Transcriptomics and Targeted Proteomics Analysis to Gain Insights Into the Immune-control Mechanisms of HIV-1 Infected Elite Controllers

EBioMedicine. 2018 Jan:27:40-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.11.031. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


A small subset of HIV-1 infected individuals, the "Elite Controllers" (EC), can control viral replication and restrain progression to immunodeficiency without antiretroviral therapy (ART). In this study, a cross-sectional transcriptomics and targeted proteomics analysis were performed in a well-defined Swedish cohort of untreated EC (n=19), treatment naïve patients with viremia (VP, n=32) and HIV-1-negative healthy controls (HC, n=23). The blood transcriptome identified 151 protein-coding genes that were differentially expressed (DE) in VP compared to EC. Genes like CXCR6 and SIGLEC1 were downregulated in EC compared to VP. A definite distinction in gene expression between males and females among all patient-groups were observed. The gene expression profile between female EC and the healthy females was similar but did differ between male EC and healthy males. At targeted proteomics analysis, 90% (29/32) of VPs clustered together while EC and HC clustered separately from VP. Among the soluble factors, 33 were distinctive to be statistically significant (False discovery rate=0.02). Cell surface receptor signaling pathway, programmed cell death, response to cytokine and cytokine-mediated signaling seem to synergistically play an essential role in HIV-1 control in EC.

Keywords: HIV-1 Elite Controllers; Proteome; Transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / genetics*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Solubility


  • RNA, Messenger