The purple represents the T-cell membrane, where HIV enters through multiple cell receptors   (Source:
T-cells are made resistant without any harmful effects to their activity or growth

An international team of researchers has found a new technique that is capable of making T-cells resistant to HIV in such a way that it does not place harm on the T-cells' activity or growth. 

Research for this study was conducted by Hideto Chono, study leader and creator of the new gene therapy tool, along with co-authors from Takara Bio Inc. in Otsu, Shiga, Japan; National Institute of Biomedical Innovation; Seoul National University and ViroMed Co. in Seoul, Korea, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey. 

To make this anti-HIV gene therapy technique, Chono and the team of researchers used a bacterial gene called mazF, which is an enzyme, or mRNA interferase, that prevents protein synthesis by destroying gene transcripts. MazF is transferred into CD4+ T-cells, and due to the design of the mazF gene therapy vector, HIV activates synthesis of the MazF protein. MazF blocks HIV replication when HIV infects these treated T-lymphocytes, which ultimately makes the T-cells resistant to the infection. 

"The potential of using vectors to express genes within a cell to block viral infection was first considered by David Baltimore in a strategy called 'intracellular immunization,'" said James M. Wilson, MD, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. "This study illustrates a unique way in which intracellular immunization can be achieved." 

This study, titled "Acquisition of HIV-1 Resistance in T Lymphocytes Using an ACA-Specific E. coli mRNA Interferase," was published in Human Gene Therapy.

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