American geneticists have learned to remove the DNA fragments from the human immunodeficiency virus DNA with the help of a “point” of the genome editing CRISPR / CAS, which was originally used by bacteria to protect against retroviruses, HIV related. This paves the way for the creation of a fundamentally new vaccine against the disease said in an article published in the journal Nature Communications.
“The main advantage of this technology is not only that we can destroy the viral DNA integrates itself into our genome, but also that it can be used for HIV prevention. Destroying the virus at the earliest stages of its life cycle, we can completely prevent infection of cells in about the same manner as conventional vaccines work, “- said Juan Belomonte (Juan Belomonte) of the Salk Institute in La Jolla (USA).
Belmonte and his colleagues have made a big step towards creating a “genetic” vaccine against HIV, experimenting with the newly established system of CRISPR / CAS, which allows you to arbitrarily remove and replace individual genes and DNA fragments.
We can say that this use is a kind of “return to roots” for this system – it was originally developed by the bacteria hundreds of millions of years ago, it was to protect against retroviruses, and only in 2012, Zhang Feng (Feng Zhang) and his colleagues have adapted it to change genome of multicellular creatures.
Belmonte Group analyzed the structure of the viral DNA and produced a set of special tags in the form of short RNA molecules that cling to the genetic code of the virus and marks it as those fragments of the genome that CRISPR / CAS should have been removed. Both these tags and modify the system genome researchers tested on lymphocytes and other immune cells that have been infected with HIV.
Experiments have shown that even the first version of the RNA markers was quite successful – she cleared about 72% of the cells of all traces of the virus. According to scientists, it did well not only with recently they enter the cell HIV, but also with a deeply held his “sleeping” copies of the virus.
CRISPR / CAS is best manifested itself as a means to prevent the disease – all immune cells pre-treated RNA molecules’ genetic editor “to completely avoid an infection.
Today, Belmonte and his colleagues are working on a few new sets of RNA markers that will cover more types of HIV in the long term will destroy all copies of the virus particle and in human DNA, thus preventing its further evolution and mutations. While biologists do not know whether HIV adapt to the CRISPR / CAS and how long will it take this process, because of what they are working on maximizing the effectiveness of such a vaccine to prevent this outcome.
Recently, American researchers presented a new drug against HIV infection. It blocks the two receptors located on the surface of the virus, expense which it penetrates into the cells of the immune system.
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