News of the WeekCell Biology

Introducing Proteins Into the Body's Cells

Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1466-1467
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1466b

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Because most proteins are unable to make their way through the fatty membrane that surrounds cells, researchers have been unable to find a way to deliver them efficiently to cells in animals or humans. But now scientists may have hit on a powerful strategy to accomplish that: fusing foreign proteins to a segment of another protein, derived from the AIDS virus, that has an unusual ability to cross cell membranes. On page 1569, a team of molecular biologists reports that such tagged molecules can infiltrate all the tissues of living mice. If the method works with other proteins, it might be used to combat inherited diseases and other conditions caused by a malfunctioning or absent intracellular protein.