The HIV protein Nef sparked intensive research after observations that patients with a rare strain of HIV lacking Nef took a very long time to develop AIDS symptoms. Nef has been linked to molecules involved in cell signaling pathways and may use them for its own ends. But how Nef does this has not been clear. Now Jacek Skowronski and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York have identified a mechanism involving Nef, by which HIV-infected T cells are kept from traveling to sites within lymphatic tissues where they can become activated.
Skowronskis lab found that Nef associates with two proteins, DOCK2 and ELMO1. DOCK2 regulates enzymes (Rac1 and Rac2) that are required for normal lymphocyte migration and antigen-specific responses. ELMO1 has also been shown to help DOCK2 activate Rac. Because DOCK2 activates Rac as part of two different signaling pathways--one activated by the T cell receptor, which mediates T cell activation, and one by a chemokine receptor, which controls T cell migration--the researchers investigated whether Nef could affect these important pathways by modulating Rac activity. They found that Nef in fact activates Rac by binding to the DOCK2ELMO1 complex. And they went on to show that HIV uses these components of the chemokine receptor pathway to disrupt T cell migration. To generate an effective immune response, it is crucial that T cells travel to sites within lymphatic tissues where they interact with other lymphocytes. By inhibiting T cell migration, the researchers propose, Nef prevents these critical interactions, thereby providing a mechanism for stifling the immune response.
These results, the authors argue, provide the biochemical evidence that Nef targets a protein "switch" that can interfere with important aspects of T cell function. In this way, Nef subverts the immune response pathways controlled by receptors on the surface of T cells to effectively disarm the immune system and turn T cells into viral replication factories. Understanding how Nef interacts with these proteins to spread infection could lay the foundation for valuable new therapies aimed at inhibiting and arresting HIV infection by blocking Nef-mediated effects.
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy