A protein in the cell's nuclear membrane regulates the ability of the HIV virus to invade human cells, reveal Jean-Marc Jacque and Mario Stevenson in a study to be published online in Nature.
The researchers show that HIV has difficulty infecting the immune system's macrophages if they lack emerin, a component of the inner nuclear envelope. This is because copies of the viral genetic material - complementary DNA (cDNA) - cannot integrate into the knot of nuclear DNA and protein called chromatin.
The researchers propose that emerin is necessary for the viral cDNA to localize with chromatin before inserting into the host's cellular DNA - and suggest that small molecules that inhibit the interaction between emerin and viral cDNA might help block HIV infection.
Mario Stevenson (Massachusetts University Medical Center, Worcester, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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