When HIV-1 infects an immune cell, the virus travels to the nucleus so quickly there’s not enough time to set off the cell’s alarm system.
Now, a Loyola University Chicago study has discovered the protein that helps the virus travel so fast. Researchers found that without this protein, the virus became stranded in the cytoplasm, where it was detected by the viral defense system. (The cytoplasm is the portion of the cell outside the nucleus.)
“By preventing its normal movement, we essentially turned HIV-1 into a sitting duck for cellular sensors,” said Edward M. Campbell, PhD, corresponding author of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Campbell is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
HIV-1 infects and kills immune system cells, including T cells and macrophages that were used in the study. This cripples the immune system, making the patient vulnerable to common bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that are usually harmless in people with healthy immune systems.
After HIV-1 enters a cell, it has to work its way through the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Once inside the nucleus, HIV-1 takes control of the cell and makes additional HIV-1 copies. But getting through the cytoplasm is not easy. Cytoplasm consists of fluid that is thick with proteins and structures such as mitochondria. “Something the size of a virus cannot just diffuse through the cytoplasm,” Campbell said. “It would be like trying to float to the bathroom in a very crowded bar. You need to have a plan.”
HIV-1 is able to get to the nucleus quickly via tubular tracks called microtubules. The virus attaches itself to a molecular motor called dynein, which moves down the microtubule like a train car on tracks.
Campbell and colleagues discovered the “ticket” HIV-1 needs to get on the train — a protein called bicaudal D2. HIV-1 binds to bicaudal D2, which recruits the dynein molecular motor. The dynein then transports HIV-1 towards the nucleus.
The finding raises the possibility of developing a drug that would prevent HIV-1 from binding to bicaudal D2, thus stranding the virus in the cytoplasm. This would not only prevent infection, but also give the cell time to turn on antiviral genes that would protect it and neighboring cells from infection.
Learn more: Study suggests a way to stop HIV in its tracks
The Latest on: HIV
HIV/AIDS expert expected as Trump’s next pick to head CDC: report
on March 17, 2018 at 9:56 am
Robert Redfield, an HIV/AIDS expert at the University of Maryland Medical Center, is seen as the White House’s favored candidate to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Politico. The Trump administration is currently ... […]
Trump administration considers HIV/AIDS expert to lead CDC: Reports
on March 17, 2018 at 6:31 am
The Trump administration is considering appointing Robert Redfield, an HIV/AIDS expert at the University of Maryland Medical Center, as its next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to multiple reports. Redfield would take ... […]
Man tests positive for HIV while taking PrEP
on March 16, 2018 at 2:51 pm
Health officials in Washington State say that a local man has contracted HIV while taking PrEP. It is believed he was infected with a rare strain of HIV that is resistant to both of the medications in Truvada. According to Outbreak News Today: Director of ... […]
HIV rates rise in at least two US hot spots
on March 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm
(CNN)Milwaukee is seeing an unexpected spike in cases of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to health officials. There are high incidence rates in communities with larger vulnerable populations, including men who have sex with men ... […]
11 HIV-Positive Gay Men Reveal What Happened Right After Diagnosis and How Life is Now: WATCH
on March 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Riccardo is a 25-year-old from a conservative town in Italy who moved to London after falling in love and realizing he was gay. Shortly thereafter, Riccardo realized he was HIV-positive when he and his partner went to get an HIV test together. He called ... […]
Slowdown in HIV/AIDS Progress Puts Focus on Young Women
on March 16, 2018 at 11:23 am
VULINDLELA, South Africa—Public-health leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS have come to an ominous realization: Progress in cutting new infections has slowed, in part because of a persistent cycle of transmission among young women in sub-Saharan Africa. […]
Too much online support can be harmful for HIV patients
on March 16, 2018 at 7:05 am
For individuals living with HIV, online communities provide the support system they need to engage in positive self-care, which is critical in managing the virus and its ill effects. However, as new School of Management research finds, beyond a certain ... […]
Use Of HIV-Prevention Drug Grows, But Lags Among Non-Whites
on March 15, 2018 at 2:15 am
Eric Russell, 24, recently joined a health support group for young Latino and black gay men, where he learned about the HIV-prevention pill known as PrEP. He resisted the medication at first, convinced he didn’t need it and fearful that taking it would ... […]
Yep, I’m HIV-Positive And Happy
on March 14, 2018 at 8:31 am
When I first began writing about the HIV-positive experience, my life was filled with a barrage of sex, dating, and controversial conversations around stigma, shame, and disclosure. Whether the topic was related to physical health, love, or self-esteem ... […]
via Google News and Bing News