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AIDS protein 'computed.'

AIDS protein "computed'

Scientists in England have used a computer to construct the probable three-dimensional structure of a protein that may prove significant in developing new drugs against the virus causing AIDS. In the Sept. 24 NATURE, Laurence H. Pearl of the Institute of Cancer Research in Surrey and William R. Taylor of the University of London report their computed structure for the protease enzyme produced by the AIDS-causing HIV virus.

Part of the HIV protease--essential for the production of proteins that make up the virus core--structurally resembles the aspartic class of proteases found in the blood and digestive system. After comparing the amino-acid patterns from both groups, Pearl and Taylor found that the HIV protease is very similar to half of the aspartic protease's structure. Based on this observation, they suggest that HIV protease may in fact be active only when two of these smaller proteases unite. Their computer model of this "double' form and its binding sites may point to the design of drugs that inhibit HIV protease activity, and therefore viral infection, say the scientists.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 26, 1987
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