What HIV needs: Identification of human factors may yield novel therapeutic targets for HIV

Oct 02, 2008
The human immunodeficiency virus only brings along a minimalist's survival gear -- just nine genes, coding for 15 proteins -- and relies on its host cell to provide what's missing. Image: Dr. John Young, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Burnham Institute for Medical Research today announced 295 host cell factors that are involved in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The study, published in the Oct. 3 issue of Cell, could lead to the development of a new class of HIV therapeutics aimed at disrupting the human-HIV interactions that lead to viral infection.

The research, a collaborative effort between the laboratories of Sumit K. Chanda, Ph.D, previously at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) and now at Burnham and John Young, Ph.D. at Salk, combined several layers of genome-wide analysis to identify cellular proteins that aid the virus in establishing an infection.

"HIV has just nine genes, coding for 15 proteins, compared to bacteria, which harbor several thousand genes, or humans, with over 20,000 genes," said Chanda, associate professor in the Infectious & Inflammatory Disease Center at Burnham and an adjunct faculty member at Salk. "We have known for a long time that HIV hijacks our cellular proteins to complete its life cycle. This study now lays out its flight plan."

Young, professor in the Infectious Disease Laboratory at Salk added, "Due to viral resistance, there is an urgent need for new classes of therapies aimed at preventing the virus from infecting new cells as opposed to merely keeping viral replication in check. To develop more effective therapies for HIV infection and AIDS we must identify and characterize the cellular factors that participate in early steps of HIV-1 replication and prevent the virus from becoming established."

Although more than two dozen drugs are available for the treatment of HIV infection, there is a growing need for new antiviral therapies. Recent studies indicate that HIV remains "hidden" in a latent form, even after long-term suppression with highly active antiretroviral therapy.

In the study, the team of researchers used short-interfering RNA (siRNA) which, when introduced into a cell, silences cellular gene expression, one gene at a time. Using high throughput transfection technology available at GNF and at Burnham, more than 144,000 siRNAs (6 siRNAs for each gene in the human genome) were screened for their effects on HIV-1 infection. Data from the siRNA genomic screen was combined with information from large-scale, protein-protein interaction databases to identify key protein complexes that affect discrete steps in the early stages of HIV infection.

"The integration of these systems-based analyses allowed us to build, for the first time, a functionally validated map of host-pathogen interactions that are required for viral infection," said Renate König, Ph.D., of Burnham, the first-author on the study.

Source: Salk Institute

Explore further: Taking a look at the dark side of tourism in the Dominican Republic

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ultrafast remote switching of light emission

28 minutes ago

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology can now for the first time remotely control a miniature light source at timescales of 200 trillionth of a second. They published the results on Sept. 2014 ...

Microsoft skips Windows 9 to emphasize advances

58 minutes ago

The next version of Microsoft's flagship operating system will be called Windows 10, as the company skips version 9 to emphasize advances it is making toward a world centered on mobile devices and Internet ...

Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

22 hours ago

Populations of about 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have plummeted far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world's biggest environmental groups.

World's first microbe 'zoo' opens in Amsterdam

1 hour ago

The world's first "interactive microbe zoo" opened in Amsterdam on Tuesday, shining new light on the tiny creatures that make up two-thirds of all living matter and are vital for our planet's future.

Recommended for you

More HIV+ patients undergoing spinal fusion

Sep 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—More HIV-positive patients are undergoing spinal fusions, and these patients have higher rates of complications resulting from the procedures, according to a study published in the Sept. 15 ...

User comments : 0