Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells; Findings have implications for HIV treatment

Date:
June 5, 2013
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
Untreated HIV infection destroys a person's immune system by killing infection-fighting cells, but precisely when and how HIV wreaks this destruction has been a mystery until now. New research reveals how HIV triggers a signal telling an infected immune cell to die. This finding has implications for preserving the immune systems of HIV-infected individuals.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell.
Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Untreated HIV infection destroys a person's immune system by killing infection-fighting cells, but precisely when and how HIV wreaks this destruction has been a mystery until now. New research by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, reveals how HIV triggers a signal telling an infected immune cell to die. This finding has implications for preserving the immune systems of HIV-infected individuals.

HIV replicates inside infection-fighting human immune cells called CD4+ T cells through complex processes that include inserting its genes into cellular DNA. The scientists discovered that during this integration step, a cellular enzyme called DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) becomes activated. DNA-PK normally coordinates the repair of simultaneous breaks in both strands of molecules that comprise DNA. As HIV integrates its genes into cellular DNA, single-stranded breaks occur where viral and cellular DNA meet. Nevertheless, the scientists discovered, the DNA breaks during HIV integration surprisingly activate DNA-PK, which then performs an unusually destructive role: eliciting a signal that causes the CD4+ T cell to die. The cells that succumb to this death signal are the very ones mobilized to fight the infection.

According to the scientists, these new findings suggest that treating HIV-infected individuals with drugs that block early steps of viral replication -- up to and including activation of DNA-PK and integration -- not only can prevent viral replication, but also may improve CD4+ T cell survival and immune function. The findings also may shed light on how reservoirs of resting HIV-infected cells develop and may aid efforts to eliminate these sites of persistent infection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arik Cooper, Mayra Garcνa, Constantinos Petrovas, Takuya Yamamoto, Richard A. Koup, Gary J. Nabel. HIV-1 causes CD4 cell death through DNA-dependent protein kinase during viral integration. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12274

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells; Findings have implications for HIV treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144435.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2013, June 5). Scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells; Findings have implications for HIV treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144435.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells; Findings have implications for HIV treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144435.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
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