Clever research work much needed to out-wit HIV-1

It’s hard to trip up a virus as smart as HIV-1, but this group reports a chink in its armour. Viruses commonly mask from immune surveillance critical components of the apparatus they use for cell entry. However, HIV-1 doesn’t quite succeed, leaving a small amino acid sequence exposed in a fusion peptide forming part of its envelope’s gp41 subunit. A rare antibody from an infected individual binds to the amino acid sequence and a sugar molecule in another subunit to interfere with the cell entry process. These findings could inform vaccine design.

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