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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 7 (1999), Issue 1-2, Pages 80-90

Heat Shock Protein–Based Therapeutic Strategies Against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Infection

1McGill AIDS Centre, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, and Departments of Experimental Surgery and Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Cote Ste. Catherine Road, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Heat shock proteins (hsps) and cyclophilins (CypA) are intracellular chaperone molecules that facilitate protein folding and assembly. These proteins are selectively expressed in cells following exposure to a range of stress stimuli, including viral infection. Hsp species are highly immunogenic, eliciting humoral, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL), and natural killer (NK) cell responses against viruses, tumours, and infectious diseases. This review discusses the roles of stress proteins in immunity and viral life cycles, vis-à-vis the development of Hsp-based therapeutic strategies against human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection. Cumulative findings are cited implicating the requirement of CypA in HIV-1 replication and formation of infectious virions. Studies by our group show the upregulated expression of hsp27 and hsp70 during single-cycle HIV infections. These species redistribute to the cell surface following HIV-infection and heat stress, serving as targets for NK and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Co-immunoprecipitation and Western blot studies show that hsp27, hsp70, and hsp78 complex with HIV-1 viral proteins intracellularly. Hsp70, hsp56, and CypA are assembled into HIV-1 virions. The ability of hsps to interact with HIV-1 viral proteins, combined with their inherent adjuvant and immunogenic properties, indicates that hsps may serve as vehicles for antigen delivery and the design of vaccines against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Infect. Dis. Obstet. Gynecol. 7:80–90, 1999.