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CD4 and HIV-1 VpU
Transmembrane and membrane-associated proteins belong to the most challenging targets in structural biology. They act in many cellular processes, e.g. in membrane transport or cell signalling. Host cell membrane proteins are targets for viral entry into the cell. The T-lymphocyte coreceptor type I transmembrane glycoprotein CD4 is an important component of the adaptive immune defence. Also, it is the major receptor of human immunodeficience virus type 1 (HIV-1) during viral infection. Following viral entry into the T-cell, CD4 molecules are down-regulated to avoid superinfection of the cell. Reduction of CD4 positive T helper cells leads to a critical malfunction of the immune system and finally to AIDS. We are interested in molecular processes and structural details of human CD4 and HIV-1 VpU. Our main focus is structure determination of these proteins either by X-ray crystallography or in membrane-mimicking environments that are well-suited for high-resolution liquid-state NMR.

Structural Biochemistry:
B.W. Koenig, M. Wittlich, D. Willbold

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