The CCR5 D32 Allele: A Natural Resistance To HIV AIDS Case Study

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The CCR5-Δ32 Allele: A Natural Resistance to HIV Virus Human immunodeficiency virus, most commonly known as HIV, is an acquired virus that attacks the immune system of the host and eventually leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome otherwise known as AIDS. HIV is a relatively new disease in human populations, AIDS was first observed in homosexual males in 1981 (Herron et al., 2014, p. 2). Later, in 1983, soon after the discovery of AIDS, scientists identified HIV virus as being responsible for AIDS, we now know that AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection (Tortora et al., 2013, p. 545). Since then HIV virus has been wrecking havoc in present day populations across the world. Since its discovery in the early 1980’s it has been estimated that globally at least 24 million individuals have died after acquiring the HIV virus …show more content…
A mutant allele known as CCR5-Δ32 has been found to provide protection against the HIV virus. This mutant allele is a 32 base pair deletion that effectively destroys CCR5 chemokine coreceptors on the surface of cells by introducing a stop codon into the CCR5 receptor gene prematurely. With the lack of CCR5 coreceptors the HIV virus is no longer able to gain access to cells. Homozygous individuals for the CCR5-Δ32 allele have been found to be mostly resistant to infection by HIV due to the fact that they lack the CCR5 coreceptor on their cell surfaces, which is required for HIV to gain access to cells (Galvani and Novembre, 2005). In a study conducted by Sullivan and colleagues using a mathematical model it was found that heterozygous individuals for the CCR5-Δ32 allele showed partial resistance to HIV with lower viral loads and a slowed progression to AIDS if the individual did indeed become infected with HIV virus (Sullivan et al.,

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