Run HIV Run, The Protease Is Coming!

Dr. Saveez Saffarian
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Utah


My lab works on enveloped RNA virus assembly and replication. These viruses which are rapidly evolving alongside our immune system include HIV, Ebola and Influenza virus. Providing alternative therapeutic solutions to vaccination requires a full molecular understanding of how these pathogens replicate and hijack cellular machinery. In this talk I will highlight our work on HIV. HIV incorporates its own protease which upon activation will transform the virus from immature to the infectious mature state. HIV also recruits cellular proteins termed Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport (ESCRTs) to facilitate its release from the host cell. We have shown that disrupting the balance between budding and protease activation will result in release of non infectious virus. I will show how we use a variety of single molecule imaging as well as biochemical and virological tools to understand the molecular choreography between ESCRTs and HIV proteins during release of infectious virus.