TRIM5a, the Protein that Destroys HIV

False color public domain electron microscope image of budding HIV from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Loyola University Health System reported last week on Loyola University researchers’ discovery of a protein that appears to destroy HIV in rhesus monkeys. The team reports their findings in the September 15 edition of Virology, already available online.

Called TRIM5a, the protein occurs in humans in several variations, but for some reason humans’ TRIM5a doesn’t protect against HIV. TRIM5a consists of 500 amino acid subsets; the researchers identified 6 that seem to be important to inhibiting the virus. Study leader Edward M. Campbell, PhD, said that researching the action of those amino acid subsets could lead to genetically engineered TRIM5a that will stop HIV in humans, or synthetic drugs that mimic the simian TRIM5a’s action.

Notice how I didn’t even once say “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS” or “the HIV virus?” That cos I’m SMART.

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