HIV antibody duds explained

Researchers may have finally answered the question of why many antibodies that target the HIV envelope are still unable to stop the virus from spreading -- a troublesome stumbling block in the protracted search for an effective vaccine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDSlight variations in how those antibodies interact with their target on the HIV envelope cause conformational changes in the target molecule that render the antibodies ineffective, according to a study p

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Nov 18, 2009
Researchers may have finally answered the question of why many antibodies that target the HIV envelope are still unable to stop the virus from spreading -- a troublesome stumbling block in the protracted search for an effective vaccine.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Image: Wikimedia commons,
NIAID
Slight variations in how those antibodies interact with their target on the HIV envelope cause conformational changes in the target molecule that render the antibodies ineffective, according to a study published this week in Science. This research "helps us to understand the molecular level details of [how certain antibodies bind] with better clarity than before," said viral immunologist linkurl:David Montefiore;http://humanvaccine.duke.edu/modules/montefiori/index.php?id=1 of Duke University, who was not involved in the work. "Understanding the atomic level [detail] that they [describe] here is very helpful for designing immunogens to elicit the right kinds of antibodies we want vaccines to elicit." In the hunt for an effective HIV...




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