DNA Mutation May Provide HIV Defense


LOS ANGELES - Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles report finding a genetic defense mechanism in monkeys that may prevent illness caused by AIDS infection.

The natural substance found in the bone marrow of rhesus monkeys is called retrocyclin. The researchers have found that the substance probably was produced by humans thousands of years ago, but the gene has since mutated. Humans do have a variety of these "defensins," that naturally protect the body from a variety of viruses and bacteria. However, any natural defense against AIDS that is present in monkeys has since mutated in humans.

The defense found in these rhesus monkeys, called RD-1, may be responsible for protecting the animals from illness after they are exposed to the AIDS virus. After a closer look at the genetic makeup of RD-1, the team found a similar pattern 90 percent identical in humans. They took this gene sequence and patterned it to resemble RTD-1 by manipulating the code, bending it into a circle and then folding the circle of genes. The result may be the human defensin that mutated eons ago.

The scientists then took this altered sequence and added it to a laboratory dish of HIV cells. They report the virus was inhibited.

Related Videos
Medical investigators going over data. (AdobeStock 589197902 by Wasan)
CDC logo is seen on a laptop. (Adobe Stock 428450603 by monticellllo)
Association for the Health Care Environment (Logo used with permission)
Ambassador Deborah Birx, , speaks with Infection Control Today about masks in schools and the newest variant.
mRNA technology  (Adobe Stock 485886181 by kaptn)
Ambassador Deborah Birx, MD
Woman lying in hospital bed (Adobe Stock, unknown)
Photo of a model operating room. (Photo courtesy of Indigo-Clean and Kenall Manufacturing)
GIANTmicrobes at the 2023 APIC Annual Conference and Exhibition.  (Photo by the author)
Related Content