Evolving HIV viral strains and the adverse side effects associated with long-term exposure to current treatments propel scientists to continue exploring alternative HIV treatments.
In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has identified broad-spectrum aptamers. Aptamers are synthetic molecules that prevent the HIV virus from reproducing. In lab tests, aptamers known as RT5, RT6, RT47 and some variants of those were recently identified to be broad-spectrum, which would allow them to treat many subtypes of HIV-1. Now, researchers are gaining a better understanding of the biochemical characteristics that make aptamers broad-spectrum.
“Aptamers are promising candidates as anti-HIV and anti-cancer therapeutic agents for reducing virus infectivity,” said Donald Burke-Aguero, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. “They also might be beneficial in developing gene therapy applications.”
In cell cultures, aptamers have suppressed viral replication by inhibiting important enzymes in the HIV-1 virus. One important enzyme is reverse transciptase (RT), which copies genetic material and generates new viruses. Scientists hope to create aptamers that will disrupt RT and suppress the virus’s growth. Aptamers can reduce viral infectivity by blocking the normal action of RT.
“Successful aptamers get in the way of the virus’s genetic material, which it is trying to copy as it invades a cell,” Burke-Aguero said. “The structure of the aptamer is very important. Broad-spectrum aptamers must have an adaptable structure, which make it difficult for RT to get around them.
There are several different HIV-1 subtypes around the world, and each subtype has a different amino acid sequence making it difficult to create a single aptamer that will work on every substype. Synthetic molecules must be the right size and shape to bind with HIV proteins, Burke-Aguero said.
“The first batch of aptamers developed were designed for a particular virus and would not work on all strains of HIV,” Burke-Aguero said. “Now our goal is to develop broad-spectrum aptamers. If an aptamer has broad-spectrum function, viruses will be less likely to develop resistance to the therapy. We are in the process of refining aptamers and understanding the nature of resistance in order to get multi-year to lifetime protection.”
Burke-Aguero’s study, “Novel Bimodular DNA Aptamers with Guanosine Quadruplexes Inhibit Phylogenetically Diverse HIV-1 Reverse Transciptases,” was published in Nucleic Acids Research. It was co-authored by Daniel Michalowski and Rebecca Chitima-Matsiga.
Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences