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Now, T-Cells May BE Made HIV-Resistant With New Genetic Strategy

by Tanya Thomas on January 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM
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 Now, T-Cells May BE Made HIV-Resistant With New Genetic Strategy

Scientists have come up with an innovative genetic strategy for rendering T-cells resistant to HIV infection without affecting their normal growth and activity.

A team of researchers from Japan, Korea, and the U.S. developed an anti-HIV gene therapy method in which a bacterial gene called mazF is transferred into CD4+ T-cells. The MazF protein is an enzyme (an mRNA interferase) that destroys gene transcripts, preventing protein synthesis.

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The design of this mazF gene therapy vector ensures that synthesis of the MazF protein is triggered by HIV infection. When HIV infects treated T lymphocytes, MazF is induced, blocking HIV replication and, essentially, making the T-cells HIV resistant.

"The potential of using vectors to express genes within a cell to block viral infection was first considered by David Baltimore in a strategy called 'intracellular immunization.' This study illustrates a unique way in which intracellular immunization can be achieved," said James M. Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

The finding has been published in Human Gene Therapy.

Source: ANI
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