For more than 30 years, NIGMS has supported the structural characterization of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enzymes and viral proteins. This support has been instrumental in the development of crucial drugs for antiretroviral therapy such as protease inhibitors. NIGMS continues to support further characterization of viral proteins as well as cellular and viral complexes. These complexes represent the fundamental interactions between the virus and its host target cell and, as such, represent potential new targets for therapeutic development.
In this first in a series of three video interviews with NIGMS-funded researchers probing the structure of HIV, Irwin Chaiken, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Drexel University College of Medicine, discusses his lab’s efforts to interfere with the envelope protein (Env) on the surface of HIV. Env is responsible for recognizing cells of the host organism and figuring out how to disrupt its function may lead to strategies for rendering the deadly virus inert.