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.

Related Articles


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 December 17, 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 December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) The Red Cross battles the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone and its fallout. In one treatment centre in the city of Kenema, the Red Cross also runs a kindergarten. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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