 transmission is mediated by previously-activated memory B cells in the intestine. These cells are present even before HIV-1 infection and are cross-reactive with intestinal bacteria.
The preinfection B cell repertoire to environmental antigens shapes the postinfection B cell response to HIV-1. Commensal bacteria, as part of the preinfection ‘environment’, may play critical roles in shaping the response to HIV-1.
Trama, et al. (2014) HIV-1 Envelope gp41 antibodies can originate from terminal ileum B cells that share cross-reactivity with commensal bacteria. Cell Host & Microbe. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2014.07.003