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About cats, viruses and the fight against AIDS

A XNUMXD look into the feline AIDS virus may lead to the development of new anti-HIV drugs

Cats (healthy). Illustration: shutterstock
cats (healthy). Illustration: shutterstock

If you haven't had the chance to take a cat to the vet recently, you may not know that cats can also get AIDS. The feline virus FIV, which causes the disease in cats, is very similar to HIV. Technion researchers believe that this fact may help in the development of new drugs against HIV.

How can the cat help in the fight against AIDS? Both viruses, FIV and HIV, depend on a protein called integrase that inserts the DNA of the virus into the DNA of an infected cell. Associate Professor Akram Alian and PhD student Mital Galili from the Faculty of Biology at the Technion found a weak point in this protein that may be used by drug developers.

In a recently published online article in Cell Structure, the two researchers present a detailed XNUMXD molecular map of the FIV integrase protein, which may help understand how this protein works in HIV.

Among other things, the researchers located a specific change in an amino acid, which may shed light on how the protein assembles itself from simpler building blocks - a process that anti-HIV drug developers seek to prevent. "It's likely," said Alian, "that it's easier to design drugs that focus on those specific points than drugs that treat the entire interaction interface between proteins."

The three-dimensional structure of the complex molecular core of HIV integrase has already been identified before, but in FIV, Alian and Galili were able to map the structure in a simpler way. They found that a single amino acid mutation can convert the integrase protein from its more complex form to its simpler form in FIV. In fact, that single amino acid can act as a critical "pivot" point that connects two molecular subunits and allows them to pivot within the fully active protein core. "The emphasis of the axis is an important discovery that must be taken into account in the future planning of integrase drugs," said Elian.

An in-depth examination of the crystal structure of the FIV integrase core also revealed that the "backbone" of the simple form is almost identical to that of the complex form. This fact may make it easier for the scientists by allowing them to study the simpler form in the laboratory, knowing that some of their findings will also be valid for the more complex core of the HIV integrase protein.

In their next studies, Galili and Alian hope to focus on how the FIV virus might evolve over time, to continue replicating itself in response to a mutation like the one that created the simple integrase core. "This research will allow us to predict the development of new virus strains, which 'seek' to escape the impact of future drugs or develop resistance to them."

4 תגובות

  1. Cats have a number of viruses, some known and some unknown, which, like AIDS, from the moment the cat is infected, it destroys it in a slow and cruel process
    These viruses have nothing to do with the AIDS virus and there are not even laboratory tests that allow their identification

  2. It is necessary to check whether AIDS drugs prevent Alzheimer's, in addition it is necessary to check whether reparacetamine prevents Alzheimer's (reprecetamin is found in the Passover Islands, and it is anti-inflammatory, and prolongs life)

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