Navigation Links
Evolutionary biologist will study HIV with grant from AIDS research foundation
Date:2/25/2009

AUSTIN, TexasDr. Sara Sawyer will use a $120,000 grant from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) to study how the HIV virus and the cells it attacks have evolved together over time. The goal of her research is to discover new targets for drugs.

When HIV infiltrates cells, the virus hijacks its host's genetic machinery to produce proteins and ultimately replicate itself. It has been recently found that the retrovirus hijacks about 1,000 human genes.

"The big challenge now is to find which of these 1,000 genes and the proteins they encode are critical for HIV infection," says Sawyer, an assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at The University of Texas at Austin. "Those will be good targets for blocking the virus with new antiviral drugs."

Viruses and their hosts are constantly evolving to thwart each other in an arms race that occurs over many generations and results in evolutionary change in both.

To find the genes and proteins essential for HIV to do its work in human cells, Sawyer will look in the genomes of primates for an evolutionary record of these lockstep changes.

African primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas have been evolving with the precursor to HIV, called SIV, for millions of years. They rarely get sick from the virus. Evolutionary theory predicts that the primate genes and proteins most critical to SIV infection will have evolved more rapidly over time than other genes, as the primates evolved to sidestep the viral attack.

Sawyer will look for these proteins that have changed the fastest over time. It's these proteins that will likely be the most important in blocking the retrovirus, and could point to new targets for HIV drug development.

"Mutations in host cell proteins that decrease the ability of retroviruses like HIV to multiply will be favored over time," says Sawyer. "If we can identify which of these proteins have played the most important role in host resistance, then we may find new ways to block the virus and develop antivirals."

Sawyer and her colleagues pioneered this particular method of mining evolutionary history to uncover the workings of HIV-host interactions. She also recently received a Sloan Fellowship to pursue her research.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lee Clippard
lclippard@mail.utexas.edu
512-232-0675
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
2. Adaptation to parasites drive African fishes along different evolutionary paths
3. Old developmental pathways spawn revolutionary evolutionary changes
4. New study sheds light on Galápagos hawk evolutionary history
5. A new explanation for evolutionary changes in genetic sex-determination systems
6. Predators and parasites may increase evolutionary stability
7. Time-sharing tropical birds key to evolutionary mystery
8. Evolutionary biology research on plant shows significance of maternal effects
9. Evolutionary comparison finds new human genes
10. Rebuilding the evolutionary history of HIV-1 unravels a complex loop
11. Primitive early relative of armadillos helps rewrite evolutionary family tree
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... DUBLIN , April 27, 2016 ... of the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report ... ) , The analysts forecast ... a CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... a number of sectors such as the healthcare, ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment ... on the heels of the deployment of its platform ... BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are ... DNA in ink used in a variety of writing ... theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on ... through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: ... be a featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap ... York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. ... BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET ... business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for the balance ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising hotspot for specialized team ... its top attractions. Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm and Elsevier, ... team-building experience. , Each event kicks off with an olive oil and salt-tasting competition. ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Scientists at the University of Athens say ... mesothelioma may be hampering the research that could lead to one good one. Surviving ... read it now. , The team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ... with artificial intelligence, real-time decision support tools in the emergency ... at the 2016 Israeli Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. ... Israel,s 15th National Life Sciences and Technology ... the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel ...
Breaking Biology Technology: