June 29, 2022

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Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle

Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle



 

Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle.


Despite being overshadowed by the recent global COVID-19 epidemic, humanity still faces another disease epidemic, namely HIV/AIDS. According to the United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), there are currently about 38 million people living with HIV worldwide. ; Since the HIV epidemic began in the 1980s, many people have died of HIV infection, in the search for new methods of antiviral therapy.


Researchers from Germany have recently developed a new technology through research, which may be able to analyze and affect key stages of the HIV life cycle, related research results “Short- and long-range interactions in the HIV-1 5′ UTR regulate genome dimerization. and packaging” was published in the international journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

 

Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle

Dimerization of HIV-1 was analyzed.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41594-022-00746-2


Critical stages of the viral life cycle represent very attractive targets for drugs and therapeutics, so it is important to conduct basic research to understand and influence fundamental molecular processes.

A distinguishing feature of HIV-1 mutants is that they contain two Viral genome copies, during which the two genomes can be brought together by a process called dimerization, which is also a prerequisite for viral packaging, which ultimately leads to the production of novel infectious viral particles And the complete virus replication process is carried out.


In this study, the researchers describe a novel technique for investigating the HIV-1 life cycle at single-nucleotide resolution, a method called FARS-seq (Functional Analysis of RNA Structure) Helps researchers identify regions of the HIV-1 genome that are important for dimerization and viral packaging.

Researcher Professor Redmond Smyth explained that dimerization is a prerequisite for viral packaging, which has been discussed for a long time in HIV-1 research.

However, the molecular mechanism behind it is currently unknown to researchers. This information is provided at high resolution, which may also lead to targeted interventions.


The results of this study show that the HIV-1 genome exists in two different RNA conformations, only one of which is involved in the packaging process of the genome. In the second conformation, the RNA can stay in the host cell and then be translated into The new viral protein, therefore, these two conformations act as a molecular switch that directs the fate of the viral RNA as well as the viral replication process.

Now that scientists have identified sequences that regulate the balance between the two RNA conformations, this study reveals how viral factors bind to these regions to target or interfere with viral assembly.

 

Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle

Image source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35347312/

 


The researchers say they hope to use these findings to develop RNA-based antiretroviral drugs or improved gene therapy vectors. Also applies to other HIV strains. Taken together, our findings may provide new insights into the HIV-1 life cycle and a mechanistic explanation for the association between RNA dimerization and packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Reference:
Liqing Ye, Anne-Sophie Gribling-Burrer, Patrick Bohn, et al. Short- and long-range interactions in the HIV-1 5′ UTR regulate genome dimerization and packaging, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (2022). DOI:10.1038/s41594-022-00746-2

Scientists successfully unravel the mystery of HIV life cycle

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