TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Scientists discover potent antibody against HIV infection

University of Granada scientists recently discovered a novel allosteric interaction between a part of the sheath of the HIV virus and antibody 2F5, which may become the foundation for a series of vaccines against HIV.

The 2F5 antibody is potent against an epitope of the protein gp41, which composes some of the sheath of the HIV virus. The gp41 protein is responsible for fusing the cellular membranes to the HIV virus, but researchers found, through isothermic titration calorimetry, the 2F5 antibody fuses to the HIV virus, preventing it from fusing to the body's cells and thus protecting the person from HIV infection.

The research team, led by University of Granada Physical Chemistry Lecturer Francisco Conejero Lara, believes if the 2F5 antibody can be incorporated into an HIV vaccine, it may be effective in protecting against infection or treating HIV patients, including those with low-level infections.

This study was part of an initiative through the European collaboration consortium, which is financed through the 7th European Union Framework Programme, in an attempt to develop an effective vaccine against HIV. The consortium is formed through the collaboration of 16 European organizations, including businesses, universities, hospitals and research laboratories.

The University of Granada's Department of Physical Chemistry is the only Spanish group of researchers to belong to the consortium. The group, titled "Biophysics and Molecular Biology FQM-171," focuses its effort on researching the gp41 protein.