Scientists Discover Circrna That Plays A Crucial Role In Replication Of HIV-1 Virus

This breakthrough research by IISER Bhopal scientists reveals how ‘ciTRAN,’ a circular RNA molecule, influences the virus's transcription process, which could potentially lead to novel therapeutic strategies against HIV-1

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have discovered a specific circular RNA (circRNA) known as 'ciTRAN,' which plays a pivotal role in facilitating the multiplication of the HIV-1 virus within the human body.

Led by Dr Ajit Chande from the Department of Biological Sciences at IISER Bhopal, the research utilized an innovative approach named 'circDR-Seq' to isolate circRNAs from T-cells (white blood cells) infected with HIV-1. This method led to the identification of ciTRAN, a circRNA that significantly contributes to the virus's replication process.

"Circular RNA characterisation poses challenges due to its lower abundance, making it elusive in its native form. It's akin to deciphering a complex recipe. Moreover, the abundance of viral RNA during infections makes identifying less common molecules like circular RNA a daunting task. Thus, we needed inventive strategies to detect and comprehend the roles of these less common RNA molecules," explained Dr Chande.

A major breakthrough stemming from this research is the development of a small protein molecule capable of inhibiting viral transcription in the presence of ciTRAN. This discovery holds great promise for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches. By understanding how ciTRAN enhances the virus's ability to multiply efficiently and creating a chemical agent that can block viral transcription, the study paves the way for potentially groundbreaking advancements in combatting HIV-1 and other similar viruses.

This remarkable finding sheds new light on the mechanisms behind HIV-1 propagation and opens up new avenues for targetted treatments, offering hope for millions affected by the virus worldwide.

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IISER Bhopal RNA molecule discovery HIV testing

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