What Monkey Evolution Could Teach Us About Immunity from HIV

As if any sane, thinking person really needed another reason to believe in evolution: this is the most exciting thing I’ve read about HIV research in a long time.

A gene, TRIM5, that provides immunity to retroviruses has been identified in two different primates on opposite ends of the world. Pigtail macaques live primarily in Southeast Asia, owl monkeys only in Central and South America.

Here’s an excerpt:

First, they determined that pigtail macaque cells could fight off other retroviruses, such as the simian and feline relatives of HIV. Then, Bieniasz and Hatziioannou added cyclosporin, a drug that interacts with cyclophilin, to the equation and looked to see whether it affected the pigtail cells’ viral interactions. (The drug is known to overcome the ability of owl-monkey TRIMcyp to fight off the virus.) Sure enough, cyclosporin affected their capacity to fight off the simian and feline retroviruses. “That suggested to us that there was, perhaps, a protein like the owl-monkey TRIMcyp in these monkeys,” Hatziioannou says.

The researchers isolated the pigtail macaques’ TRIM5 gene and found that, like the owl monkeys, the pigtails also had cyclophilin inserted into their TRIM5 gene, though it was found at a slightly different location. Not only that, but there’s a single amino acid change in the pigtail cyclophilin, a tiny modification that appears to dictate whether or not the monkeys can inhibit HIV.

Here’s the link:

Reuters (2008, March 5). Understanding Primate Evolution Could Aid HIV Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080302163549.htm
or email me at lovesickbilly@mac.com

1 Response to “What Monkey Evolution Could Teach Us About Immunity from HIV”

  1. Friday, March 7, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    cool, now if they can turn that information into a way to cure HIV…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Billy’s Sorted Past

Technorati Authority

In you I find proof...

  • 558,092

%d bloggers like this: