Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

HIV eludes body’s smart bomb

08.07.2003


HIV inactivates the body’s cellular smart bomb



HIV eludes one of the body’s key smart bomb defenses against infection, and this finding may lay the groundwork for new drugs to treat AIDS, according to a new Salk Institute study.

Nathaniel Landau, a Salk Institute associate professor, and his team have pinpointed how the body battles HIV, a tremendously complex and relentless virus. Their findings appear in the online issue of Cell and will be published in the July 11 print issue.


"What we have uncovered is a war that is being fought on the molecular level between viruses and cells. The war has been going on for millions of years, but we didn’t know about it until now," said Landau.

"We have been focusing on an antiviral system that we never knew about-a single protein called APOBEC3G. APOBEC3G would be a powerful inhibitor of viruses such as HIV, except for one problem: the virus has outsmarted it. During the evolutionary war between the virus and the host, the virus developed an effective counter-measure."

That counter-measure is a gene in HIV called virion infectivity factor (Vif). In an HIV-infected cell, according to Landau, Vif molecules are produced and then attach to the APOBEC3G protein molecules. Once attached, Vif prevents APOBEC3G from getting into the new viruses, and these viruses go on to replicate and spread throughout the body.

Having identified the interaction between Vif and APOBEC3G, Landau and his team then focused on a fundamental question: would it be possible to beat the virus at its own game?

"We found that mice also have the antiviral protein," said Landau. "But interestingly, HIV can’t recognize the mouse protein. As a result, mouse APOBEC3G is a powerful blocker of HIV replication. The mouse APOBEC3G protein goes into HIV and Vif can’t kick it out."

The mouse APOBEC3G functions like a smart bomb with a time-delayed fuse. When the virus is produced in an infected cell, APOBEC3G molecules get into the virus. At first, the protein does nothing; however, when the virus infects a new cell, APOBEC3G is activated. As HIV begins to copy its genes into DNA, APOBEC3G attacks the virus, creating massive mutations. APOBEC3G attacks the cytosines in the virus DNA, removing an essential chemical group to make them into uracil. The viral DNA is so badly mutated that the viral genes can’t function.

"Drug companies may be able to use this information to design a novel type of drug to treat HIV infection. They could develop drugs that attach to APOBEC3G, physically blocking Vif from attaching. If Vif can’t bind to APOBEC3G, the process of HIV replication could be halted," said Landau.

The lead author of the paper was Roberto Mariani, a staff scientist at the Salk Institute. Co-authors of the paper include Darlene Chen, Bärbel Schröfelbauer, Francisco Navarro, Renate König, Brooke Bollman, Carsten Münk, Henrietta and Nymark-McMahon, all of the Salk Institute. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Concerned Parents for AIDS Research.


The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., founded the institute in 1960 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

Robert Bradford | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.salk.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>