Unlike people, certain monkey species, such as rhesus or night monkeys, are resistant to HIV thanks to TRIM5, a cellular protein: In the case of an HIV infection, the protein intercepts the virus as soon as it enters the cell and prevents it from multiplying. We have known about TRIM5 for over six years. However, the mechanism TRIM5 uses to prevent the HI virus from multiplying was still largely unknown.
Structure of the shell
Night monkeys are resistant to HIV
The majority of the key aspects of TRIM5’s defense mechanism against HIV was discovered by the Swiss research teams of Prof. Jeremy Luban, University of Geneva, and Prof. Markus Grütter, University of Zurich, in collaboration with teams from the USA and France. They demonstrated that TRIM5 immediately triggers an immune response if infected with HIV. Consequently, TRIM5 is an HIV sensor in the innate immune system. Unlike the adaptive immune system, which only develops when confronted with a pathogen, the innate immune system is already able to eliminate pathogens as soon as it comes into contact with them.
The HI virus, which penetrates the cell during an infection, has a shell, the components of which are arranged in a lattice, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball. TRIM5 recognizes this lattice structure and specifically attaches itself to it. This stimulates the protein to produce signal molecules known as polyubiquitin chains in the cell. These chains immediately trigger an anti-viral reaction. The “alerted” cell can then start eliminating cells infected with HIV by releasing messenger substances (cytokines).
Humans also have a TRIM5 protein, but it is less effective in fending off HIV. However, the findings in resistant monkeys have opened up new possibilities and ways of fighting HIV in humans. 33 million people are currently infected with HIV worldwide; two million die of AIDS each year. And with 2.7 million people becoming infected every year, HIV remains a major problem.References:
Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences