Wednesday, March 3, 2010
genetic information into their DNA.
Scientists have made a breakthrough in HIV research that had eluded researchers for over 20 years, potentially leading to better therapys for HIV, as per a research findings published recently in the journal Nature
The researchers, from Imperial College London and Harvard University, have grown a crystal that reveals the structure of an enzyme called integrase, which is found in retroviruses like HIV. When HIV infects someone, it uses integrase to paste a copy of its genetic information into their DNA.
Previous to the newly released study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health, a number of scientists had tried and failed to work out the three-dimensional structure of integrase bound to viral DNA. New antiretroviral drugs for HIV work by blocking integrase, but researchers did not understand exactly how these drugs were working or how to improve them.
Scientists can only determine the structure of this kind of molecular machinery by obtaining high quality crystals. For the newly released study, scientists grew a crystal using a version of integrase borrowed from a little-known retrovirus called Prototype Foamy Virus (PFV). Based on their knowledge of PFV integrase and its function, they were confident that it was very similar to its HIV counterpart.........