Researchers have identified a protein that causes loss of function in immune cells combating HIV. The scientists report in a paper appearing online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that the protein, Sprouty-2, is a promising target for future HIV drug development, since disabling it could help restore the cells’ ability to combat the virus that causes AIDS.
“A large part of the reason we lose wars against viruses that cause chronic infection is that immune cells called T cells get turned off,” says Jonathan Schneck, a professor of pathology in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, who led the study. “We’ve been trying for some time to find out why that is, and in our study we were able to identify a family of proteins called Sprouty, specifically Sprouty-2, as a culprit.”
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