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Proteins Found in Monkeys May Block HIV

Proteins Found in Monkeys May Block HIV


Researchers from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have discovered a protein in monkeys that blocks HIV replication, according to a study in the February 26 edition of the journal Nature. Once HIV enters the monkey cells, the protein, called TRIM5-alpha, somehow prevents the virus from making copies of itself. Although the researchers are not sure exactly how this happens, they theorize that the protein interferes with HIV's attempts to remove the coating that surrounds its genetic material that must be shed for the virus to integrate itself into immune system cells' DNA. Humans have their own version of TRIM5-alpha, but the protein does not appear to work as well in people as it does in monkeys. The researchers say it may be possible to design a drug that boosts the human protein's anti-HIV effects and stimulates natural resistance to HIV. 'The mechanism may even work against other viruses,' says lead researcher Joseph Sodroksi.

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