Discovery of protein chain may lead to new drugs and treatments
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have identified a complex series of proteins that enable HIV to bypass the natural defenses of human cells and replicate. The discovery of these proteins is the key for understanding how HIV overcomes host defenses and could potentially be new targets for HIV medications. A study detailing the finding is published in the October 16, 2003, online version of the journal Science.
As the researchers explained in their article, viruses like HIV contain a viral infectivity factor (Vif), which is essential for evading the human cells natural antiviral agent called APOBEC3G. To disable the antiviral agent, Vif interacts with a series of proteins to modify (polyubiquitination) and degrade APOBEC3G. Xiao-Fang Yu, MD, DSc, an associate professor with the Schools Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and his colleagues have identified these proteins as Cullin5, Elongins B and C and Rbx1. Together, they form a complex of proteins called ubiquitin E3 ligase (Cul5-SCF), which interacts with Vif and APOBEC3G.
Tim Parsons | EurekAlert!
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