Inhibition of HIV-1 by type II interferon
Dr Suzannah Rihn
University of Glasgow
Humans have evolved a number of natural defenses that protect against invading viruses. Many of these defenses are regulated by interferons that are released after the body senses an infection. The interferons – proteins that interfere with viral replication – can stimulate expression of hundreds of specific genes that mediate the body’s antiviral defenses. Previous research has shown that a number of interferon-stimulated genes from the type 1 family of interferons can strongly inhibit HIV-1 infection. In a previous study I unexpectedly found that another family of interferon, type II interferon, can also inhibit HIV-1.
I want to define exactly how, when, and through which genes and mechanisms the inhibition of HIV-1 by type II interferon occurs. Uncovering how type II interferon inhibits HIV-1 will provide an insight into how our antiviral defenses function.
Even though antiviral defenses normally fail to eliminate HIV-1 infection, discovering how they work will improve our understanding of HIV-1 disease progression and may eventually aid the development of novel drug therapies and vaccines.