HIV or Human immunodeficiency virus is a topic that I have blogged multiple times. Every week I see so many publications about HIV. It is one of the absolutely highly researched topics in infectious diseases and yet we neither have a cure nor have a vaccine. Retroviruses in comparison to other groups of viruses have one special property. They are made up of RNA, gets converted to DNA and then integrate with the genome. But what is special to HIV is the way it does it. Simple lentiviral members like MLV (Murine Leukemia Virus) rely on cell division process to integrate their genome to the host. During the cell division process, the nucleus opens and virus gains entrance to the nuclear material. But HIV simply makes its way in through nuclear transport.
|Fig 1: HIV Life Cycle.|
|Fig 2: Structure of Nuclear Pore.|
Let me digress a little bit. The nucleus of a cell is not accessible to chemicals for direct communication. The Nucleus is well guarded and specific channels are provided in the membrane called as Pores. The nuclear pore is a protein-lined channel in the nuclear envelope that regulates the transportation of molecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm.
|Fig 3: Model of KIF5B mediated|
nuclear import of HIV-1. Source
Based on the study it has been suggested that blocking KIF5B-HIV interaction should be able to block the nuclear import and thus give more time for the cell to sense and develop a response. As one of the author states, "It's like making a bank vault harder to break into. In addition to making the money more secure, it would increase the chance of sounding the alarm and catching the burglars."