MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Caltech researches new antibody strategy to fight HIV

New antibody strategy to fight off HIV | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
Caltech researchers recently discovered a specific, broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) that may change how antibodies are used to eliminate HIV.

BNAbs are proteins that are crucial to preventing HIV infections. They are detected in HIV patients’ blood samples, as their immune systems have learned to naturally maintain control over the viral infection.

Because of this, scientists have hypothesized that the bNAbs may help to protect the health cells against the infection by recognizing the envelope spike, which is on all HIV strains and stops the viral effects. BNAbs may see the protein in the envelope spike to stop the virus from spreading in a patient.

Caltech Centennial Professor of Biology Pamela Bjorkman conducted the majority of the work in her laboratory.

"In Pamela's lab we use X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy to study protein-protein interactions on a molecular level," Louise Scharf, a postdoctoral scholar in Bjorkman's laboratory and the first author on the paper, said. "We previously were able to define the binding site of this antibody on a sub-unit of the HIV envelope spike, so in this study we solved the three-dimensional structure of this antibody in complex with the entire spike, and showed in detail exactly how the antibody recognizes the virus."

Further details are available in the journal Cell.

Organizations in this story

California Institute of Technology 1200 E California Blvd Pasadena, 91125

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