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The Role of the Nef Protein in MHC-I Downregulation and Viral Immune Evasion by HIV-1 | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2155-9899

Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology
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Review Article

The Role of the Nef Protein in MHC-I Downregulation and Viral Immune Evasion by HIV-1

Hannah Elliott1 and Gerard F Hoyne1-3*
1School of Health Sciences, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia 6959, Australia
2Institute of Health Research, University of Notre Dame Australia, Australia
3School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Australia
*Corresponding Author : Gerard Hoyne
Professor, School of Health Sciences
University of Notre Dame Australia
Fremantle, Western Australia 6959, Australia
Tel: 61-8-94330236
Fax: 61-8-94330210
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: September 21, 2015; Accepted date: November 28, 2015; Published date: December 08, 2015
Citation: Elliott H, Hoyne GF (2015) The Role of the Nef Protein in MHC-I Downregulation and Viral Immune Evasion by HIV-1. J Clin Cell Immunol 7:375. doi:10.4172/2155-9899.1000375
Copyright: © 2015 Elliott H, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The Nef protein is a major determinant of pathogenicity caused by the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is encoded by the nef gene within the genomes of primate lentiviruses HIV-1, HIV-2 and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). The HIV Nef protein subverts the intracellular membrane traffic to mediate endocytosis of a number of cell surface receptors to accelerate their degradation. In this review we will examine how the multifunctional Nef protein can mediate downregulation of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) I proteins from the surface of infected cells as a means of immune evasion by HIV. By selectively downregulating MHC-I HLA-A and HLA-B haplotypes, while maintaining the expression of HLA-C, HLA-E and HLA-G the HIV virus is able to avoid recognition by both the NK and cytotoxic CD8+ T cell effector responses. This protects the virus from cell lysis and enables it to hide from the cell-mediated immune system.