Study IDs How T-Cells Block HIV

DURHAM, N.C., May 17 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they have discovered a new role for a host protein, providing more insight into how T cells work to control HIV and other infections.

The scientists from the Duke University Medical School and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine say their findings might lead to new strategies for the prevention or treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus.

The discovery centers around the anti-HIV function of a tiny protein called prothymosin-alpha. The researchers said their previous studies showed the protein can block HIV viral replication once HIV invades a cell, but until now, no one has understood exactly how that happened.

“But now we have a much clearer understanding of how this protein works,” said Dr. Mary Klotman of Duke University, the study’s senior author. She said the finding is another piece of the long-standing quest to define the natural substances made by specific immune cells that have potent anti-HIV activity.

Klotman, Mount Sinai Assistant Professors Arevik Mosoian and Avelino Teixeira, and colleagues Leif Sander, G. Luca Gusella, Cijiang He, Magarian Blander and Paul Klotman from Mount Sinai, along with Colin Burns of East Carolina University, report the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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