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Researchers Develop Tool to Identify Latently Infected Cells

Researchers Develop Tool to Identify Latently Infected Cells


For the first time, researchers have crafted a method to identify and study cells that serve as HIV reservoirs that can reseed the body with HIV when antiretroviral drugs are stopped. Scientists at the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco reported in the April 15 issue of the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal that they have created a genetically engineered strain of HIV that carries a fluorescent green protein trackable in the body, including in latently infected cells. The researchers also discovered that during infection of latent cells, HIV inserts its genetic material into the dormant sections of the cells' DNA'called heterochromatin'thus allowing the virus to lie dormant and evade the effects of anti-HIV medications. Studies are now under way to identify drugs that can activate latent cells, which would make them vulnerable to antiretroviral medications.

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