…and finding a resistance biomarker?

While researchers in Boston are haplotyping people who appear resistant to HIV infection, scientists at the University of Manitoba

Randall C Willis
TORONTO—While researchers in Boston are haplotyping people who appear resistant to HIV infection, scientists at the University of Manitoba are scanning Nairobi sex workers for proteomic biomarkers that might be linked to the same phenomenon. At the XVI International AIDS Conference, Shezhad Iqbal described how his lab used Ciphergen's SELDI-TOF MS system to identify proteins in cervical lavages, looking for a correlation between expression levels and HIV susceptibility or resistance.
 
The researchers quickly identified Trappin-2, a 6-kDa protein that appeared to be overexpressed in HIV resistant women, as confirmed by ELISA. They then tested to see whether trappin-2 could inhibit HIV infection in vitro by preincubating cells with the protein before challenging the cells with HIV. They found that while brief pre-exposure reduced infection rates slightly, prolonged exposure resulted in significant decreases in infection rates in vitro.
 
Iqbal said that the group still has much work ahead of them to understand the activity of the protein and how best to utilize these results in the development of microbicidal therapeutics.
 
(Note: As we go to press, Ciphergen's SELDI platform has been acquired by Bio-Rad. Look to the next issue of Drug Discovery News for details on the deal.)

Randall C Willis

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