Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why the human body cannot fight HIV infection

Date:
July 12, 2012
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Researchers have made a discovery that sheds light on why the human body is unable to adequately fight off HIV infection. The researchers discovered that the viral protein vpu, which is created by HIV during infection, directly interferes with the immune response protein IRF3 to dampen the ability of the immune system to protect against virus infection.

University of Washington researchers have made a discovery that sheds light on why the human body is unable to adequately fight off HIV infection.

The work, directed by Dr. Michael Gale, Jr., a professor in the Immunology Department, will be featured in the August print issue of the Journal of Virology.

The researchers discovered that the viral protein vpu, which is created by HIV during infection, directly interferes with the immune response protein IRF3 to dampen the ability of the immune system to protect against virus infection.

"By understanding exactly what HIV does to hamper the innate immune response during early infection, we can develop a clearer picture of how the virus is able to evade immunity to establish a long-term infection," said Dr. Brian Doehle, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the article.

The research expanded on an earlier discovery by the Gale lab that HIV directly antagonizes the early innate immune response in infected cells by impairing IRF3 function.

The new studies found that the HIV protein vpu specifically binds to the immune protein IRF3 and targets it for destruction, thereby, preventing IRF3 from functioning to trigger an immune response within the infected cell.

The scientists also found that HIV strains engineered to lack vpu, which is made during infection, did not impair the immune response.

"We have effectively identified a new Achilles heel in the arsenal that HIV uses to overcome the defenses present in the body's immune system," stated Dr. Gale. "This knowledge can be used to design new HIV antiviral therapeutics that prevent vpu from interacting with IRF3 and targeting it for destruction, thus enhancing immunity.

The development of new HIV antiviral therapeutics is critical to successfully treating HIV-infected people. Even though HIV antiviral therapeutics have already been developed and can effectively treat HIV infections, over time they lose their effectiveness due to the ability of the virus to adapt and spread despite the therapy, said Gale. "Therefore, the identification of new targets for treatment therapy is essential to providing the most effective treatment for HIV-infected patients."

Gale's laboratory has already begun translating the knowledge from these discoveries to tracking the molecular events that occur in patients during infection.

Arjun Rustagi, an MD/PhD student in the UW Medical Scientist Training Program, has developed a procedure to measure IRF3 activity in human blood cells. This new methodology will be used to measure IRF3 function over the course of HIV infection -- from the early stages of acute infection to the later stages of chronic infection that lead to AIDS.

By linking IRF3 function with infection over time, researchers will be able to understand how antiviral therapeutics that are designed to improve IRF3 function might impact the overall course of the disease in an HIV-infected individual.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. B. P. Doehle, K. Chang, A. Rustagi, J. McNevin, M. J. McElrath, M. Gale. Vpu mediates IRF3 depletion during HIV infection by a lysosomal-dependent mechanism. Journal of Virology, 2012; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00423-12

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Why the human body cannot fight HIV infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101551.htm>.
University of Washington. (2012, July 12). Why the human body cannot fight HIV infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101551.htm
University of Washington. "Why the human body cannot fight HIV infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101551.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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