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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22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University
Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
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Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
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