HIV virus found to possess hidden transport ability

Around one million individuals worldwide become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, each year. Research teams have discovered that the virus’s capsid has evolved into a molecular transporter, which allows it to directly breach a crucial barrier, normally protecting the cell nucleus against viral invaders. This smuggling method keeps the viral genome invisible to anti-viral sensors in the cytoplasm. The cell’s borders include nuclear pores that allow selected proteins to pass, controlled by importins and exportins. The HIV capsid can pass through these pores due to a sophisticated molecular adaptation, providing a mechanism for smuggling the virus’s genetic material. These discoveries could be exploited for improved AIDS therapies.

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