Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracking proteins in single HIV particle

Date:
May 4, 2014
Source:
KU Leuven
Summary:
A new technique to examine how proteins interact with each other at the level of a single HIV viral particle has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists. The technique allows scientists to study the life-threatening virus in detail and makes screening potential anti-HIV drugs quicker and more efficient. The technique can also be used to study other diseases.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from KU Leuven in Belgium has developed a new technique to examine how proteins interact with each other at the level of a single HIV viral particle. The technique allows scientists to study the life-threatening virus in detail and makes screening potential anti-HIV drugs quicker and more efficient. The technique can also be used to study other diseases.

Related Articles


Understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reproduces itself is crucial in the effort to fight the disease. Upon entering the bloodstream, HIV viral particles, or virions, 'highjack' individual immune cells. The virion binds to and then penetrates the immune cell. Once inside, the virion reprograms the genetic material of the immune cell to produce more HIV virions. In this way, HIV disables the disease-fighting 'bodyguards' in our blood and turns them into breeding machines for new HIV virions.

Integrase plays a key role throughout this whole process: "Integrase is the HIV protein that causes the genetic material of HIV to link to that of the hijacked cell. It ensures the programming of the human cell upon infection. In our study, we wanted to track integrase during the different stages of infection," explains postdoctoral researcher Jelle Hendrix (Department of Chemistry). The challenge is to do this at the level of a single virion: "HIV has multiple ways of doing the same thing. This is the case for cell penetration, for instance. So it is certainly useful to be able to see exactly how the individual HIV virions are behaving."

To achieve this, the researchers used single-molecule fluorescence imaging. They engineered a genetically modified HIV virion that was capable of infecting the cell but incapable of reproducing inside it. The virion was programmed to produce a fluorescent form of integrase. "This allowed us to examine the interactions of the florescent integrase under the light microscope both in vitro in a single HIV virion as well as in a human cell infected with it."

"We then used the technique to study both clinically approved and newly developed HIV inhibitors. Some of these drugs were thought to affect interaction between integrase particles. With our new technique, we were able to observe that this was indeed the case."

"There are already a few dozen medications available for HIV, but further research is essential. Whenever HIV multiplies by hijacking an immune cell, there is a chance of mutation, and there is no guarantee that an HIV drug will be able to handle that mutation. A medication may not be as effective over the course of a patient's lifetime. Moreover, current HIV drugs are very expensive. Hence the importance of being able to test anti-HIV medications quickly and efficiently."

The good news is that this new technique can be broadly applied: "It may seem surprising, but we can also use a genetically modified version of a dangerous virus to examine other pathogens. Essentially, we have created a nano test tube out of an HIV virion, inside of which protein interactions can be studied. In principle, we can make any protein fluorescent, be it from HIV, from another disease or from a human cell."

"Researchers have been studying protein interactions for some time, but studying them at the level of a single viral particle was not possible until now," says Jelle Hendrix. Our technique allows scientists to quickly test many molecules -- potential medications -- for many diseases using minimal material. In future research, we will be using the technique to study integrase proteins of other viruses."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Doortje Borrenberghs, Wannes Thys, Susana Rocha, Jonas Demeulemeester, Caroline Weydert, Peter Dedecker, Johan Hofkens, Zeger Debyser, Jelle Hendrix. HIV Virions as Nanoscopic Test Tubes for Probing Oligomerization of the Integrase Enzyme. ACS Nano, 2014; 8 (4): 3531 DOI: 10.1021/nn406615v

Cite This Page:

KU Leuven. "Tracking proteins in single HIV particle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504211035.htm>.
KU Leuven. (2014, May 4). Tracking proteins in single HIV particle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504211035.htm
KU Leuven. "Tracking proteins in single HIV particle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504211035.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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