New Vulnerability Found in AIDS Virus, German Scientists Say
August 3, 2005
On July 24, a team led by Hans-Georg Kraeusslich, a virology professor at Heidelberg University Hospital, announced it had successfully used a fragment of protein known as a peptide to halt assembly of the shell of HIV. The virus is unable to reproduce unless the membrane is complete.
The peptide functioned in a test tube but cannot be used directly as a drug, because infected cells do not accept it. Nevertheless, the scientists hope to discover other, more viable substances with a similar function.
When HIV spreads from an infected cell, it remains incomplete. The peptide, called a capsid assembly inhibitor, docks onto part of the membrane of the immature HIV and prevents it from developing a mature shell, the capsid. The researchers published their report, "A Peptide Inhibitor of HIV-1 Assembly In Vitro" online in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (07.24.05;doi:10.1038/nsmb964).
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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.