Evolving HIV viral strains and the adverse side effects associated with long-term exposure to current treatments propel scientists to continue exploring alternative HIV treatments.
In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has identified broad-spectrum aptamers. Aptamers are synthetic molecules that prevent the HIV virus from reproducing. In lab tests, aptamers known as RT5, RT6, RT47 and some variants of those were recently identified to be broad-spectrum, which would allow them to treat many subtypes of HIV-1. Now, researchers are gaining a better understanding of the biochemical characteristics that make aptamers broad-spectrum.
“Aptamers are promising candidates as anti-HIV and anti-cancer therapeutic agents for reducing virus infectivity,” said Donald Burke-Aguero, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. “They also might be beneficial in developing gene therapy applications.”
In cell cultures, aptamers have suppressed viral replication by inhibiting important enzymes in the HIV-1 virus. One important enzyme is reverse transciptase (RT), which copies genetic material and generates new viruses. Scientists hope to create aptamers that will disrupt RT and suppress the virus’s growth. Aptamers can reduce viral infectivity by blocking the normal action of RT.
“Successful aptamers get in the way of the virus’s genetic material, which it is trying to copy as it invades a cell,” Burke-Aguero said. “The structure of the aptamer is very important. Broad-spectrum aptamers must have an adaptable structure, which make it difficult for RT to get around them.
There are several different HIV-1 subtypes around the world, and each subtype has a different amino acid sequence making it difficult to create a single aptamer that will work on every substype. Synthetic molecules must be the right size and shape to bind with HIV proteins, Burke-Aguero said.
“The first batch of aptamers developed were designed for a particular virus and would not work on all strains of HIV,” Burke-Aguero said. “Now our goal is to develop broad-spectrum aptamers. If an aptamer has broad-spectrum function, viruses will be less likely to develop resistance to the therapy. We are in the process of refining aptamers and understanding the nature of resistance in order to get multi-year to lifetime protection.”
Burke-Aguero’s study, “Novel Bimodular DNA Aptamers with Guanosine Quadruplexes Inhibit Phylogenetically Diverse HIV-1 Reverse Transciptases,” was published in Nucleic Acids Research. It was co-authored by Daniel Michalowski and Rebecca Chitima-Matsiga.
Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences