US - HIV Birth Witnessed - May Lead To A Cure
greg1usa | May 28, 2008 at 01:50 amby
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Researchers are first to see a virus being ‘born’ Researchers in the US have been the first to witness a HIV virus particle assemble on the surface of a cell – a development which may ultimately lead to a cure for the disease. The minute, shape-shifting protein nasties are notoriously difficult to combat but the new technique developed at Rockefeller University which allows researchers to watch viruses as they are ‘born’ is a vital step forward towards infection prevention and cure. The researchers, led by HIV expert Paul Bieniasz and cellular biophysicist Sandy Simon, developed a technique called ‘total internal reflection microscopy’, which specifically illuminates a cell’s surface. By doing this they were able, for the first time, to visualise thousands of molecules coming together to form a single HIV virus particle on the surface of a cell in real time.
Update - Scientists Break Into HIV 'Hideout'
Researchers have confirmed
that a certain type of cell provides a "hideout" for HIV
during drug treatment and is a reservoir of HIV in humans. These
follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) are located throughout the body in
specialized sites known as lymphoid tissues, said researchers at
Brigham Young University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. FDCs
act as "vaults" to store material needed to maintain the
immune system's legions of antibodies. When there's a drop in a
particular kind of antibody, FDCs release proteins that trigger an
immune response to increase levels of those antibodies. The researchers discovered
that FDCs have such an effective vault mechanism that HIV can remain
out of reach of drugs flowing through the blood stream. This finding
that FDCs harbor HIV may help scientists find ways to attack HIV
taking shelter in these reservoir cells.
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