Cats lend a helping paw in search for anti-HIV drugs - (Science Daily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • A paper published in Cell Structure shows a detailed, 3-D molecular map of FIV integrase that could help scientists understand how this protein works in HIV, Science Daily reported Tuesday.
  • A single amino acid change was detected that seems to be critical in highlighting how the protein assembles itself from simpler building blocks.
  • Researcher Akram Alian noted that "designing drugs which target such specific hot spots may be easier than targeting the entire protein-protein interacting interface."
  • Further, a mutation in a single amino acid was found to convert the integrase from the more complex to the simpler form, and that amino acid may act as a crucial hinge point, connecting two molecular subunits and allowing them to pivot about in the protein's fully active core.
  • "Highlighting the hinge...is an important observation that should be considered in the future design of integrase drugs," Alian said.

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