Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Defense peptide found in primates may block some human HIV transmissions

11.08.2006
University of Central Florida researchers believe protein can effectively block HIV-1 virus from entering and infecting blood cells

As primates evolved 7 million years ago, the more advanced species stopped making a protein that University of Central Florida researchers believe can effectively block the HIV-1 virus from entering and infecting blood cells.

HIV-1 often mutates quickly to overcome antiviral compounds designed to prevent infections. But a research team led by Associate Professor Alexander Cole of UCF's Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences has demonstrated that over 100 days the virus develops only weak resistance to retrocyclin, a defense peptide still found in monkeys and lower primates.

If additional laboratory tests demonstrate only weak resistance, Cole will study how retrocyclin could be developed into a drug designed to prevent the HIV virus from entering human cells.

Cole is also working with Henry Daniell, a UCF professor of molecular biology and microbiology, to develop a way to grow retrocyclin through genetically engineered tobacco plants. The retrocyclin gene would be incorporated into the chloroplast genome of tobacco cells before the plants grow. Daniell has developed a similar approach to growing anthrax vaccine in tobacco plants.

An inexpensive way to produce the drug with only a small amount of tobacco would help to make it accessible in areas such as Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean where the disease spreads most quickly.

"If we could develop retrocyclin in plants and produce enough of the drug cheaply, we could potentially save a lot of lives," Cole said.

Cole was recently awarded about $4 million of National Institutes of Health grants through 2011 for the HIV-1 research and similar studies. The grants were provided through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Cole started his research into theta-defensins at the University of California, Los Angeles, before he moved to UCF in 2003. Drs. Otto Yang and Robert Lehrer, infectious disease specialists at UCLA, and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Emory University are collaborating with Cole.

There are three classes of defensin peptides, and most research around the world has focused on alpha and beta defensins, the two types that humans still make. Cole studies theta-defensins called retrocyclins, which are no longer made by humans or advanced primates such as chimpanzees. However, theta-defensins are more active against HIV-1 than the other two types of defensins and can be developed in laboratories, two features that suggest retrocyclins still could become an effective way to fight the virus.

HIV-1 is the most common form of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. The disease is often transmitted sexually, and the drugs produced from Cole's research would be applied to the vagina in the form of a gel or cream. Many of the laboratory tests have shown that retrocyclin can prevent HIV-1 infection of human vaginal tissue.

Retrocyclin was still an effective inhibitor of HIV-1 even after 100 days of continuous exposure to human cells in a laboratory setting. Cole and his team are encouraged that only minimal resistance of the virus occurred during that time. Higher resistance levels make it more difficult to develop drugs to fight the virus because doses must be increased substantially over time.

The exact reason why resistance does not develop quickly with retrocyclin is unclear, but it may be a result of retrocyclin interacting with more than one target on both the cell and virus. Viruses that have to defeat more than one antiviral mechanism often develop resistance at a much slower pace.

The next phase of Cole's research will delve more into the mutations that HIV-1 can take in an effort to minimize them as much as possible. Many series of laboratory tests would need to be completed before clinical trials could begin no earlier than 2009.

Cole's findings were published in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Immunology, a top journal in the fields of immunology, molecular biology and microbiology.

Tom Evelyn | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucf.edu
http://www.AIDS2006.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>