Host protein beta-2 microglobulin (β2m) is incorporated into the HIV-1 coat during budding. Individuals not progressing to AIDS produce antibodies directed to an epitope contained in β2m which is designated R7V. These antibodies increased with duration of HIV-infection in non-progressor patients and protected against HIV replication. Purified R7V antibodies neutralized different HIV-1 isolates and did not bind to human cells. In individuals progressing to AIDS or using antiretroviral treatment, a lower prevalence of R7V antibodies was observed. This review summarizes findings on the R7V epitope and antibodies directed at it. Suggestions are also made as to necessary research on R7V which may clarify the importance of this epitope in HIV therapy, prognosis or vaccine development.
Key words: R7V, epitope, antibodies, β2m, HIV, ELISA.
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