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Fri Nov 4, 2022, 01:47 PM

Scientists shine a spotlight on yet another shrewd maneuver HIV uses to commandeer human cells

More than 40 years into the HIV pandemic, scientists are still turning up clues revealing how the virus hijacks its host's cellular processes to support its own replication—and promote the long-term survival of the virus itself.

A new study, led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, has identified how an HIV protein called Nef activates enzyme activity in host cells necessary for the virus to replicate.

While it might seem that at least by now scientists would have unraveled the many mysteries underlying the HIV infection process, the new research is testimony to the complexity of a virus that has killed more than 40 million people since the early 1980s, and still eludes a cure.

"Viruses ensure successful replication, in part, by subverting host signaling pathways," writes Dr. Manish Aryal of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittburgh's School of Medicine. "The Nef protein produced by the viruses HIV-1 and SIV [simian immunodeficiency virus] drives efficient viral replication partially by inducing constitutive activation of host cell tyrosine kinases."


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