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 30, 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 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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:

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