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Issue No. 3 | January 18, 2008

News and Features

Host Proteins Required for HIV Infection Identified

A recently published study has identified 273 host proteins, or "HIV dependency proteins" (HDPs), that are hijacked by HIV during the course of infection.

Using a technique called RNA interference, the study evaluated thousands of proteins. Some of the proteins identified include Golgi transport proteins (Rab6 and Vps53) that are required for viral entry into cells, a karyopherin (TNPO3) required for viral integration into cells, and the mediator complex (Med28) used by HIV during viral transcription.

Researchers intend to use the HDPs identified in this study to determine potential targets for future HIV therapies. 

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Use of Prophylactic Antiretroviral Drugs Prevents HIV Transmission in Mice

According to a recent study, the use of currently available antiretroviral medications as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was effective in preventing vaginal HIV transmission in mice with "humanized" immune systems (BLT mice).

Eighty-eight percent of BLT mice that were not given PrEP became infected with HIV when the virus was introduced vaginally. However, when BLT mice were pretreated with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, all the mice tested were found to be resistant to vaginal HIV infection.
The researchers believe that their findings illustrate that currently available antiretroviral drugs could be used for PrEP in humans in the near future.
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