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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Discovered a new protein to block HIV

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute discovered a new protein in the deep-sea coral that can prevent HIV entry into cells of the T-cells that regulate the immune system. This new protein belongs to a class called cnidarins found on coral hairy sea off the coast of northern Australia.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research have discovered that a group of proteins found in the coral reef may be capable of blocking HIV. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1iQ8zYX)
The researchers said that, if these proteins can be adapted for use in the form of lubricants and gels, then this could be the prevention of HIV infection. "It's always thrilling when you discover a new protein that other people have never seen before and the facts of this protein appears to block HIV infection - in an entirely new way - makes it really interesting," said Dr. Barry O'Keefe, a senior researcher of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as reported by Science World Report.

Meanwhile, Dr. Koreen Ramessar, the representative study researcher said that the cnidarins can block HIV without making the virus resistant to other HIV drugs. This makes it ideal cnidarins if included in an anti-HIV microbicide for urgent needs. The researchers found these proteins when investigating thousands of natural product extracts in a biological NCI repository.

After purifying these proteins, the research team tested on laboratory strains of HIV. From the test results, they found at concentrations as low as a billionth of a gram, protein can block the transmission of HIV and prevent transmission of the virus to penetrate the T cells in the immune system. They say, cnidarins appears to bind to the virus and stop it.

"It's really different from what we have seen from other proteins, so we thought cnidarin protein has a unique mechanism," said Dr. Ramessar. Based on these findings, the research team plans to develop ways to produce this protein in a larger amount so that it can be tested more widely. They are also trying to find the side effects or the possibility of protein cnidarin work against other viruses.

Dr. O'Keefe hopes news of discoveries like this will encourage more scientists to use the repository. This research was presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego on April 29, 2014. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENCE WORLD REPORT]
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