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HIV Transmission Captured On Video 136

Posted by kdawson
from the lives-of-a-virus dept.
Technology Review has promising news on the AIDS front: researchers have captured HIV T cell transmission on video. The upshot could be new avenues of treatment. "The resulting images and videos show that, once an infected cell adheres to a healthy cell, the HIV proteins... migrate within minutes to the contact site. At that point, large packets of virus are simultaneously released by the infected cell and internalized by the recipient cell. This efficient mode of transfer is a distinct pathway from the cell-free infection that has been the focus of most prior HIV studies, and reveals another mechanism by which the virus evades immune responses that can neutralize free virus particles within the body."
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HIV Transmission Captured On Video

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  • I always found biology quite fascinating. All those little buggers that can kill a human just by sheer numbers. Always scared me a little.
    • by srussia (884021) on Sunday March 29, 2009 @05:53AM (#27377743)

      I always found biology quite fascinating. All those little buggers that can kill a human just by sheer numbers.

      You should hang around statisticians then. They're a hoot!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29, 2009 @05:58AM (#27377771)

        Ok I'll bite ... "HIV Transmission Captured On Video" ... I can't be the first to think, its probably been caught on videos before now!

        • Re:Fascinating (Score:5, Insightful)

          by phoenix321 (734987) * on Sunday March 29, 2009 @06:02AM (#27377783)

          It's been caught on video many times before - and sold.

          Scary stuff, really.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Roxx [wikipedia.org]
          http://www.adultfilmdatabase.com/video.cfm?videoid=61710 [adultfilmdatabase.com]

          • Parent isn't really that funny... someone mod him +5 insightful so that it isn't -1 insulting.

          • Re:Fascinating (Score:5, Informative)

            by Jeian (409916) on Sunday March 29, 2009 @10:09AM (#27378773)

            > Roxx, on learning about James being HIV-positive, said, "It totally made me realize how I trusted this system that wasn't to be trusted at all, because it obviously doesn't work," and "I thought porn people were the cleanest people in the world."

            "The system" in this case is inherently flawed.

            After initial HIV infection, it can take up to six months for someone to start producing HIV antibodies (seroconvert). And unfortunately, most HIV tests don't check for viral load, but check for the presence of antibodies.

            So basically, you have a window period of up to six months where you are contagious but will come up negative on tests.

            • by v1 (525388) on Sunday March 29, 2009 @11:28AM (#27379325) Homepage Journal

              I think the interesting part about this discovery is that aids is traveling from cell to cell without the need to release virons to float around hoping to find a cell. I don't recall hearing about any other virus that spreads by cell-to-cell contact. It appears as though the infected cell press up against an uninfected cell, form a pocket between them (that is not connected to "outside" and then release some virons into this pocket. The virons contain the necessary "key" to get into a cell, but normally their odds are not good simply because they have to float around and hope to bump into a T cell, one at a time, in just the right way.

              This process has several advantages. First, it's not wasting virons by simply multiplying them inside the cell until the cell bursts, leaving the virons to float around hoping for a chance contact. Second, since the body isn't being flooded with virons, it severely delays and slows the auto immune response of the body which isn't going to react anywhere near as fast to such a low-volume threat of a handful of virons leaking out now and then vs thousands popping onto the scene continually. Third, in addition to being hand-delivered to a target cell, there's a ton of them at the contact site concentrated right on the target cell's doorstep, not just one, so infection is pretty much guaranteed.

              It's sort of the difference between a country sending an "army" to their enemy, by stirring up a villagefull of people to go attack on their own individually, vs assembling a strike force and attacking at one spot on the wall all at once. Clearly the latter is more effective.

              Scarry stuff. AIDS looks to have evolved a very potent new method of infection. It's too bad we don't know more about how this process works. AIDS is probably throttling its viron production so the infected cell survives to infect other cells, rather than multiplying virons as fast as possible to get the most of them released into the body as fast as possible. Interferfon iirc slows the replication of AIDS virons inside the cell, so it makes sense that throttling an already throttled process should be an effective treatment.

              If a cell has been taken over and is personally going to another cell and staging an attack, this may be a very difficult problem to overcome. Small, relatively inert virons can only hope for a chance contact in just the right way with a target cell. An entire cell coming to get you is a bit more like a bacteria problem, they have a heck of a lot more resources at their disposal. It's like the enemy taking over one of your tanks, vs coming at you as a walking soldier. Difference is, when the enemy "gets you", he doesn't destroy your tank... he dumps some men INTO your tank and now he has TWO tanks.

              What this all boils down to is AIDS has found a new way to use the cells it hijacks. Most other viruses use them as self-destructing viron factories, and a few as places to hide and lay dormant for later relapse. But using cells as lingering attack platforms is just plain scarry.

