Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientist works to detach protein that HIV uses as protective shield

Date:
February 13, 2012
Source:
Indiana University School of Medicine
Summary:
One of the frustrations for scientists working on HIV/AIDS treatments has been the human immunodeficiency virus' ability to evade the body's immune system. Now a researcher has discovered a compound that could help put the immune system back in the hunt.

One of the frustrations for scientists working on HIV/AIDS treatments has been the human immunodeficiency virus' ability to evade the body's immune system. Now an Indiana University researcher has discovered a compound that could help put the immune system back in the hunt.

It's not that the human immune system doesn't recognize HIV. Indeed, an infection causes the body to unleash antibodies that attack the virus, and initially some HIV is destroyed.

But HIV is able to quickly defend itself by co-opting a part of the innate human immune system -- the immune system people are born with, called the complement. The complement includes a vital mechanism that prevents immune system cells from attacking the body's own cells. HIV is able to incorporate a key protein in that self-protection mechanism, CD59, and by doing so makes itself appear to be one of the body's normal cells, not an infective agent.

In laboratories at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Andy Qigui Yu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, is testing a promising compound that may counteract HIV's ability to hijack the immune system's protection mechanism.

"HIV is very clever. As it replicates inside cells, it takes on the CD59. The virus is covered with CD59, so the immune system treats the virus like your own normal cells," Dr. Yu said.

In November, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it had awarded nine new Grand Challenges Explorations Phase II grants, one of them to Dr. Yu. The Phase II grants were awarded to researchers who had received initial $100,000 awards and had shown promising results.

The new grant will support not only Dr. Yu's research into compounds that may block the ability of HIV to hide behind the CD59 "cloak," but also his work to identify the mechanism the virus uses to incorporate CD59.

"If we find that mechanism, then we can develop something to block that incorporation, and HIV may lose that protection from the immune system," Dr. Yu said.

Researchers have been able in the past to generate antibodies that successfully attacked HIV in the laboratory. But these antibodies have failed in human testing because the virus in the body escapes from immune system attacks, Dr. Yu said.

In an attempt to disrupt HIV's hijacking of CD59, Yu and colleagues at IU and Harvard University crafted a molecule from a bacterial toxin that is known to bind to the CD59 protein. In laboratory tests, they administered the molecule to blood samples taken from patients with HIV. The bacteria toxin molecule latched on to the CD59 proteins, revealing the viral particles to be invaders and enabling the antibodies to attack the virus.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of Immunology in December 2010, the researchers suggested that the molecule could potentially be developed into a new therapy to fight HIV/AIDS.

More recent experiments have indicated that the administration of the molecule enabled the antibody-complement to attack infected cells and not just the virus particles found in the blood samples. The next steps will include more extensive testing of the molecule in a broader range of patient samples, Dr. Yu said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University School of Medicine. "Scientist works to detach protein that HIV uses as protective shield." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213133704.htm>.
Indiana University School of Medicine. (2012, February 13). Scientist works to detach protein that HIV uses as protective shield. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213133704.htm
Indiana University School of Medicine. "Scientist works to detach protein that HIV uses as protective shield." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213133704.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins