One of the many hinderances in the long fought and continuing battle against HIV in human society is trying to find multiple drugs that combat viral production in infected patients. An area of research that is currently underway deals with selecting aptamers against certain structural components of the virus, such as HIV Gag p24. HIV Gag p24 is a structural component of the viral capsid in every known strain of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is a product of the Gag gene and plays an essential role in stabilizing the capsid and the genetic material that it houses.
In the lytic cycle of viruses, capsids are generated and the numerous copies of genetic material are packaged inside just before cell lysis. The capsid acts as a protective shield against molecules that could potentially damage the genetic material. By selecting aptamers against HIV-1 Gag p24, the capsid formation of the viral progeny could potentially be significantly hindered, thus slowing down the infection process as a whole.
Finding an aptamer or multiple aptamers that can bind to HIV-1 Gag p24 could be a major breakthrough in the battle against HIV infection, and ultimately, the acquiring of AIDS in society.
Specific Aim: Selecting RNA based aptamers against HIV-1 Gag p24.
HIV-1 Gag p24 is a biomolecule that provides structure and stability to the capsid of every strain of HIV. Using the HIV-1 strain for experimentation, selecting aptamers that can proficiently change the structure and function of HIV-1 Gag p24 will be attempted, preventing the capsids of the viral progeny from forming. Without a capsid, the virus would be rendered nonfunctional.
**Note: HIV-1 Gag p24 is available in a 50 ug quantity from Thermo Scientific (www.bioreagents.com) for $1,059.87.
Here is the link to my Final Manuscript. **Please note that the updated abstract is a part of this link.