HIV Tamed By Designer ‘Leash’

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This thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicted the ultrastructural details of a number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virus particles, or virions.

Researchers have shown how an antiviral protein produced by the immune system, dubbed tetherin, tames HIV and other viruses by literally putting them on a leash, to prevent their escape from infected cells. The insights, reported in the October 30th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, allowed the research team to design a completely artificial protein — one that did not resemble native tetherin in its sequence at all — that could nonetheless put a similar stop to the virus.

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