Sunday, November 10, 2013

Close-up of virus could ease HIV vaccine research

News Brief by Kathryn Gibb

After a recent discovery made by researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, we are one step closer to an HIV vaccine. In an article published Thursday in the journal Science, the researchers described their discovery as being able to see molecular images of the shape-shifting envelope trimer protein. Through the use of advanced electron microscopes and other processes to isolate the protein, the scientists were able to capture images of how the protein fuses to a host cell. The significance of seeing this protein is that it will help vaccine developers determine which part of the protein antibodies can recognize. This area would be the virus’ weakest spot, and therefore knowing its location is crucial to developers of a vaccine. Previous researchers were unable to stabilize and isolate the protein. The researchers of the discovery, led primarily by John P. Moore of Weill Cornell Medical College and Scripps biologist Ian A. Wilson, have been working on this for years.  

Reference: Mohan, Geoffrey. "Close-up of Virus Could Ease HIV Vaccine Research." LA Times. N.p., 31 Oct. 2013. Web. .
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