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Study IDs Protein That Helps HIV

Posted by pozlife on September 11, 2006

U.S. scientists have identified a protein HIV uses to attach itself to
chromosomes, presenting a possible target for new anti-HIV drugs.

HIV enters a chromosome using the integrase protein, said Dr. Eric
Poeschla, who led the Mayo Clinic researchers involved in the study.
Connected to integrase is protein LEDGF/p75 (p75), which forms a bond
that keeps HIV’s genetic information safely anchored in its host’s DNA
forever.

When p75 was cut from the human chromosome invaded by HIV in cell
culture, HIV could not function and T-cells became resistant to it, the
team discovered. Furthermore, when researchers added a
“dominant-negative” piece of p75 to the culture, it impaired HIV by
500-fold. But there are two “knots,” one at both ends of the p75
tether; both were essential for HIV to remain in place, which
potentially provides another therapeutic target.

Surprisingly little p75 was needed for HIV to latch onto the
chromosome, which Poeschla said should be taken into consideration in
studies searching for key cellular proteins that HIV uses in the
integration process. “Quite a few likely exist,” he said. “The
challenge is to use the right methods to find them.”

The full report, “An Essential Role for LEDGF/p75 in HIV Integration,” was published online September 7 in Science Express.

[This summary provided by the CDC National Center for
HIV, STD, and TB Prevention | United Press International | September 7,
2006 | Astara March]

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