Aug 122010

Mason virologist Yuntao Wu and his team of researchers have spent the past six years decoding the molecular processes of the AIDS virus and unraveling the mystery of how the virus destroys CD4 T or “helper” T-cells. The team is pursuing a new treatment based on a Trojan horse concept in which a particle that looks and behaves like the virus is used to target HIV-infected cells. The imposter particles then seek out and infiltrate cells containing a known HIV protein called Rev. The theory is that once these fake particles identify and invade infected cells, the Rev protein will trigger the release of a toxin that will eliminate the virus’ reservoir.

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  One Response to “New Ways to Fight AIDS”

  1. “rev” is another of HIV’s regulator genes. It stimulates the production of HIV proteins, but suppresses the expression of HIV’s regulatory genes.

    How does it achieve this? The messenger RNAs of HIV can either be sent to the protein-producing part of the cell intact, or they can have bits cut out of them first (splicing). The intact mRNA tends to encode HIV proteins (such as envelope and capsid proteins), while the spliced mRNA encodes regulatory genes such as tatand nef.

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