About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Crucial HIV Protein Discovery Holds Promise for Powerful AIDS Drugs

by VR Sreeraman on September 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM
Font : A-A+

 Crucial HIV Protein Discovery Holds Promise for Powerful AIDS Drugs

Scientists at University of Michigan have discovered a key HIV accessory protein, called HIV-1 Nef, that thwarts the body's normal immune response - a finding that may pave the way for more powerful AIDS drugs.

While current anti-HIV drugs are life saving, they cannot root the virus out of the body. Infected cells are able to live on, undetected by the immune system, and provide the machinery for the virus to reproduce and spread.

Advertisement

"There's a big hole in current therapies, in that all of them prevent new infection, but none attack the cells that are already infected and hidden from the immune response," said Kathleen L. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the study's senior author and a U-M associate professor in both internal medicine and microbiology and immunology.

She added: "People have to be on the existing drugs, and when they're not, the virus rebounds. If we can develop drugs that seek out and eradicate the remaining factories for the virus, then maybe we could eradicate the disease in that person."
Advertisement

HIV-1 Nef is known to keep immune system cells from doing their normal jobs of detecting and killing infected cells.

The new study shows how Nef disables two key immune system players inside an infected cell. These are molecules called major histocompatability complex 1 proteins (MHC-1) that present HIV antigens to the immune system, and CD4, the cell-surface receptor that normally locks onto a virus and allows it to enter the cell.

According to Collins. MHC-1 is similar to motion detectors on a house, which send the first signal to a monitoring station if an invader breaks in.

"The immune system, especially the cytotoxic T lymphocytes, are like the monitors who get the signal that there's a foreign invader inside the cell, and send out police cars. The 'police' are toxic chemicals produced by T lymphocyte cells, which kill the cell that harbors the invader," she said.

Nef's actions allow active virus to hide undetected and reproduce by in effect pushing the MHC-I proteins into an infected cell's "trash bin" so they fail to alert the T lymphocytes. Also, once a cell has been infected, Nef destroys CD4. thus, new virus is encouraged to spread to uninfected cells.

While Nef's activities are variable and complex, the new findings suggest that the many pathways involved may end in a final common step. That could make it possible to find a drug that could block several Nef functions.

Now, researchers are screening drug candidates to find promising Nef inhibitors. Such drugs, which are at least 10 years away from use in people, would supplement, not replace, existing anti-viral drugs given to HIV-infected people. The new drugs would target the reservoirs where the virus hides.

Collins said that in developing countries, the new drugs could have a huge impact. Today, children born with HIV infection start taking the existing anti-HIV drugs at birth.

She said that it's very hard to continue costly treatments for a lifetime. But if children could be cured within a few years, global HIV treatment efforts could spread their dollars further and be much more successful.

The study appears online in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Source: ANI
SRM
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Oral Health And AIDS Drug Toxicity AIDS/HIV AIDS/HIV - Epidemiology AIDS/HIV - Clinical Features AIDS/HIV - Health Education AIDS/HIV - Prevention And Transmission AIDS / HIV - Treatment AIDS/HIV- Lab Tests and Faqs AIDS - Initial Theories and Disease Progression 

Recommended Reading
AIDS/HIV - Epidemiology
AIDS or HIV is an epidemic disease, a potentially deadly infection that can be prevented with ......
AIDS/HIV - Common Opportunistic Infections
Kaposi sarcoma develops below the skin surfaces or in mucous membranes of mouth, nose or anus and .....
AIDS - Initial Theories and Disease Progression
AIDS was first detected in early 1980s, among gays, Haitians and black Africans. HIV is a descendant...
AIDS / HIV - Treatment
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about the treatment for AIDS/HIV...
AIDS/HIV
"AIDS is an epidemic disease, a potentially preventable, deadly infection for which there is no cure...
AIDS/HIV - Clinical Features
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about HIV Clinical Features...
AIDS/HIV - Health Education
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about AIDS information and health education....
AIDS/HIV - Prevention And Transmission
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about the prevention for AIDS/HIV...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Oral Health And AIDS
AIDS has taken on massive proportions in modern times. It is estimated that over 15 million people a...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use