A review of HIV restriction factors and viral countering mechanisms
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Human immune system is powerful and it has evolved over the past thousands of years to protect us from various foreign pathogens. In fact, very few pathogens can threaten a man with a competent immune system. The notorious Human Immunodeficiency Virus may be among those very few pathogens as it attacks human immune system; however, it does not mean men are left utterly weaponless in the face of HIV infection. The adaptive arm of the human immune system has historically received more attention, given that most vaccines to viral pathogens are based on this type of immune response. In the context of HIV infection, however, attempts to induce antibody responses or cell-mediated immunity with vaccine have yielded little success. As a result, research resource has shifted to look at the first-line protection that precedes the adaptive immunity. Restriction factors are among this innate arm of the immune system. Since 2002, many restriction factors have been described, many in the context of their antiretroviral activities. In this thesis essay, I attempted to cover some of the best-studied HIV restriction factors to date, including their potential antiviral mechanisms and how virus has developed ways to circumvent their inhibition effects. Many restriction factors are now on the verge of being translated into clinical products, so I tried to include some of the latest translational applications of restriction factors in this article. A common theme for most restriction factors is a constant “arm race” between the virus and the host, and therefore, in the end, I have included a short discussion on how, in a human perspective, men managed to stay on the battlefield with the ever-mutating HIV virus.