Research NewsStructural Biology

Revealing HIV's T Cell Passkey

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1833-1834
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1833

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In this week's issue of Nature, crystallographers reveal the long-sought structure of gp120, the protein HIV uses to gain entry to T lymphocytes, its main target cells. Moreover, as evidenced by two companion papers by the same research team--one in Nature and one on page 1949 of this issue of Science --the new closeup view of gp120 is already helping researchers understand why the antibodies that HIV-infected patients produce against the virus fail to knock it out, as well as revealing weak spots on the protein where a drug or an antibody might be able to slip in and gum up its molecular works. A special section on AIDS research also appears in this issue beginning on page 1855.