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New 'armor' developed to avoid infection from AIDS virus
Date:7/30/2010

connect to a specific "receptor" of the cell and commence its viral activity.

What the researchers are seeking with this study is to strengthen the membrane structure, making it more rigid, in order to avoid this fusion of membranes and, thus, the inoculation of the cell by the AIDS virus.

Practically all treatment for the AIDS virus currently being applied is based on halting the progress of the virus once it is inside the host cell. There is but one treatment, commercially known as Enfurvitide, which attempts to stop the virus actually entering the cell. The research published in Chemistry & Biology comes to the same conclusion, but by a totally different and novel route.

"For the cell membranes and the virus to come together and this orifice be opened to allow the entrance of the virus, the membranes have to have a certain degree of fluidity, of mobility. We discovered a procedure to make the cell membranes more rigid. This could well give rise to a new pharmaceutical drug which makes the membranes more rigid and impede the entrance of the AIDS virus. Instead of the membrane being flexible, a kind of armour is established which makes the cell impenetrable", explained Flix Goi.

The research started 3 years ago and has employed various techniques in the field of chemistry and molecular biology.

At the Institute of Applied Chemistry of Catalonia (CSIC, Barcelona), Ms Gemma Fabris has synthesised the GT11 molecule by means of organic chemistry synthesis techniques. Mr Santos Maes, from the National Biotechnology Centre, studied the viral infection of the cells, and from the Biophysics Unit at the CSIC-University of the Basque Country work has been undertaken at molecular level to demonstrate that there are changes in the rigidity of the membranes when the GT11 molecule is incorporated into them, and that when the membranes are more rigid the virus cannot fuse with the cell membrane and, thus, from penetrating the c
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Contact: Oihane Lakar
o.lakar@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert  

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