Semen Enzyme
Speeds HIV Transmission

An enzyme in
human semen may be a catalyst to help HIV infect cells,
German researchers announced Thursday.

The enzyme,
prostatic acidic phosphatase, or PAP, is produced in the
prostate and can form fibers that are able to capture
particles of HIV, delivering it to other cells,
Reuters reports.

University Clinic
of Ulm researchers were analyzing ingredients in semen
that could block infection with HIV-1, the most common
strain of the virus. Instead, they found the enzyme,
which enhanced transmission as much as 50-fold in some
experiments. They are now looking for compounds to
block this process and slow transmission of the virus.

The fibers,
amyloid fibrils, are formed from different proteins that are
associated with other diseases like Alzheimer's and prion
disease, according to the article.

"Further studies
on the role of amyloids in the transmission and
pathogenesis of enveloped viruses are highly warranted,"
they wrote in the journal Cell. (The

Tags: Health, Health

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