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Dr. Francis A. Plummer
Professor of Medicine and Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba; and Scientific Director, National Microbiology Laboratory, Health Canada

Degrees:
M.D. (Manitoba, 1976), Diplomate (American Board of Internal Medicine, 1979), F.R.C.P.C. (Manitoba, 1980)

Mailing Address:
National Mcirobiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada
H3680, Arlington Street
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3R2

Tel:(204)789-3312 and 789-2121
Fax: (204) 789-3310 and 789-3205
E-mail:frank_plummer@hc-sc.gc.ca



Dr. Plummer's current research interests include mechanisms of resistance to HIV, risk factors for heterosexual transmission of HIV, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, public health strategies for control of sexually transmitted infections, and the immunobiology of gonococcal infections.


The solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the greatest health issue facing humankind, is the development of effective vaccines. Almost all vaccines were derived out of an understanding, no matter how primitive, of what results in protective immunity.

Development of HIV vaccines has suffered from a lack of understanding of the correlates and causal pathways of immunity to HIV. We seek to understand the mechanisms of natural protection against HIV in women who are highly exposed to HIV yet escape infection. A subset of women in a highly HIV exposed Kenyan sex worker (SW) cohort studied since 1985 remain uninfected despite many hundreds of exposures. These women have systemic and mucosal cellular immunologic responses to HIV (both CD4 and cytotoxic T cell [CTL] responses) and mucosal CTL and neutralizing IgA antibody to HIV. While this type of data has been clear for some time in this and other groups of highly exposed, HIV uninfected individuals, an understanding of why these responses develop is limited. A partial answer may lie in genetic correlates of HIV resistance. HLA alleles correlate with protection against HIV infection, as do polymorphisms in immune response genes and HIV co-receptor molecules. Although resistance to HIV infection certainly segregates as a familial trait in genetic studies, it is unclear how these genetic associations correlate with putative protective immune responses.

Development of HIV vaccines has suffered from a lack of understanding of the correlates and causal pathways of immunity to HIV. We seek to understand the mechanisms of natural protection against HIV in women who are highly exposed to HIV yet escape infection. A subset of women in a highly HIV exposed Kenyan sex worker (SW) cohort studied since 1985 remain uninfected despite many hundreds of exposures. These women have systemic and mucosal cellular immunologic responses to HIV (both CD4 and cytotoxic T cell [CTL] responses) and mucosal CTL and neutralizing IgA antibody to HIV. While this type of data has been clear for some time in this and other groups of highly exposed, HIV uninfected individuals, an understanding of why these responses develop is limited. A partial answer may lie in genetic correlates of HIV resistance. HLA alleles correlate with protection against HIV infection, as do polymorphisms in immune response genes and HIV co-receptor molecules. Although resistance to HIV infection certainly segregates as a familial trait in genetic studies, it is unclear how these genetic associations correlate with putative protective immune responses.

The Plummer Lab conducts research to:
  1. identify genetic correlates of resistance and susceptibility to HIV-1 infection;
  2. to understand host and viral factors in HIV infection and disease progression; and
  3. to study host and viral interactions.
The people in the Plummer Lab: Many people including research associates, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, graduate students, co-op students and B. Sc med students are working in the group at the lab in National Microbiology Laboratory.


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2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002


