A research group at RIKEN and Kumamoto University has succeeded in elucidating a new mechanism by which the virus that causes AIDS spreads from cell to cell.It may lead to the development of new AIDS treatments that are completely different from conventional anti-AIDS drugs.

 AIDS is a disease in which immune cells become dysfunctional when infected with the HIV-1 virus.As the infection spreads among these cells, the immune system eventually fails.Until now, it has been thought that the spread of infection is due to the release of the virus that has propagated inside the cell to the outside of the cell.However, in recent years, it has been pointed out that cells may come into direct contact with each other for direct infection.Once the virus has escaped from the cells, it can be incapacitated before infection, but if it becomes infected by contact between cells, new means must be considered.

 The duct that penetrates the cell membrane is thought to be the cause of infection by contact.By temporarily connecting these tubes, cells exchange substances necessary for their activities.But at the same time, it also transfers the virus.When we investigated how much contact transmission through this tube affected the spread of the infection, we found that about half of the spread was contact transmission.In addition, a closer look at immune cells infected with the HIV-1 virus revealed that the virus promoted tube formation.We also found that the protein M-Sec possessed by immune cells reacts with the protein Nef possessed by the virus to promote the formation of tubes.

 This paved the way for a new treatment method that suppresses the function of M-Sec possessed by immune cells, inhibits the formation of tubes, and prevents the spread of infection.Until now, treatments targeting viruses have been the main focus, but in the future, creating an environment in which viruses cannot be transmitted by acting on the body may be the key to treatment.

Kumamoto University

Search for truth and newness.Kumamoto University aims to be a "True Global University"

Kumamoto University, which has a long history and tradition of more than 130 years, has set "Human resources development that can" Global Thinking and Local Action "by inheriting the spirit of Tsuyoshi Kiyoshi since the old system of Goko" in its educational strategy.A new creative "knowledge" was born and raised for a bright future, any [...]

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