Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Tick saliva protein blocks HIV-1

‘A U.S. study said a protein in the saliva of deer ticks prevents HIV-1 from attaching to the surface of white blood cells called T Cells.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said the finding may lead to new treatments for autoimmune diseases and prevent rejection of organ transplants, the university said Friday in a release.

The researchers said the HIV-1 virus cripples the human immune system by targeting T cells that form the body’s first line of defense in fighting infection. Deer tick saliva contains the protein Salp15, which stops T cells from activating by binding to a specific site on their surface called the CD4 receptor.’

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