The current HAART therapy against HIV uses a combination of several different drugs, which decreases the probability of simultaneous development of resistance against different drugs. Team of Slovenian undergraduate students from the University of Ljubljana together with their mentors from the National institute of chemistry of Slovenia (NIC) developed a new strategy of antiviral defense that is not breached by viral mutations. Their approach, which the students half-jokingly called »Virotrap« is based on detecting viral function rather than specific sequences.
Viral function such as attachment to the host cells triggers a cellular response which can either activate the antiviral defence or lead to a destruction of infected cells to prevent spread of the infection. The effect of viral mutations is thus avoided since mutations that cause the loss of the function also render the virus harmless. Leader of the team, prof. Roman Jerala from the NIC says: “The same approach could be implemented for defence against other viral infections. We think we can design the system that can be activated also by other HIV-specific functions”. Animal experiments will be needed to test the therapeutic potentials of this system, which would be applied as gene therapy but results on cells look very promising.
Team competed with this project at the recent international Genetically Engineered Machines competition iGEM) held at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the first weekend of November and was among the 56 teams selected among the six finalists and won the fist prize among the projects on the topic of Health and Medicine. Other interesting projects in this competition included artificial blood made of bacteria by the Berkeley team (Bactoblood), anticancer therapy based on the siRNA by the Princeton team, Infector detector by the Imperial College team, multicellular organisms based on bacteria by the Paris team and many others.
Brigita Pirc | alfa
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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