Hidden HIV Revealed: New Insights Into Latent HIV Infections
Thanks to modern therapies, HIV infections have become controllable – but these treatments cannot provide a cure. Antiretroviral therapies do indeed manage to keep the number of HI-virus particles in the blood of those infected so low that the outbreak of AIDS is prevented. But the virus cannot be removed entirely. Because it is a master at hiding.
Cellular Hiding Place
One hiding place of the virus that is known are special immune cells called macrophages. The virus can survive inside these cells – beyond the reach of drugs. A team led by Regina Grillari from the Department for Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, has found out how the virus can also manipulate the cells to make them more stress-resistant and longer-living. The main focus of the project lay on the enzyme, telomerase, which is active when cells divide and prevents chromosome shortening. Little has been known until now about its activity in cells which, like macrophages, do not divide. The results presented by Grillari were all the more astonishing, as she explains. "We were able to show that the HIV virus induces telomerase activity in macrophages. This was surprising to the extent that the enzyme's known function was connected to cell division which in this case doesn't even take place."
A further result showed that telomerase in macrophages does not even pursue its real function – that of lengthening chromosomes – in spite of activation by the HI-virus. Another experiment then supplied clear indications of the role played in this case by telomerase in infected cells. To do so, the reactions of infected and non-infected macrophages to so-called oxidative stress were investigated; oxidative stress is also increased by HIV infections. Results showed that infected cells are able to cope with this stress much better than non-infected ones – and that this is connected to telomerase activation.
As Grillari explains: "It seems that the hidden virus particles make their host cells more stress-resistant through telomerase activation, thereby securing their own survival in the long term. A sensible strategy from the perspective of the virus."
In another part of the project, so-called elite patients were examined. Although these patients are infected with HIV, their bodies manage to so heavily restrict replication of the virus that they can live free of symptoms for years with no therapy. While it is not known how this happens, there are indications that special RNAs (miRNAs) play a role here. Grillari and her team analyzed whether there were differences in the types and frequency of miRNAs circulating in the blood between infected elite patients, "normally" infected and healthy persons. Three different types were indeed identified which occurred in markedly different concentration in the plasma of elite patients than in the other groups. Grillari comments: "In future we could use them as biomarkers in order to determine whether people infected are in the elite category or not, and thereby to tailor a therapy to their particular status." The study also succeeded in showing that two of the miRNAs restrict the replication of the virus under laboratory conditions – which means that they could certainly be interesting for new therapeutic approaches.
Altogether in this FWF project, Grillari's team succeeded in identifying molecular mechanisms which the HI-virus uses to make macrophages more resistant, thus reprogramming them to become an ideal virus reservoir. At the same time, starting points were found from which it may be possible to combat this reservoir formation with miRNAs.
FWF Austrian Science Fund
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.
The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.
Prof. Regina Grillari
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Institute for Biotechnology
1190 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 47 654 - 79065, 79066
Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Haus der Forschung
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
Copy Editing & Distribution:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release Hidden HIV Revealed: New Insights Into Latent HIV Infections here
News-ID: 367330 • Views: 357
More Releases from FWF - Austrian Science Fund
While fear and aggression tend to curb our appetite, sadness and frustration seem to stimulate it. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF looks into the connections between mood and overeating in healthy and bulimic individuals. We know how it feels to look forward to our favourite dish; we are familiar with the notions of comfort food and feeling butterflies in the stomach instead of hunger. In eating
Neurosciences: a stress test for men and women
Whilst it is true that women and men respond differently to stress, current neuroscientific research only partially confirms traditional gender stereotypes. Other factors heavily contribute to the stress response such as self-esteem, hormones and stress regulation, as has been demonstrated by a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. How people react to stress is subjective. Gender also plays a fundamental role. Scientific studies have shown that the stress
Researching the grammar of sign language
Like spoken language, sign language has a complex and differentiated structure. One just has to be able to discern and interpret it. With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a research team from Klagenfurt is working on the elements of a grammar of sign language. It is language that distinguishes Homo sapiens from animals. A complex system in which smaller units combine into larger units, into sentences, into statements.
Using mathematics to hunt for computer errors
Improving the security of computer software and hardware requires mathematical analytic methods. Thanks to research by a team of computer scientists led by Krishnendu Chatterjee in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, these methods will work significantly faster in the future. Security gap in application discovered, update urgently recommended. Alerts like that can confront us every week. Often, a comprehensive update that addresses teething troubles is already
More Releases for Austria
The Baby Food Market in Austria 2017
ReportsWeb.com published “The Baby Food” from its database. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. "The Baby Food Market in Austria 2017", is an analytical report by Publisher which provides extensive and highly detailed current and future market trends in the Austrian market. Austrian baby food market has been stimulated by
Agrochemicals Market in Austria
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021) to its growing collection of premium market research reports. The report “Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021)” provides market intelligence on the different market segments, based on type, active ingredient, formulation, crop, and pest. Market size and forecast (2016-2021) has been provided in terms of both, value (000 USD) and volume (000 KG) in the report. A
Nazi psychology in Austria
The history of academic psychology after the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, and its role as a discipline used in National Socialist policies is being examined systematically for the first time in a research project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. "It is a sad fact”, says psychologist Gerhard Benetka from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna "that applied psychology flourished during the National Socialist era
Messer consolidates market position in Austria
On 2 May 2011, Messer Austria acquired the gas business of Sapio Gase GmbH. Messer Austria, the Austrian subsidiary of Messer, the largest privately run specialist for industrial gases, intends to consolidate its market position in Upper Austria through its purchase of the gas business of Sapio Gase GmbH. The transaction was completed on 2 May 2011. Sapio Gase, a subsidiary of SAPIO, an Italian company, has a strong presence in
Creative Austria meets creative Russia
Euroforum: communicatin ready for the next lap Vienna. On 22nd of October 2009 the advertising association Vienna invites again to the annual Euroforum: communication event, platform for European communication, guaranteeing an interesting mix of “connecting businesses and communications”. The Event takes place in Studio 44, Vienna. Focus point Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sotschi) The main goal of the Euroforum is to promote and establish business relations and synergies between
Archaeological Sensation in Austria
Scientists from the University of Vienna unearth the earliest evidence of Jewish inhabitants in Austria Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child's grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of