              • by sjames (1099)

                Random musing: Perhaps the regulatory mechanism for virus reproduction in the cell can be attacked. Find a way to convince the infected cell that it is already packed with new virons. It wouldn't be a cure, but might be a decent long term treatment with less side effects.

              • s/AIDS/HIV/
                You are confusing HIV and AIDS.
                • "I don't believe in Koch's Postulates, and I vote!" - bumper sticker seen on Matt Perry's car

                  • I guess you'll have to explain your comment to me. I don't see how Koch's Postulates are even relevant here.

                    • I guess you'll have to explain your comment to me

                      You first. People who deny that HIV causes AIDS are making an extraordinary claim, and they need to supply extraordinary proof.

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by Matt Perry (793115)

                      You first.

                      Ah, the old "you first" defense; The shield of the coward. That's okay. I'll play along.

                      The person that I replied to [slashdot.org] was mixing up the usage of HIV and AIDS. Every time he said AIDS, he should have said HIV for his sentences to make sense. People often use the terms interchangeably but they are different things. HIV is a virus and it's that virus that infects people. AIDS is a syndrome that HIV infected people can, and usually do, develop sometime after infection. AIDS isn't transmissible any more

                    • Cool, sorry about that. The original comment was a terse one, and seemed to suggest something it didn't.

              • by [Zappo] (68222)

                Interferon iirc slows the replication of AIDS virons inside the cell, so it makes sense that throttling an already throttled process should be an effective treatment.

                ...

                What this all boils down to is AIDS has found a new way to use the cells it hijacks. Most other viruses use them as self-destructing viron factories, and a few as places to hide and lay dormant for later relapse. But using cells as lingering attack platforms is just plain scary.

                Wait, so why does interferon seem like a good treatment? From what you say it would perhaps delay progression of the virus's spread, but not fundamentally disrupt its operation.

                OTOH, perhaps going the other way would have merit. If the virus is so clever because its viron strategy is both stealthy and targeted, perhaps it's worth researching a way to speed up viron production. Then there would be greater chance of early immune response, and of premature death of infected cells. Right?

                • by v1 (525388)

                  Wait, so why does interferon seem like a good treatment? From what you say it would perhaps delay progression of the virus's spread, but not fundamentally disrupt its operation.

                  My musing here is that maybe it's worked out that it's more effective to spread directly by cell-to-cell over the long term than to dump out a ton of virons and explode the cell.

                  Now the immune system is capable of identifying infected cells, but that's a lot harder to identify than a viron. So that is probably working to its advanta

                  • by [Zappo] (68222)

                    Wait, so why does interferon seem like a good treatment? From what you say it would perhaps delay progression of the virus's spread, but not fundamentally disrupt its operation.

                    My musing here is that maybe it's worked out that it's more effective to spread directly by cell-to-cell over the long term than to dump out a ton of virons and explode the cell.

                    Now the immune system is capable of identifying infected cells, but that's a lot harder to identify than a viron. So that is probably working to its advantage also. The white blood cells probably also have an easier time identifying a cel that's not doing its job anymore and is swollen with virons

                    Well, so, again, why isn't it a better research goal to force the virus to speed up viron production (thus defeating the cleverness you highlight), rather than helping it to slow down viron production (which enhances the cleverness you highlight)?

                    • Well, so, again, why isn't it a better research goal to force the virus to speed up viron production (thus defeating the cleverness you highlight), rather than helping it to slow down viron production (which enhances the cleverness you highlight)?

                      The reason this is bad:

                      First, quick background:

                      HIV is a retro virus. It reverse engineers its RNA into DNA and the DNA incorporates into the nucleic region. The viral DNA normally will lie dormant through a few mitosis cycles. At some point, an unknown chemica

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It somehow reminds me of that whole "Anonymous" thing from 4chan: mindless and deadly.

    • You'll just love this then. Humans have ten times more bacteria that human cells.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 29, 2009 @05:43AM (#27377701)

    I have an idea how to stop HIV and it involves the same technology found in terminator seeds [wikipedia.org].

    In a nutshell, the government sanctions the agricultural giant Monsanto to engineer a new strain of HIV virus with a limited lifespan beyond a certain generation with ability to recode the DNA as it progresses. This virus could be hostile to all the known HIV strains out in the wild and force them out. People voluntarily get infected with this new virus as means of guarding against incurable HIV infections. Since this new virus can be regulated upon demand, Monsanto can then minimize the damage for a low monthly fee by supplying you with various off switches to reduce the infection. They could set up various plans depending on your budget. Silver and Gold plans would have limited side effects to encourage you to upgrade to the Platinum plan and get better viral sterilization methods.

