Scientists Find HIV Receptor That Takes Virus to the Gut

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, reporting in the journal Nature Immunology, says he and a team have discovered a new HIV receptor that may help to develop additional therapies for the disease. The new receptor explains why HIV begins its attack on the immune system in the gut:

Hiv“Dr. Fauci, James Arthos, Claudia Cicala, Elena Martinelli and their colleagues showed that a molecule, integrin alpha-4 beta-7, which naturally directs immune cells to the gut, is also a receptor for H.I.V. A protein on the virus’s envelope, or outer shell, sticks to a molecule in the receptor that is linked specifically to the way CD4 cells home in on the gut, the researchers said. Binding of the virus to the integrin alpha-4 beta 7 molecule stimulates activation of another molecule, LFA-1, which plays a crucial role in the spread of the virus from one cell to another. The actions ultimately lead to destruction of lymph tissue, particularly in the gut. Several other receptor sites for H.I.V. are known. The most important is the CD4 molecule on certain immune cells; the molecule’s role as an H.I.V. receptor was identified in 1984. Two other important receptors, known as CCR5 and CXCR4, were identified in 1996. CCR5 is a normal component of human cells and acts as a doorway for the entry of H.I.V. People who lack it because of a genetic mutation rarely become infected even if they have been exposed to H.I.V. repeatedly. ‘The work we did took nearly two years, and there’s little doubt that what we have found is a new receptor,’ Dr. Fauci said in an interview after giving a lecture here, adding that ‘we certainly have to learn a lot more about it.'”

Scientists Find New Receptor for H.I.V. [nyt]


  1. peterparker says

    This is huge news! A gastroenterologist who specializes in HIV gastroenterology told me that of all the receptors for HIV in the body, the gut holds about 10 times as many receptors as the rest of the organs combined. Hopefully this finding will lead to new and better treatments.

  2. says

    Thrilled to hear this. Now my next step is to get a scientific dictionary and understand all this sharabia. Seriously though, this means there’s hope on the horizon. Great news!

  3. david says

    I’ve got a better Idea, why don’t we get about 100,000 of us who are sick. And buy a bunch of guns. Then we go to the nearest army base that deals in biological weapons. Start their by shooting everyone in the fuckin head. And leave just one scientist alive. Then put a gun to his fucking head and say where is the fucking vaccine for Hiv. He’ll take us to a safe, open it up and blow the dust off the vials. And say here you go. That’s where you should look. The’ve known about this disease for 50 years. Shit they developed it. Fuck them.

  4. says

    Just more of the same bullshit they have been saying for the last 25 years! Blah,Blah,Blah…cure…Blah,Blah,Blah..$$$$ for research and toxic drugs…Blah,Blah.

  5. maceman says

    David, I am a scientist and you couldn’t be more wrong. Thousands of scientists have been searching for a cure and or vaccine. Don’t let bitterness lead you to accept baseless conspiracy theories. HIV was definitely not created in a lab. Like most viruses affecting us, it simply jumped species into humans, in whom it happens to cause disease. I’d advise you to direct your anger instead to the people who supress efforts to educate and promote safer sex practices.