Snips about SNPs: HIV resistance

The CCR5 gene codes for a protein used by your immune system.  In order to hijack immune cells, the HIV virus uses CCR5 to sneak inside.

A mutation in CCR5 known as Delta 32 causes a change in the protein that makes it non-functional. Carrying two copies of the mutation protects most carriers from HIV. (The protection may not be 100% against different HIV strains, so don’t rely on this as a way not to get HIV.)

Why include this as a Snip about SNPs? It is an excellent example of why and how people have different susceptibility to infectious diseases.

CCR5 Delta32 variant:

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Check your genetic data for rs333 (23andMe i3003626 v4, v5 ):

  • Insertion / Deletion (either DI or -/GTCAGTATCAATTCTGGAAGAATTTCCAGACA):  a slower progression from HIV to AIDs, reduced mortality risk from HIV
  • Deletion / Deletion (either DD or -/-): resistance to the common strains of HIV[ref]

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Learn more about the CCR5 delta 32 mutation.

*SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, which is when one of the nucleotide bases (the A, C, G, or Ts) is replaced by a different nucleotide base in a gene. 

Want more quick bits about your genes? Read through all the Snips about SNPs

Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.