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Medical News

Study IDs Protein That Helps HIV

September 8, 2006

US scientists have identified a protein HIV uses to attach itself to chromosomes, presenting a possible target for new HIV drugs.

HIV enters a chromosome using the integrase protein, said Dr. Eric Poeschla, who led the Mayo Clinic researchers involved in the study. Connected to integrase is protein LEDGF/p75 (p75), which forms a bond that keeps HIV's genetic information safely anchored in its host's DNA forever.

When p75 was cut from the human chromosome invaded by HIV in cell culture, HIV could not function and T-cells became resistant to it, the team discovered. Furthermore, when researchers added a "dominant-negative" piece of p75 to the culture, it impaired HIV by 500-fold. But there are two "knots," one at both ends of the p75 tether; both were essential for HIV to remain in place, which potentially provides another therapeutic target.

Surprisingly little p75 was needed for HIV to latch onto the chromosome, which Poeschla said should be taken into consideration in studies searching for key cellular proteins that HIV uses in the integration process. "Quite a few likely exist," he said. "The challenge is to use the right methods to find them."

The full report, "An Essential Role for LEDGF/p75 in HIV Integration," was published online Sept. 7 in Science Express (2006;doi:10.1126/science.1132319).

Back to other news for September 8, 2006

Adapted from:
United Press International
09.07.2006; Astara March

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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