Researchers Find Chink in HIV-1's Armor

The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. Viruses are evolutionary wiseguys; they have devised elaborate weapons that allow them to sneak past immune system defenses. But a team at King's College, London, has shown that in the case of HIV-1 infection, some human T cells are not completely vulnerable to an HIV-1 viral attack. Michael Malim and colleagues have found a human gene, CEM15, whose product

Nicole Johnston
Sep 1, 2002
The Faculty of 1000 is a
Web-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com.

Viruses are evolutionary wiseguys; they have devised elaborate weapons that allow them to sneak past immune system defenses. But a team at King's College, London, has shown that in the case of HIV-1 infection, some human T cells are not completely vulnerable to an HIV-1 viral attack. Michael Malim and colleagues have found a human gene, CEM15, whose product actually inhibits HIV-1 infection and may eventually provide a potential new target for drug therapy.1 Yet, the wiseguy mien has not completely disappeared: While the protein encoded by the newly discovered gene normally protects certain T cells against HIV-1 infection, its antithesis, Vif (viral infectivity factor), overcomes CEM15 and establishes the disease.

"This is the first intracellular gene product that I know of," says John Moore, professor of...