    2007

  1. Liang B, Luo M, Ball TB, Plummer FA. QUASl analysis of the HIV-1 envelope sequences in the Los Alamos National Laboratory HIV sequence database: pattern and distribution of positive selection sites and their frequencies over years. Biochem Cell Biol. 2007 April;85(2):259-64. PMID:17534408
  2. Ball TB, Ji H, Kimani J, McLaren P, Marlin C, Hill AV, Plummer FA. Polymorphisms in IRF-1 associated with resistance to HIV-1 infection in highly exposed uninfected Kenyan sex workers. AIDS. 2007 May 31;21(9):1091-1101. PMID: 17502719
  3. McKinnon LR, Ball TB, Wachihi C, McLaren PJ, Waruk JL, Mao X, Ramdahin S, Anzala AO, Kamene J, Luo M, Fowke KR, Plummer FA. Epitop cross-reactivity frequently differs between cntral and effector memory HIV-specific CD8+ T cells. J Immunol. 2007 Mar 15;178(6):3750-6. PMID: 17339472
  4. Rebbapragada A, Wachihi C, Pettengell C, Sunderji S, Jaoko W, MazzulliT, Plummer FA, Kaul R. Negative mucosal synergy between Herpes simplex type 2 and HIV in the female genital tract. AIDS. 2007 Mar 12;21(5):589-98. PMID: 17314521
  5. Gilmour MW, Bernard K, Tracz DM, Olson AB, Corbett CR, Burdz T, Ng B, Wiebe D, Broukhanski G, Boleszczuk P, Tang P, Jamieson F, Vandomselaar, Plummer FA, Berry JD. Molecular typing of a Legionella pneumophila outbreak in Ontario, Canada. J Med Microbiol. 2007 Mar;56(Pt3):336-41. PMID: 17314363
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    2006

  7. Lester RT,Gelmon L, Plummer FA. Cell phones: tightening the communication gap in resource-limited antirectroviral programmes? AIDS 2006 Nov 14;20(17):2242-4. PMID: 16720218
  8. Gillespie GM, Stewart-Jones G,...,, Plummer FA. ,..., and Rowland-Jones SL. Strong TCT conservation and altered T cells cross-relativity characterize a B*57-restricted immune response in HIV-1 infection. J Immunol. 2006 Sep 15;177(6)3893-902. PMID: 16720218
  9. Keynan Y, Luo M, Lacap P, Brunham R, Plummer FA. Identification of Two Novel HLA-C Alleles, Cw*070105 and Cw*1408, from East African Women. Hum Immunol. 2006 Apr-May;67(4-5):359-62. Epub 2006 May 5. PMID: 16720218
  10. Alimoniti JB, Kimani J, Matu L,Wachihi C, Kaul R,Plummer FA. , and Fowke KR. Characterization of CD8+ T cell responses in HIV-1 exposed seronegative commercial sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya. Immunol Cell Biol. 2006 Pct'84(5):482-5. PMID: 16720218
  11. Gill KK, Lelgdowicz A, Luo M, Bielawny T, Brunham R,Plummer FA. Identification of four novel HLA-A alleles from an East African population by high-resolution sequence-based typing. Hum Immunol. 2006 Oct;67(10):833-8. PMID: 16720218
  12. Koesters SA, Alimonti JB, Wachihi C, Matu L, Anzala O, Kimani J, Embree JE, Plummer FA, Fowke KR. IL-7Ralpha expression on CD4+ T lymphocytes decreases with HIV disease progression and inversely correlates with immune activation. Eur J Immunol. 2006 Feb;36(2):336-44. PMID: 16421946
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    2005

  14. McKinnon LR, Ball TB, Kimani J, Wachihi C, Matu L, Luo M, Embree J, Fowke KR, Plummer FA. Cross-clade CD8(+) T-cell responses with a preference for the predominant circulating clade. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Nov 1;40(3):245-9. PMID: 16249696
  15. Iqbal SM, Ball TB, Kimani J, Kiama P, Thottingal P, Embree JE, Fowke KR, Plummer FA.Elevated T cell counts and RANTES expression in the genital mucosa of HIV-1-resistant Kenyan commercial sex workers. J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192(5):728-38. Epub 2005 Jul 27. PMID: 16088822
  16. Luo M, Mao X, Plummer FA.Identification of four novel HLA-B alleles, B*1590, B*1591, B*2726, and B*4705, from an East African population by high-resolution sequence-based typing. Tissue Antigens. 2005 Feb;65(2):187-91. PMID: 15713219
  17. Luo M, Bamforth J, Gill K, Cohen C, Brunham RC, Plummer FA.High-resolution sequence-based DPA1 typing identified two novel DPA1 alleles, DPA1*010303 and DPA1*0303, from a Kenyan population. Tissue Antigens. 2005 Jan;65(1):120-2. PMID: 15663751
  18. Alimonti JB, Koesters SA, Kimani J, Matu L,Wachihi C, Plummer FA, and Fowke KR. CD4+ T cell responses in HIV-exposed seronegative women qualitatively distinct fronm those in HIV-infected women. J Infect Dis. 2005 Jan;191(1):20-4. PMID: 15488951
  19. Gubbins MJ, Plummer FA, Yuan XY, Johnstone D, Drebot M, Andonova M, Andonov A, Berry JD. Molecular characterization of a panel of murine monoclonal antibodies specific for the SARS-coronavirus. Mol Immunol. 2005 Jan;42(1):125-36. PMID: 15488951
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    2004

