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Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have discovered a long-sought cellular factor that works to inhibit HIV infection of myeloid cells, a subset of white blood cells that display antigens and hence are important for the body's immune response against viruses and other pathogens.
SAMHD1 factor, researchers have found, can also sense and interfere with infection of myeloid cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, with HIV-1 and related immunodeficiency viruses. As such, SAMHD1 prevents the synthesis of virus copies in these cells, according to research led by Jacek Skowronski, PhD, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology and member of the Center for AIDS Research at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"The identification of SAMHD1 and its function may help to explain why some infected individuals can control HIV infection better than others," Dr. Skowronski says. "Ultimately, it could also provide a basis for conceiving of new therapies and treatment approaches to block HIV infection and/or its replication in infected individuals, and to stimulate body's own immune response to HIV."