Researchers turn HIV virus dormant
A new research done by scientists at the University of California, San Diego and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has raised new hope for those infected with HIV. The study is published in the recent issue of the journal Nature Genetics.
The researchers are able to find out the genetic circuit in HIV controls as how the virus turns on or off, and interestingly they have successfully turned the virus dormant. This has certainly provided an edge to look for newer HIV therapy.
Leor S. Weinberger, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego, with Michael L. Simpson of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Roy D. Dar of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, say that their study shows how a developmental decision between HIV’s two replication fate is made.
By measuring randomness or the noise in HIV gene expression the scientists could investigate how HIV decides to replicate or remain dormant. This study has endowed a new means to look for how other viral as well as cellular development is regulated.
It provided a new device to probe cellular and viral regulation and how other biological decisions are made.
“It’s significant for two reasons,” said Weinberger. “First, many researchers are interested in determining which cellular processes generate biological noise. We, instead, asked if the cellular noise could tell us anything about HIV and the cell – and it did. What it told us is how a developmental decision is made by HIV.”
“We still don’t understand how developmental decisions are made at the single-cell level -- for example, how a particular stem cell differentiates into many different cell types -- and whether noise can drive this decision. Surprisingly, viruses appear to be good models for understanding this type of cellular decision-making,” he added.
The researchers found genetic marker circuit of HIV and the Tat circuit and reviewed the previous work of Weinberger which illustrated that its function did not resemble on-off switch.
In his earlier research he found that that HIV circuit is motivated by cellular noise or random events which trigger the circuit for a limited amount of time before it turns off. But the new study has given clue about how long HIV remained activated in the cell and that made them to conclude that the amount of time spent in the active state impel HIV’s decision to destroy cell or not.
This study will be further carried on to look into the possibilities of anti-HIV therapy.
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