    I think this could work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to Monsanto-land, where nothing can possibl-y go wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      the government sanctions the agricultural giant Monsanto to engineer a new strain of HIV virus with a limited lifespan beyond a certain generation with ability to recode the DNA as it progresses

      Is that even feasible? I'm not a virologist, but adding a feature like this seems pretty complicated. Is there an easy way to do that, like adding one gene from another virus, or are you proposing we invent a whole new mechanism from scratch? Because we're really no good at that yet. Pretty much all the artificial genes that I'm familiar with are either genes we've copied from natural ones, or ones that are extremely rudimentary compared to natural ones.

      And though I have no experience in either virology

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by justinlee37 (993373)
        I think you got trolled. 10/10
      • Considering that it seems to have slipped right over your head, I can only assume that you don't know about Monsanto [wikipedia.org]

        I suggest you at least watch The World According To Monsanto [google.com] (best one I could find on short notice)

        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Considering that it seems to have slipped right over your head, I can only assume that you don't know about Monsanto

          Save me some time: where in there does it say anything about Monsanto dabbling in HIV research?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mauthbaux (652274)
        I'm not a virologist either, but I have taken classes in the subject (some time ago, so don't take what I say as doctrine or anything). The idea of a competing virus does have some merit. IIRC, research was done on the topic with ex vivo models, but I don't think it ever made its way to animal subject or human trials.

        For this to work, you'd ideally want a virus which used the same antigen for cellular entry (gp120, CD40 ligand); this keeps your virus to the same cells that are susceptible to HIV, limiting
    • by Jurily (900488)

      +1 They'll Probably Try It

      Shame viruses don't have distinct generations.

    • by thewils (463314)

      They _might_ have already tried this. HIV could be the failed result of their first try, escaping into the wild.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      And if your partner infects you, you will get sued for copyright violation.

      Just as with their (eg wheat) grains. 10 years prison. Minimum.

  • this blurb reads like researcher have been ignoring cell-to-cell contamination for the last 20 years and only tried to get a cure for "free virus" to cell contamination. I hope it's not what actually happened that would be sad. Nice video though.
  • Pool's Closed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Due to AIDS.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Protein dynamics can be affected by alterations to the protein itself. In this case, the gag protein had GFP inserted into it. GFP itself dimerizes weakly, and would add some size and weight to the protein. Does anyone know how they are sure what they're seeing matches normal Gag dynamics? The paper says "This virus faithfully reveals Gag localization, allowing infected cells and viral particles to be tracked with high sensitivity" citing an earlier paper by the same authors. That paper showed that it

  • ...is this tagged "pr0n"?! Does pr0n gives you AIDS?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      No, because of the title. "HIV Transmission Captured On Video"
    • by iwein (561027)
      Well, I for one am not going to risk anything by watching the video. Of some things you really do not need to see the graphics. And no, watching pr0n doesn't give you AIDS.
    • by tverbeek (457094)
      Probably because there are countless porn movies in which HIV transmission has been captured on video: at the macroscopic scale.
  • Just kidding.

  • The "funny" thing about HIV is that, if it killed instantly (days or weeks) people would be MUCH more apt to be careful and NOT GET IT it because it's completely preventable aside from rape, unknowingly getting it through blood transfusions (rare) etc.

    Sell tomorrow to enjoy today.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google the term "bugchasing."

      There's a subset of the gay community whose philosophy is basically that since we're all going to die anyway, they might as well get HIV so they can stop worrying about getting HIV.

      Then if you really want your mind fucked with, Google "giftgiving."

      • by maxume (22995)

        Finding out that people are stupid and/or mentally ill really isn't that much of a mind fuck.

      • by FlyByPC (841016)
        Darwinian natural selection in action!
        • Those doing it typically aren't those who are likely to reproduce anyway. That may disqualify the natural selection aspect, I would think.
    • by pjt33 (739471) on Sunday March 29, 2009 @11:11AM (#27379189)

      No, if it killed instantly then people wouldn't need to be careful not to get it because it would be extremely rare (unless it had a very common transmission vector which it didn't kill).

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Or unless necrophilia is a lot more common than we currently suppose...

    • by Ihlosi (895663)

      The "funny" thing about HIV is that, if it killed instantly (days or weeks) people would be MUCH more apt to be careful and NOT GET IT it because it's completely preventable aside from rape, unknowingly getting it through blood transfusions (rare) etc.

      If it killed within days or weeks, it wouldn't matter what people do, because an outbreak would be pretty much self-terminating.

    • by plague3106 (71849)

      Well, if it killed instantly, most that have it would die off pretty quick, leaving no way for anyone else to get the virus. A virus that kills too quickly dooms itself.

  • I really thought this was going to be an idle article.
  • We found a cure! All you have to do is inject yourselves with lots of cash! Yipee!

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