St. Louis scientists say they’ve determined how HIV invades healthy cells – and that could lead to improved drug therapies to fight the deadly disease. The researchers at the Saint Louis University Institute for Molecular Virology demonstrated the molecular mechanism by which the HIV virus infects, or integrates, healthy cells.
Although scientists theorized two ends of the virus’ DNA must come together inside a healthy cell to infect it, until now investigators haven’t been able to illuminate the process.
“Many biological and structural aspects of HIV integration are undefined,” said Sibes Bera, one of the investigators. “Therefore, any insight into the molecular mechanism of this process is significant in developing integrase inhibitors.”
Integrase, discovered by Saint Louis University researchers in 1978, is one of three HIV proteins crucial to HIV survival.
The researchers found the integrase holds the two ends of the viral DNA together prior to integration. Once inside the cell, the two viral DNA ends are fused by the integrase to the cell’s chromosome. The integrated viral DNA allows virus replication. If the two ends of the viral DNA do not come together, infection does not take place.
The findings appear in the journal Biochemistry.
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Sub-editorHIV :: How HIV invades healthy cells
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on December 23rd, 2005 at 5:30 am.
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