Recently-Discovered Antiviral Protein Inhibits HIV-1 in Non-Human Primates

A group of scientists led by a University of Colorado Boulder has detected that a gene called SLFN11 — that encodes a protein famous as Schlafen family member 11, or Schlafen11 — might satisfy a mobile response opposite infection by viruses including tellurian immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). The investigate is published in a biography PLoS Pathogens.

Colorized scanning nucleus micrograph of HIV-1, grown in well-bred lymphocytes; virions are seen as tiny spheres on a aspect of a cells. Image credit: C. Goldsmith.

Colorized scanning nucleus micrograph of HIV-1, grown in well-bred lymphocytes; virions are seen as tiny spheres on a aspect of a cells. Image credit: C. Goldsmith.

The tellurian defence complement contains several protein-encoding genes that are means to commend a unfamiliar signatures of RNA viruses and forestall their replication, providing a genetic line of invulnerability opposite zoonotic (animal-based) diseases.

HIV-1, a pathogen that causes AIDS, is one of several zoonotic retroviruses that has been means to mishandle these defenses and adjust to tellurian hosts around mechanisms that are still being studied. HIV-1 was upheld to humans from primates.

In 2012, a University of California San Diego-led group of researchers demonstrated that a SLFN11 gene is means of tying HIV-1 riposte early in a virus’s lifecycle, though a small participation of SLFN11 in humans has not, to date, supposing an effective aegis opposite a disease.

The new investigate found that SLFN11’s antiviral potential is top in non-human monkey class such as chimpanzees and orangutans, though reduction effective in humans and gorillas, indicating that a gene’s effects have turn rarely species-specific over time when it comes to fighting off HIV-1.

“The commentary advise that HIV-1 has been means to take advantage of this loose preference in humans,” explained investigate lead author Alex Stabell, a researcher in a BioFrontiers Institute during a University of Colorado Boulder.

“The defence complement contains some of a many fast elaborating genes in mammalian genomes, and what we are anticipating is that a defence systems of even really closely-related species, such as humans and chimpanzees, differ in thespian ways,” combined comparison author Dr. Sara Sawyer, also from a BioFrontiers Institute.

The group analyzed information from monkey genome projects to get a broader design of a SLFN11 gene’s evolutionary story and review a antiviral effects in other monkey species.

“We examined opposite versions of this gene in other monkey species, looking for certain preference over time,” Stabell said.

“Genes tend to wish to be conserved, to stay a same. But a fast bettering retrovirus can force their hand.”

The investigate found that over millions of years, a antiviral efficacy of a SLFN11 gene diverged by class to a indicate where Schlafen11 proteins encoded by chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons and marmosets now stop HIV-1 riposte distant some-more effectively than those constructed by human, gorillas and bonobos.

The researchers also found that SLFN11 can have antiviral effects over only HIV-1.

Even when HIV-1 is absent from a host’s system, a gene broadly restricts protein prolongation formed on non-optimized codons, radically reprogramming cells to emanate a ubiquitous antiviral state.

The commentary could yield new avenues of exploration for destiny curative and gene therapy investigate centered on HIV-1.


A.C. Stabell et al. 2016. Non-human Primate Schlafen11 Inhibits Production of Both Host and Viral Proteins. PLoS Pathog 12 (12)