Scientists Just Figured Out What The Protein Looks Like That Lets HIV Into Our Cells
Image courtesy of the Wu lab, SIMM
It's called CCR5 and it inserts itself into the cell membrane, making a hole in it.
Those holes only open up if the protein on the outside has the right structure. HIV just happens to have the right proteins on the outside of its shell to open up this hole and sneak into the cell, where it overtakes the cells' machinery and starts pumping out copies of itself until the cell is overworked and dies.
As the virus kills off more and more of your white blood cells, your immune system gets weaker and weaker and you lose your ability to fight off infections - even those that are normally harmless - eventually succumbing to one of them.
The receptor is one of two that the virus uses to enter cells. The other is CXCR4 - which researchers had previously figured out. The CCR5 receptor is used by more strains of HIV, so understanding will help researchers make better drugs to treat and prevent HIV infection.
Sadly we can't just block these proteins off - they are needed by the cell for normal, everyday functions too.
The study detailing the receptor was published Sept. 12 in the journal
Their insights will give researchers a better understanding of how the virus changes to escape these drugs.
Image courtesy of the Wu lab, SIMM]
Image courtesy of the Wu lab
- Culinary odyssey: Exploring Kochi's 10 famous cuisines
- Scientists have finally figured out what happened to the lost continent ‘Argoland’ that went missing 155 million years ago
- Revamp your health in 2024: 10 Essential food habits for a better life
- Consistent inflows push small-cap funds AUM past Rs 2 lakh cr mark in Nov
- Ola Electric aims to raise nearly Rs 5,800 cr via IPO, to file DRHP