Researchers may now know why Old World monkeys are resistant to the disease-causing effects of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The discovery may pave the way for new anti-HIV therapies.
Old World monkeys can become infected with HIV, but the RNA virus never gets converted to DNA and so is not incorporated into the host genome. The conversion is blocked by a protein called TRIM5alpha, Joseph Sodroski and colleagues report in Nature (26 February 2004, Vol. 427, No. 6977, pp. 848-853). The team report that the blocking factor works less well against the monkey version of HIV, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which may explain why Old World monkeys fall foul of SIV but are resistant to HIV.
"The work uncovers key players in the early steps of virus replication, and may lead to new approaches in inhibiting HIV-1," says Stephen P. Goff in an accompanying News and Views article.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
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Stephen P. Goff
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(C) Nature press release.
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