BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Can Cats Help Fight AIDS?

Cat

Cats can in fact, unfortunately, get AIDS as well.  Their version of the HIV virus, FIV, is quite similar to the HIV virus. FIV and HIV are the same shape and have the same contents. This new discovery in cats may lead to new discoveries with anti-HIV drugs.

In an article titled “Cats lend a helping paw in search for anti-HIV drugs”, the American Technion Society explains how studying FIV can help scientists discover anti-HIV drugs. FIV and HIV use a protein, integrase, which puts the virus’ DNA into an infected cell’s DNA. Scientists and Professors can now study the Feline FIV virus and its interactions with integrase within cats to figure out important reasons how this deadly protein works. Through studying FIV and integrase, an amino acid change was found that tells us how integrase builds in its primary stages. Now those scientists know about this early assembly process, and can further learn how to terminate this process all together. About 40-45% of the proteins on the amino acid level are the same between FIV and HIV, allowing them to use this discovery on the human counterpart.

The feline virus, FIV, is a lot easier to study and researchers have already found a simpler form (than its HIV counterpart). By studying their 3-D model, they found that integrase’s simple and complex backbones are almost identical. These near identical backbones allow a much easier research path in FIV that will assist similarly with HIV integrase research.

HIV_attachment

 

Image of HIV Virus working

 

FIV and HIV are almost the same in how they work, but the more simple research on the feline version of the virus and integrase will greatly help the fight against AIDS. Who would’ve thought that cats could help fight such a deadly virus?!

 

More Information:

https://www.scripps.edu/newsandviews/e_20030414/elder.html

 

Pics:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cat_Cute.JPG

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCR5_receptor_antagonist#mediaviewer/File:HIV_attachment.gif

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2 Comments

  1. Hannah

    New technology to genetically engineer cats could lead to new treatment for feline AIDS. Previously, the only way to genetically engineer cats was through cloning, a highly inefficient process that often results in deformed animals.

    Reference: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/425399/fluorescent-cats-to-help-fight-aids/
    http://www.alfa-chemistry.com/services/discovery-services.html

  2. Antibody

    I have to say you have made a great point with an unique perspective. I think it’s reasonable. Actually, I have read a page on the site which indicates that dogs can smell cancer. Biotechnology is mysterious. But nowadays new HIV antibody might be helpful in helping fight AIDS.
    http://www.creative-biolabs.com/blog/index.php/new-and-efficient-hiv-antibody/

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