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How HIV Interferes With Infected Cell Division

Date:
July 15, 2007
Source:
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal
Summary:
Researchers identified cellular proteins recruited by HIV to compromise CD4+T cell function and enhance viral replication. The scientists' discovery could lead to the development of a new class of drugs to combat HIV.
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Montréal researchers identify cellular proteins recruited by HIV to compromise CD4+T cell function and enhance viral replication. Dr. Éric A. Cohen, a researcher at the IRCM (Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal), and his team published in PLoS Pathogens July 13 a discovery that could lead to the development of a new class of drugs to combat HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) causes AIDS by depleting essential immune cells called CD4+T lymphocytes in infected individuals, resulting in a compromised immune system.

At the center of this process is the HIV protein, viral protein R (Vpr), which stops infected CD4+T cells from dividing and as a consequence compromises their immune function. In addition, by arresting cell division, Vpr helps HIV to harness the infected cell's resources to enhance viral replication. The way Vpr exerts this effect is by interacting with cellular proteins that control cell division.

Dr. Cohen and his team have identified a novel cellular protein complex targeted by HIV-1 Vpr to stop infected cell division. This protein complex, designated DDB1-CUL4-VprBP, is involved in a process called ubiquitination. Ubiquitination is a mechanism by which a small protein called ubiquitin is conjugated to cellular proteins in order to modulate their biological activity or induce their degradation.

The researchers demonstrated that association of Vpr with this ubiquitinating complex, also called an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, is essential for the defect in cell division induced by Vpr. Further characterization of this protein complex as well as the elucidation of the mechanism by which it affects cell division may open new avenues for therapeutic intervention against HIV.


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Materials provided by Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. "How HIV Interferes With Infected Cell Division." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131534.htm>.
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. (2007, July 15). How HIV Interferes With Infected Cell Division. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131534.htm
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. "How HIV Interferes With Infected Cell Division." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131534.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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