An international study headed by a UC Davis scientist describes how a component of a potential HIV vaccine opens like a flower, undergoing one of the most dramatic protein rearrangements yet observed in nature. The finding could reveal new targets for vaccines to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. A paper describing the work was published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the new study, researchers from the U.S., Sweden and France explored the structure and behavior of the HIV envelope protein complex, which could potentially serve as a component of a vaccine aimed at eliciting the human immune system to generate antibodies against HIV.
“By opening up these less exposed regions, we might be able to raise more broadly cross-reactive antibodies to HIV,” said R. Holland Cheng, professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis and senior author of the study.