Research group AMC has discovered a protein that can prevent HIV infection

13 December 2016

An AMC research group led by a member of SHM’s advisory board, Professor Theo Geijtenbeek, has discovered a protein that can prevent HIV infection. This discovery could eventually lead to a new form of treatment for HIV. According to the research published last week in Nature, the protein, known as TRIM5alpha and situated in a type of skin cell called Langerhans cells, helps restrict HIV-1 transmission in both heterosexual and homosexual contact. Professor Geijtenbeek and lead author Carla Ribeiro have discovered that TRIM5alpha destroys the HIV virus through a process known as autophagy. Autophagy was the subject of the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year, and the AMC researchers have now demonstrated that autophagy is also effective against HIV. In the article, the researchers report being able to activate the process in other cells, rendering them resistant to HIV. However, they emphasise that more work is needed before a therapeutic interventions can be developed.  The full article is available on line at: