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New technique tracks proteins in single HIV particle
Date:5/5/2014

on as well as in a human cell infected with it."

"We then used the technique to study both clinically approved and newly developed HIV inhibitors. Some of these drugs were thought to affect interaction between integrase particles. With our new technique, we were able to observe that this was indeed the case."

"There are already a few dozen medications available for HIV, but further research is essential. Whenever HIV multiplies by hijacking an immune cell, there is a chance of mutation, and there is no guarantee that an HIV drug will be able to handle that mutation. A medication may not be as effective over the course of a patient's lifetime. Moreover, current HIV drugs are very expensive. Hence the importance of being able to test anti-HIV medications quickly and efficiently."

The good news is that this new technique can be broadly applied: "It may seem surprising, but we can also use a genetically modified version of a dangerous virus to examine other pathogens. Essentially, we have created a nano test tube out of an HIV virion, inside of which protein interactions can be studied. In principle, we can make any protein fluorescent, be it from HIV, from another disease or from a human cell."

"Researchers have been studying protein interactions for some time, but studying them at the level of a single viral particle was not possible until now," says Jelle Hendrix. Our technique allows scientists to quickly test many molecules potential medications for many diseases using minimal material. In future research, we will be using the technique to study integrase proteins of other viruses."


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Contact: Dr. Jelle Hendrix
jelle.hendrix@chem.kuleuven.be
32-016-327-344
KU Leuven
Source:Eurekalert

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