Scientists map 3-D structure of HIV

BY Mike Grippi

January 26 2006 12:00 AM ET

U.K. scientists
report that they’ve mapped the 3-D structure of HIV
for the first time, giving scientists a much better
understanding of which pieces of the virus are most
vulnerable to immune system attacks and antiretroviral
drugs, BBC News reports. Reporting in the January 10
edition of the journal Structure, the Oxford
University genetic researchers say they used computers to
assemble the 3-D image from more than 100 individual
images of 70 separate virus samples.

The images showed
that HIV’s core is cone-shaped and extends to the
very edges of the viral membrane. The membrane also
has several spikes along its surface that it uses to
attach itself to immune system cells.

The researchers
hope their findings will help scientists better
understand how HIV replicates and enable them to craft new
therapies to prevent cellular infection and shut down
viral replications in cells already containing the
virus. (Advocate.com)

Tags: Health

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