A New Protein Critical To Early Stages Of Cellular HIV Infection Identified
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have identified a protein critical to the initial stages of HIV penetration into, offering a potential target for anti-HIV treatment.
After analyzing over 15,000 host cell genes researchers have focused on protein, maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK), produced by the host cell is necessary for correct removal of the protein coat of HIV-1.
"Depleting cells of MELK reduced HIV-1 infectivity," team leader Hiroaki Takeuchi states. "The virus entered the MELK-depleted cell regularly, but its protein coat was not removed perfectly, so it was unable to produce DNA from its genetic material efficiently. When we restored MELK, the infection process was also restored."
"Our results show a previously unrecognized mechanism involved in the deletion of the protein coat of HIV-1 and contribute to our understanding of the early stages of the viral life-cycle," another author Shoji Yamaoka continues. "Moreover, our findings suggest that MELK is a potential target for anti-HIV-1 therapy."
The study was published in PLOS Pathogens.