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Scientists identify human proteins that may fuel HIV/AIDS transmission

Date: 15.12.2011 

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered new protein fragments in semen that enhance the ability of HIV, to infect new cells.

Previously, scientists in Germany discovered that HIV transmission is linked to the presence of an amyloid fibril in semen. This fibril -- a small, positively charged structure derived from a larger protein -- promotes HIV infection by helping the virus find and attach to its target: CD4 T white blood cells. In tomorrow's issue of Cell Host & Microbe, researchers in the laboratory of Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD, who directs virology and immunology research at Gladstone, describe a second type of fibril that also has this ability.

"Our experiments suggest that fibrils derived from semenogelins -- the major component of semen -- are integral to enhancing HIV infection in semen," said Dr. Roan. "We hope that this research paves the way for the next-generation of microbicides that can both neutralize these fibrils and attack the virus," said Dr. Greene.






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