- February 06, 2016
Researchers at the Heinrich Pette Institute (HPI), Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology and the Medical Faculty of the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) succeeded in developing a designer recombinase (Brec1) that is capable of specifically removing the provirus from infected cells of most primary HIV-1 isolates. The results have been published in the Nature Biotechnology for which issue I designed the cover illustration.
My illustration shows a cross-section of an HIV-infected CD4-cell. The provirus integrated into the host genome is shown in cyan. The Brec1-recombinase is a dimer and shown in yellow. The two subunits of the recombinase recognize their target sequence in the long term repeats (LTRs, shown in blue) that flank the provirus. After binding, the two dimers form the active enzyme and cut out the provirus from the human host genome. The cut-out circular provirus will then degrade over time.