Medical News

Researchers Further Quest to Infect Mice With HIV

July 2, 2003

This article is part of The Body PRO's archive. Because it contains information that may no longer be accurate, this article should only be considered a historical document.

Researchers report progress in their quest to infect mice with HIV -- a development that would enable more widespread use of the common laboratory animal in studying the virus. The incremental step is the latest in a decade-long effort to infect mice with HIV, and researchers hinted that further breakthroughs are expected in coming weeks.

While mice are the laboratory animal of choice for studying many diseases, researchers largely have had to rely on chimpanzees and gibbons for work on HIV/AIDS. Mice susceptible to HIV could speed laboratory research into HIV, as well as the testing of potential vaccines and drugs.

Some mice, genetically modified so their own immune systems have been replaced with human equivalents, can be infected with HIV. However, the virus only replicates in the "human" cells within the mouse. Otherwise in mice, HIV's replication is blocked at several points, stymieing efforts to render the animal susceptible to the virus.

Previous work has overcome the barrier that blocked HIV's entry into mouse cells. The new work showed success in modifying mouse cells in a way that allows HIV-1 to replicate, although not at the same levels seen in humans, coauthor Yong-Hui Zheng said. Additional blocks to replication still exist, he said.

Harris Goldstein, director of the Center for AIDS Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the study lays out the structural basis for one of the blocks that prevent efficient HIV-1 replication. Goldstein was not connected with the study. Salk Institute associate professor Nathaniel Landau, also not connected to the study, stressed the new research "will not solve the problem. It is maybe a step along the way."

The full study "Human p32 Protein Relieves a Post-Transcriptional Block on HIV Replication in Murine Cells," is published in the July issue of Nature Cell Biology (2003;5:611-618).

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
06.29.03; Andrew Bridges

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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