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Gene makes some HIV-infected patients more at risk for fungal disease

August 27, 2013 - HIV-infected people who carry a gene for a specific protein face a 20-fold greater risk of contracting cryptococcal disease, according to a study published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common cause of fungal meningitis among HIV-infected individuals. While the disease is a risk for everyone with HIV who has a very low level of CD4+ T cells, researchers have discovered that those with the gene for the protein FCGR3A 158V have an immune cell receptor that binds tightly to antibody-bound C. neoformans . Perversely, this tight binding by a vigilant immune system may mean the patient's own immune system strength becomes a weakness when facing the fungus .

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Source: Medical Xpress

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