From the University News Service:
Since the discovery in 2007 that a component of human semen called SEVI boosts infectivity of the virus that causes AIDS, researchers have been trying to learn more about SEVI and how it works, in hopes of thwarting its infection-promoting activity.
Now, scientists at the University of Michigan have determined the atomic-level, three-dimensional structure of a SEVI precursor known as PAP248-286 and discovered how it damages cell membranes to make them more vulnerable to infection with HIV. The work is described in two new papers. The most recent, describing the structure, was published online Nov. 17 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The paper describing how PAP248-286 interacts with cell membranes appeared in the Nov. 4 issue of Biophysical Journal.
Ramamoorthy's coauthors on the Journal of the American Chemical Society paper are graduate student Ravi Nanga, post-doctoral fellows Jeffrey Brender and Nataliya Popovych and NMR specialist Subramanian Vivekanandan. His coauthors on the Biophysical Journal paper are Brender, graduate student Kevin Hartman, former post-doctoral fellow Lindsey Gottler, former graduate student Marchello Cavitt and biophysics undergraduate student Daniel Youngstrom.