Proteins can turn off HIV-1

1 October 2015

A pair of proteins that are able to switch off the action of the HIV-1 virus has been identified by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Trento and the University of Geneva. The two studies were carried out separately, and used different methodologies to reach a similar understanding.

Their work was centred around the host cell membrane proteins SERINC5 and SERINC3, which can significantly reduce the impact of HIV-1 by preventing it from infecting new cells. However, HIV-1 produces its own protein (Nef) that blocks the action of SERINC5 and SERINC3.

This suggests that drugs that target Nef could be effective when it comes to preventing the spread of HIV-1.

Lead researcher Jeremy Luban, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School said: "It's amazing, the magnitude of the effect that these proteins have on infectivity. The SERINC proteins reduce the infectivity of HIV-1 virions by more than a hundredfold."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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