Scientists discovered importance of Interleukin-21 protein in fight against HIV-1 infection

Jul 3, 2015 09:00 IST

Scientists discovered that the Interleukin-21 (IL-21) protein plays an important role in limiting replication of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) in infected humans.

The discovery was published in an article titled IL-21 induces antiviral microRNA-29 in CD4 T cells to limit HIV-1 infection on 25 June 2015 in the Nature Communications journal. The study was spearhead by Stanley Adoro , a postdoctoral associate at the Cornell Medical College in New York, USA.

In the study, scientists discovered that the IL-21 protein, produced by the CD4+T cells, plays an important role by activating microRNA-29 in other CD4 T cells that specialise in killing HIV-1 virus and drive the production of antibodies that attack the virus.

Scientists arrived at this conclusion after experimenting with two models.

In Model 1, a culture from human tissues, primarily spleen and lymph node tissue, was created and exposed to IL-21. Later, HIV-1 was introduced to the culture. After 72 hours, it was found that cultures with IL-21 contained more than two-thirds less virus than those that didn't contain IL-21.

In Model 2, IL-21 was tested in mice that are transplanted with human stem cells in order to create a physiological environment as close as possible to that in human beings. After 14 days, it was found that more than half of the mice with IL-21 did not display a detectable level of HIV-1 as against the growth of virus in normal mice.

Importance of the study

The study assumes significance due to the fact that curtailing the spread of the HIV-1 virus in its early stage of infection is the key to successful implementation of anti-HIV strategies.

Now, it is possible to find a new potential HIV therapy by increasing the IL-21 protein count that are naturally produced by the CD4+T cells as soon as they detect HIV-1 virus.

Now get latest Current Affairs on mobile, Download # 1 Current Affairs App

Is this article important for exams ? Yes15 People Agreed

Register to get FREE updates

    All Fields Mandatory
  • (Ex:9123456789)
  • Please Select Your Interest
  • Please specify

  • ajax-loader
  • A verifcation code has been sent to
    your mobile number

    Please enter the verification code below

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK