December 16, 2015
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have identified a new life cycle stage in HIV infection, thanks to a novel technique they developed to take images of intact infected cells. They've shown that this phase of infection, dubbed intra-nuclear migration, by principal investigator Abraham L. Brass, MD, PhD, relies on the human protein CPSF6 to guide the virus through the host cell's nucleus and position it at active genes where it prefers to make its home. Details of HIV's intra-nuclear migration and the imaging techniques used to find it were published in Cell Reports.
"This study reveals an important stage and mechanism in HIV infection that was previously unappreciated," says Brass, assistant professor of microbiology & physiological systems. "It's important to know more about these early infection events so we can come up with ways to stop the virus from becoming part of our DNA and infecting us for life."