By Tom Rickey
The researchers—from the University of Rochester, New York University, and several institutions in France—hope the work will one day lead to a way to make anti-HIV drugs more effective by increasing their potency against the virus.
They are also excited about its implications for our knowledge of other pathogens, such as herpes viruses, which use the same machinery within our cells that HIV does to replicate.
“The findings may explain why certain anti-HIV drugs used today are more effective under some circumstances and not others,” says Baek Kim, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester and one of three corresponding authors of the paper.
“It also provides new insights on how many other viruses that afflict people operate in the body.”
The work, published in the journal Nature Immunology, centers on a protein known as SAMHD1, which is found in white blood cells known as macrophages and related cells known as dendritic cells.