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Promising HIV Research

By on February 16, 2013
interferon

There is promising news in the world of HIV. American researchers say they identified aaids_hiv2012 protein with broad virus-fighting properties that potentially could be used as a weapon viruses such  as HIV and Ebola.

Su-Yang Liu, a student, and Genhong Cheng, a professor at the David  Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said  the novel anti-viral property of the protein, cholesterol-25-hydroxylase, is an  enzyme that converts cholesterol to an oxysterol called 25-hydroxycholesterol,  which can permeate a cell’s wall and block a virus from entering.

The cholesterol-25-hydroxylase enzyme is activated by interferon, an  essential antiviral cell-signaling protein produced in the body.

“Anti-viral genes have been hard to apply for therapeutic purposes because it  is difficult to express genes in cells,” Liu said in a statement.  “Cholesterol-25-hydroxylase produces a natural, soluble oxysterol that can be  synthesized and administered. Also, our initial studies showing that 25HC can  inhibit HIV growth in vivo should prompt further study into membrane-modifying  cholesterols that inhibit viruses.”

The discovery is particularly relevant to efforts to develop broad-spectrum  antivirals against an increasing number of emerging viral pathogens, Liu said. The findings were published in the journal Immunity.

 

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