Caltech researchers (California Institute of Technology) have successfully identified the structure of key protein in common HIV subgroup.
The boffins have provided the first-ever glimpse of the structure of a key protein-gp120-found on the surface of a specific subgroup of the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1. In addition, they demonstrated that a particular antibody to gp120 makes contact not only with the protein, but with the CD4 receptor that gp120 uses to gain entrance into the body's T cells.
This three-dimensional understanding of how gp120 is built is more than just a basic scientific advance.
"There's a tremendous continuing effort to develop a vaccine for HIV," says Caltech postdoctoral scholar Ron Diskin, "and most of those efforts use gp120. Having more structural information will facilitate better vaccine design."
The findings are detailed in a paper published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.