New paradigm for HIV infection: BIG news

New research published today in the top journal, Cell, reveals a new pathway of HIV infection. The traditional, well known paradigm involving HIV fusion into the cell has been challenged in favor of endocytosis by the cell itself. This means normal cell processes are taking in the virus, at which point the virus proceeds to infect the cell by hijacking its machinery [i.e. the traditional pathway picks up].

The paper goes on to describe how the inhibition of certain enzymes disable prevent endocytosis and therefore HIV infection. The implications for drug development from this are huge, and has already revealed why some fusion inhibitors won’t work with this new paradigm.

As always, new developments in HIV/AIDS research remind our group not to get stuck in old paradigms when it comes to teaching how the virus works. It also shows us to receptive and considerate when the experiences of people who know AIDS patients don’t match our empirical knowledge, which we know is imperfect.

This is the link to the Nature news article is here:

And the paper is: Miyauchi, K. , Kim, Y. , Latinovic, O. , Morozov, V. & Melikyan, G. B. Cell 137, 433– 444 (2009).


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