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Blood thinning drug helps in understanding a natural HIV barrier

Date:
March 23, 2015
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
A blood thinning agent is helping researchers understand more about the body’s natural barriers to HIV. New research reveals how the protein langerin, which is present in genital mucous and acts as a natural HIV barrier during the first stages of contamination, interacts with the drug heparin.
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A blood thinning agent is helping researchers at the University of East Anglia understand more about the body's natural barriers to HIV.

New research reveals how the protein langerin, which is present in genital mucous and acts as a natural HIV barrier during the first stages of contamination, interacts with the drug heparin.

The research team has been able to identify two different mechanisms for that interaction -- involving different sites or 'faces' at the surface of the langerin protein.

Lead researcher Dr Jesus Angulo from UEA's school of Pharmacy said: "Langerin is produced by immune cells which are present in genital mucous. They constitute the first obstacle that the HIV virus finds in its way to infecting someone.

"Heparin is widely used as an anticoagulant agent that prevents the formation of blood clots. But it is also occurs naturally in the body with different compositions and surrounds our cells.

"Langerin-heparin interactions are thought to be important in the degradation of the HIV virus. The way that heparin interacts with langerin is important because it is thought to stabilize the formation of granules that facilitates the elimination of HIV particles.

"This is a basic research study providing structural details of a potentially relevant interaction in a known natural barrier to HIV. Yet, of course, it doesn't mean that taking heparin or other anticoagulant drugs will protect people from HIV.

"The ultimate aim of this line of research is to develop drugs that inhibit the HIV cellular receptors that facilitate infection, without inhibiting, or even better boosting, the activity of langerin.

"This is obviously a long-term goal towards which this research is providing significant initial steps."


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Juan C. Muñoz-García, Eric Chabrol, Romain R. Vivès, Aline Thomas, José L. de Paz, Javier Rojo, Anne Imberty, Franck Fieschi, Pedro M. Nieto, Jesús Angulo. Langerin–Heparin Interaction: Two Binding Sites for Small and Large Ligands As Revealed by a Combination of NMR Spectroscopy and Cross-Linking Mapping Experiments. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015; 150323010120002 DOI: 10.1021/ja511529x

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Blood thinning drug helps in understanding a natural HIV barrier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323105748.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2015, March 23). Blood thinning drug helps in understanding a natural HIV barrier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323105748.htm
University of East Anglia. "Blood thinning drug helps in understanding a natural HIV barrier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323105748.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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