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Engineered protein-like molecule protects cells against HIV infection

In a fundamental study of how to control protein shape, a UW-Madison research team has created a set of peptide-like molecules that successfully blocked HIV infection of human cells in laboratory experiments.

"By interacting with a piece of a crucial HIV protein called gp41, the synthetic molecules physically prevent the virus from infecting host cells.

The idea shows promise as a new avenue for targeting other unwanted protein interactions as well, says Samuel Gellman, a chemistry professor at UW-Madison. The work, performed with a group led by John Moore and Min Lu at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, is described in a paper appearing online this week (Aug. 17) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."


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