Hexacarboxybenzene found useful in blocking HIV infection

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner

 

The Nature Journal has published the work of some researchers at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and University College London on the examination of the atomic structure of a capsid and creating mutant HIV viruses, which allowed the team to see the behavior of the pores.

The team has discovered some vital component of HIV which may lead to the development of drugs to fight the infection. The transmission of HIV is through contact with the blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids as well as breast milk of an infected. The immune becomes weakened thereby destroying vital cell s that combat diseases and infections.

Globally, significant parts of the population are living with HIV. Presently, no known cure has been found for HIV infection, the available management options aimed at slowing the spread of the virus and make the infected person enjoy a relatively stable. As a RNA virus, HIV has a distinct property of transcribing RNA into DNA after penetrating a cell.

The retroviral DNA easily integrates into the DNA of the host cell and became unknown by the immune system. The infected cell in-turn produces virus cells with different RNA genomes, which recommence the infection cycle. It is the process that has made vaccine development for HIV infection a mirage.
In previous study, the process that led to this integration was unknown. It is against this background that researchers embarked on this. Interestingly, the team has made new discoveries into this mechanism.

According to them, a protein shell known as the capsid surrounds the virus contains irislike pores that open and close like an eye. It was also found that the pores opening and closure is so quick enabling them to suck in the genetic building blocks called nucleotides that the virus needs to build the DNA to infect the cell, while keeping out any unwanted molecules.

This helps to explain why HIV is so successful at evading the immune system. Dr. Leo James and his team thought that the capsid do go apart as soon as the virus entered a cell, however, the study revealed that the capsid protects the virus from the host immune system. In order to disable the virus from multiplying itself and infecting more cells, the scientists propounded an inhibitor molecule called hexacarboxybenzene which can block the capsid pores.

The molecule successfully blocks the pores, ensuring that the virus can no longer replicate itself, rendering it noninfectious. Unfortunately, hexacarboxybenzene molecule cannot habituate on human cell, thus it remains helpless with any cells already infected with HIV.

However, the researchers added that their findings could lead to both future drugs that can enter human cells and block the pores from within and greater effectiveness of existing treatments, by altering them to penetrate pores. Furthermore, they believe that the new prototype molecule would aid the formulation of drugs to treat other retroviruses.

 

Source
Medical Research Council News Release



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