Navigation Links
Interfering with interferon

Using the body's natural virus killers to prevent and treat HIV infection has been problematic until now because of the strong inflammatory response these molecules can arouse as they get rid of the invaders. Now, collaborative research conducted by scientists at the Weizmann Institute and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated how suppressing the activity of these molecules interferons around the time of infection could have long-term implications for the course of the disease. Their research appeared in Nature.

Interferons, named for their ability to "interfere" with viral replication, protect us against disease, but they are also the source of inflammation when we are sick. Today, interferons are used to treat such viral diseases as hepatitis. But in HIV, it has been thought that the inflammation and other side effects could be too harmful and the danger of a "runaway" immune response too great. Prof. Gideon Schreiber of the Weizmann Institute's Biological Chemistry Department and team, including postdoctoral fellow Dr. Doron Levin and former postdoc Dr. Ganit Yarden, had, in previous research, designed an antagonist molecule that is able to block some of the activities of interferons while still allowing them to proceed to act against viruses.

Their original motivation, says Schrieber, was to better understand the mechanisms of different versions of the interferon molecule. This research revealed that the activity of each interferon is tuned to specific cells and viruses. The molecule they had created, says Schrieber, "was not a true 'antagonist' in the biological sense: Instead of blocking all IFN activity, it was able to target the mechanisms leading to the prevention of replication and modulation of the immune system, leaving the antiviral activity mostly intact."

Next, Schrieber and his group teamed up with Dr. Netanya Sandler and Prof. Daniel Douek at the NIH to understand what happens when full-out interferon activity is tampered with in HIV. The research was done on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) the animal equivalent to HIV. Their results show that the actions blocked by the molecule may have important functions, even if they appear to be "detrimental." The team administered an antagonist, blocking a IFN for the first four weeks after infection. Even after this short period, they found that the natural immune system activities did not recover and compensate to the level they otherwise would have; and this led to a progression of the disease.

Schreiber: "These results clearly demonstrate the importance of an early, general IFN response in fighting HIV infection, and removing the 'harmful' IFN functions even for just a short period at the onset of infection can have devastating and permanent consequences in shaping the course of disease." Taken together, these findings suggest that not only the type of treatment, but also the timing of IFN administration needs to be considered in the management and prevention of disease.


Contact: Yivsam Azgad
Weizmann Institute of Science

Related biology news :

1. New data suggests interferon-free therapy around the corner for HCV patients
2. Height, weight and BMI changes seen in children treated with peginterferon alpha for hepatitis C
3. Interferon-beta aids balance and movement in mice with spinocerebellar ataxia 7
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Interfering with interferon
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, ... partnership that will provide end customers with a more ... payment services.      (Logo: ) ... financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part in ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... April 20, 2016 The new ... a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door ... reader or the door interface with integration authorization management ... control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control ... the building installations offer considerable freedom of design with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today ... Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am ... and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, ... 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, ... and multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess ... of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... either as a single dose (ranging from 45 ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew ... escalating cost of cancer care is placing an ... result of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest ... ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: