The National Institutes of Health has awarded a University of Minnesota researcher and others a five-year, $10 million grant to study a human protein that may hold the key to treat HIV and other viral diseases
Dr. Reuben Harris, professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences and a project leader, and other recipients will study a human protein — the so-called APOBEC3G. The goal of the study is to produce atomic-resolution images of the protein in order to better grasp how it interacts with other proteins in human cells and with HIV to prevent the virus from attaching to and entering cells.
“You have to understand the nuts and bolts of the system before you can make alterations to interfere with the process,” said Harris, an associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics, in a statement. “I’m very optimistic that this research will enable us to use this novel protein against HIV and other diseases.”
The U’s statement noted that focusing on a human protein represents a radically different approach from conventional efforts in treating viral diseases, which mainly focus on the virus than on the host.
Aside from Harris, Matsuo Hiroshi, associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences, and Joachim Mueller, associate professor in the College of Science and Engineering’s Department of Physics, will also play key roles. Roughly $5 million of the grant is expected to remain at the U.