  21. Koesters SA, Matu L, Kiama P, Anzala O, Embree J, Plummer FA, Kimani J, Fowke KR. Elevation of immune activation in kenyan women is associated with alterations in immune function: implications for vaccine development. J Clin Immunol. 2004 Nov;24(6):702-9. PMID: 15622455
  22. Alimonti JB, Koesters SA, Kimani J, Matu L, Wachihi C, Plummer FA, Fowke KR. CD4+ T cell responses in HIV-exposed seronegative women are qualitatively distinct from those in HIV-infected women. J Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;191(1):20-4. Epub 2004 Dec 1. PMID: 15592998
  23. Shi B, Philpott SM, Weiser B, Kuiken C, Brunner C, Fang G, Fowke KR, Plummer FA, Rowland-Jones S, Bwayo J, Anzala AO, Kimani J, Kaul R, Burger H. Construction of an infectious HIV type 1 molecular clone from an African patient with a subtype D/C Recombinant Virus. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2004 Sep;20(9):1015-8. PMID: 15585089
  24. Kaul R, Rutherford J, Rowland-Jones SL, Kimani J, Onyango JI, Fowke K, MacDonald K, Bwayo JJ, McMichael AJ, Plummer FA. HIV-1 Env-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses in exposed, uninfected Kenyan sex workers: a prospective analysis. AIDS. 2004 Oct 21;18(15):2087-9. PMID: 15577632
  25. Ji H, Ball TB, Kimani J, Plummer FA. Novel interferon regulatory factor-1 polymorphisms in a Kenyan population revealed by complete gene sequencing. J Hum Genet. 2004;49(10):528-35. Epub 2004 Sep 17. PMID: 15378396
  26. McLaren PJ, Mayne M, Rosser S, Moffatt T, Becker KG, Plummer FA, Fowke KR. Antigen-specific gene expression profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells do not reflect those of T-lymphocyte subsets. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Sep;11(5):977-82. PMID: 15358662
  27. He R, Leeson A, Ballantine M, Andonov A, Baker L, Dobie F, Li Y, Bastien N, Feldmann H, Strocher U, Theriault S, Cutts T, Cao J, Booth TF, Plummer FA, Tyler S, Li X. Characterization of protein-protein interactions between the nucleocapsid protein and membrane protein of the SARS coronavirus. Virus Res. 2004 Oct;105(2):121-5. PMID: 15351485
  28. Luo M, Cohen CR, Narayansingh MJ, Pan S, McKinnon L, Brunham RC, Plummer FA. Identification of a novel HLA-DQA1 null allele, DQA1*0403N, from an East African woman. Tissue Antigens. 2004 Jun;63(6):609-11. PMID: 15140045
  29. He R, Dobie F, Ballantine M, Leeson A, Li Y, Bastien N, Cutts T, Andonov A, Cao J, Booth TF, Plummer FA, Tyler S, Baker L, Li X. Analysis of multimerization of the SARS coronavirus nucleocapsid protein. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Apr 2;316(2):476-83. PMID: 15020242
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    2003

  31. Luo M, Ramdahin S, Iqbal S, Pan Y, Jacobson K, Narayansingh MJ, Schroeder M, Brunham RC, Embree J, Plummer FA. High resolution sequence-based DPB1 typing identified two novel DPB1 alleles, DPB1*9401 and DPB1*9501, from a Kenyan population. Tissue Antigens. 2003 Aug;62(2):182-4. PMID: 12890000
  32. Berry JD, Rutherford J, Silverman GJ, Kaul R, Elia M, Gobuty S, Fuller R, Plummer FA, Barbas CF 3rd. Development of functional human monoclonal single-chain variable fragment antibody against HIV-1 from human cervical B cells. Hybrid Hybridomics. 2003 Apr;22(2):97-108. PMID: 12831535
  33. Kaul R, Thottingal P, Kimani J, Kiama P, Waigwa CW, Bwayo JJ, Plummer FA, Rowland-Jones SL. Quantitative ex vivo analysis of functional virus-specific CD8 T lymphocytes in the blood and genital tract of HIV-infected women. AIDS. 2003 May 23;17(8):1139-44. PMID: 12819514
  34. Ball TB, Plummer FA, HayGlass KT. Improved mRNA quantitation in LightCycler RT-PCR. Int Arch Allergy Immunol.2003 Jan;130(1):82-6. PMID: 12576739
  35. Back to publications

    2002

  36. de Vlas SJ, Nagelkerke NJ, Jha P, Plummer FA. Mother-to-child HIV transmission and ARVs. Science. 2002 Dec 13;298(5601):2129. PMID:12481779
  37. Bird TG, Kaul R, Rostron T, Kimani J, Embree J, Dunn PP, Bwayo JJ, Plummer FA. , Rowland-Jones SL, Dong T, Oxford-Nairobi HLA Collaborative Group. HLA typing in a Kenyan cohort identifies novel class I alleles cytotoxic T-cell responses to local HIV-1 clades. AIDS 2002 Sep 27;16(14):1899-904. PMI:12351949:
  38. Luo M, Embree J, Ramdahin S, Ndinya-Achola J, Njenga S, Bwayo JB, Pan S, Mao X, Cheang M, Stuart T, Brunham RC, Plummer FA. HLA-A and HLA-B in Kenya, Africa: allele frequencies and identification of HLA-B*1567 and HLA-B*4426. Tissue Antigens. 2002 May;59(5):370-80. PMID:12144620
  39. Rupert Kaul,and Francis A. Plummer, et al. Gonococcal cervicitis is associated with reduced systemic CD8+ T cell responses in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected and exposed, uninfected sex workers. J Infect Dis. 2002 May 15;185(10):1525-9. PMID:11992292
  40. Moses S, Ngugi EN, Costigan A, Kariuki C, Maclean I, Brunham RC, Plummer FA. Response of a sexually transmitted infection epidemic to a treatment and prevention programme in Nairobi, Kenya.Sex Transm Infect. 2002 Apr;78 Suppl 1:i114-20. PMID: 12083429
  41. Nico J.D. Nagelkerke,and Frank A. Plummer, et al. Modelling HIV/AIDS epidemics in Botswana and India: impact of interventions to prevent transmission. Bull World Health Organ. 2002;80(2):89-96. PMID:11953786
  42. Kaul R, Kimani J, Nagelkerke NJ, Fonck K, Keli F, MacDonald KS, Ronald AR, Frank A. Plummer, Bwayo JJ, Ngugi EN, Temmerman M, Moses S. Reduced HIV risk-taking and low HIV incidence after enrollment and risk-reduction counseling in a sexually transmitted disease prevention trial in Nairobi, Kenya. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 May 1;30(1):69-72. PMID:11953786
  43. Gillespie GM, Kaul R, Dong T, Yang HB, Rostron T, Bwayo JJ, Kiama P, Peto T, Frank A. Plummer, et al. Cross-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes against a HIV-1 p24 epitope in slow progressors with B*57. PMID:11953462

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