Switching On a Protein to Stop HIV

The protein rhesus TRIM5α potently blocks HIV-1 infection in monkeys, but human TRIM5α does not block HIV-1 infection in humans. Now, Felipe Diaz-Griffero, Ph.D., has discovered how to turn on human TRIM5α in human cells and found that it blocks HIV-1 replication.

In a study published online on March 17 in Cell Reports, Dr. Diaz-Griffero and his colleagues used the small molecule non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine to activate human TRIM5α, which then bound to HIV-1’s protein shell and potently blocked HIV-1 replication in human cells. Non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine is not toxic to human cells and could potentially be combined with other therapies to prevent HIV-1 from spreading to uninfected cells or even to eliminate the virus from infected patients.

Dr. Diaz-Griffero is professor of microbiology & immunology and the Elsie Wachtel Faculty Scholar at Einstein.

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