Emory Report
June 9, 2008
Volume 60, Number 32



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June 9, 2008
Protein provides innate defense against HIV

By Holly Korschun

Finding a protein that is able to stop the HIV-1 virus from releasing into cells may bring scientists closer to finding new approaches to treatment.

Most human cells contain a factor that regulates the release of virus particles, but until now scientists haven’t known what it was.

Now researchers from Emory, Vanderbilt and Mayo Medical School have identified CAML (calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand) as the protein that allows cells to keep HIV particles hanging on the cell membrane. However, CAML’s protective ability is counteracted by the viral protein Vpu.

“This research is important because it identifies CAML as an innate defense mechanism against HIV,” says senior author Paul Spearman, an Emory pediatric infectious disease specialist. He and his colleagues are continuing to study how CAML and Vpu interact, and they hope to use this knowledge to develop new therapies.

The research was published online in the journal Nature Medicine.