Replication of immunodeficiency virus in humans

April 16, 2012

Drs. Beatrice Hahn and Frank Kirchoff led an international research effort to understand what adaptations allow a chimpanzee strain of SIV to replicate in human tissues.

The (AIDS) pandemic is caused by the (HIV-1), which attacks the immune system and leaves infected individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections. AIDS and HIV-1 are thought to have a relatively short history in humans, with the first infections likely occurring around the turn of the 20th century.

HIV-1 is derived from highly related simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) that infect modern primates, including chimpanzees. SIVs must have crossed the to infect humans at some point in the past, but the molecular adaptations that permitted a new host are unknown. Drs. Beatrice Hahn and Frank Kirchoff led an international research effort to understand what adaptations allow a chimpanzee strain of SIV to replicate in human tissues.

They found that SIV is capable of replicating in human immune tissues, but that replication occurs at very low levels. By introducing a single amino acid change into the SIV Gag protein, a structural protein that makes up the viral capsid, the research team found that in cultured human tissues increased dramatically, while replication in chimpanzee-derived was decreased.

Their work indicates that species-specific adaptation of Gag is critical for viral replication efficiency and suggests that changes in Gag potentially played a role in the emergence of HIV/AIDS.

Explore further: Antibodies help protect monkeys from HIV-like virus, scientists show

More information: Efficient SIVcpz replication in human lymphoid tissue requires viral matrix protein adaptation, www.jci.org/articles/view/6142 … b299fdfbdc1c9633aa06

Related Stories

Antibodies help protect monkeys from HIV-like virus, scientists show

May 5, 2011
Using a monkey model of AIDS, scientists have identified a vaccine-generated immune-system response that correlates with protection against infection by the monkey version of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). ...

Recommended for you

Injectable AIDS drug may work 'as well' as pills: study

July 24, 2017
A two-drug cocktail injected every month or two may be just as effective as a daily pill at keeping the AIDS virus under control, said a study Monday that promised relief for millions.

Girl's HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

July 24, 2017
A South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines—more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, ...

Paris spotlight on latest in AIDS science

July 21, 2017
Some 6,000 HIV experts gather in Paris from Sunday to report advances in AIDS science as fading hopes of finding a cure push research into new fields.

Scientists elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV in calves

July 20, 2017
Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have achieved a significant step forward, eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV by immunizing calves. The findings offer insights for HIV vaccine ...

Heart toxin reveals new insights into HIV-1 integration in T cell genome

July 20, 2017
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 may have evolved to integrate its genetic material into certain immune-cell-activating genes in humans, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Scientists capture first high-resolution image of key HIV protein transitional state

July 13, 2017
A new, three-dimensional snapshot of HIV demonstrates the radical structural transformations that enable the virus to recognize and infect host cells, according to a new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.