Scientists have cracked the elusive atomic structure of a key machinery that allows HIV to integrate into human host DNA and replicate in the body, an advance that may lead to the development of new drugs for the deadly virus. "We're particularly excited about the ability to understand and combat mechanisms of viral resistance," said Dmitry Lyumkis, from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in US. "HIV is a clever virus and has learned to evade even some of the best drugs on the market. Understanding the mechanisms of viral escape and developing more broadly applicable drugs will be a major direction in the future," Lyumkis said. Currently, a class of drugs called integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) targets the machinery, known as the "intasome," and are already approved to treat HIV in the US and Europe. Despite being some of the best drugs available, scientists have only gained a limited understanding of the precise mechanism of action of INSTIs, and how the virus
Salk Institute scientists have solved the atomic structure of a key piece of machinery that allows HIV to integrate into human host DNA and replicate in the body, which has eluded researchers for decades. The findings describing this machinery, known as the "intasome," appear January 6, 2017, in Science and yield structural clues informing the development of new HIV drugs.