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:3/23/2017)... India , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture ... Touchless Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... at a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions , a ... enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of retired FBI ... public safety business development. Mr. Sheridan brings ... including a focus on the aviation transportation sector, to ... position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  Continue ... ... to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. The recognition ... ... software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is at 100 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Federal funding for basic and applied scientific ... life-saving medical and other vital technologies — deserves continued support, say leaders of ... scientific community today in responding to the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey ... most troublesome and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits ... 200 weed scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on ... autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... Bacterial ... of polymeric molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter infections ... of biofilms is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, there is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: