Virologists at Jefferson Medical College may have discovered a new way by which HIV, the AIDS virus, can evade both anti-viral drugs and vaccines.
Researchers had reported last summer that a protein called CEM15 is a natural inhibitor of HIV, acting as a brake on HIV’s replication. They also showed that an HIV-encoded protein, Vif, or Virion infectivity factor, counteracts CEM15. Vif, in effect, is a shield to protect HIV from a host cell’s defenses.
But how CEM15 worked was something of a mystery. Now, Hui Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., Bin Yang, Ph.D., and their colleagues at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have found that CEM15 renders HIV essentially dead by altering newly made HIV DNA, causing mutations and preventing replication.
Steven Benowitz | TJUH
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