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THANKS RE: Gene focus of the new Tre enzyme
Aug 23, 2007

Thanks so much for doing a deep dive on my question about the Tre enzyme study.

You're clarification of the "target" of the Tre enzyme being LTR really starts to point my understanding in the right direction.

I was hoping you might be able to indulge me just a bit more...

When the HIV genome is converted from RNA into DNA and is then integrated into the Human cellular DNA, does that happen as a "single unit"? In other words, does the entire HIV genome [the full spectrum of individual genes (gag, pol, env, etc)] get integrated as a single unit into the Human cellular DNA, or does it happen on a "gene by gene" basis? Meaning, the gag gene gets integrated "here", the pol gene gets integrated "there", et al.

That's the part I'm not finding good info for, so I'm trying to understand if the Tre enzyme focuses on the full genome "start" LTR, and the full genome "end" LTR, or is it targeting the LTRs of one specific "gene" thus meaning that the proteins that gene encodes are not being created, meaning the building of new HIV Virons can't occur (because this protein, that is common to all mutations even, doesn't exist to build, let's say, the viral casing, etc.).


Response from Dr. Pierone

No problem, it was actually fun to try and decipher the scientific methods involved in this groundbreaking study. Here is the original post on the Tre enzyme study.

The Tre enzyme focuses on the full genome, not LTRs of single genes. This is based on a schematic figure from the manuscript which showed the LTRs flanking the entire genome. This is important because it allows the Tre enzyme to snip out the entire HIV genome from the cellular DNA.

Again, this is very basic research, but represents a significant breakthrough in the field of gene therapy for HIV. Stay tuned!

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