According to a publication of the “Science Express“, Chinese and American researchers have determined the high-resolution atomic structure of a cell-surface receptor that most strains of HIV use to get into human immune cells.
The scientists also found where Maraviroc, an HIV drug, attaches to cells and blocks HIV’s entry.
“These structural details should help us understand more precisely how HIV infects cells, and how we can do better at blocking that process with next-generation drugs,” said Beili Wu, PhD, professor at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM).
The CCR5 receptor is one of the most sought-after targets for new anti-HIV drugs. Although the AIDS-causing virus was initially discovered to infect cells via another receptor, CD4, researchers found in 1996 that HIV infection also requires a co-receptor—usually CCR5, which sits alongside CD4 on a variety of immune cells.