Recently, Prof Eric Freed from US National Institutes of Health visited GIBH and gave a presentation entitled “Novel insights into HIV assembly and maturation”. Prof Freed is the director of HIV dynamics and replication program and head of the virus-cell interaction section. Many scientists and students have attended the presentation and the meeting was hosted by Prof Ling Chen and Dr Caijun Sun.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that causes HIV infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV infects vital cells in the human immune system such as helper T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. HIV infection leads to low levels of CD4+ T cells through a number of mechanisms, including pyroptosis of abortively infected T cells, apoptosis of uninfected bystander cells, direct viral killing of infected cells, and killing of infected CD4+ T cells by CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize infected cells. When CD4+ T cell numbers decline below a critical level, cell-mediated immunity is lost, and the body becomes progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections.Prof Freed and his group focus on the late stage of HIV life cycle in order to investigate methods that can help to control and treat AIDS by blocking the assembly of HIV virus. They carried out in depth study on the mechanism of interfering HIV infection by 2,2-Dimethylsuccinic acid (Bevirimat). They discovered that Bevirimat can inhibit the activity of enzymes in CA-SP1 process and subsequently inhibit the maturation and release of HIV particles. In addition, Prof Freed has collaborated with Pfizer Inc developed a second generation of small molecule compounds PF96 to inhibit HIV virus maturation. These research results have been published on Nature and Nature Reviews Immunology.
Prof Freed is an internationally renowned expert on HIV molecular viral research,he has published more than 160 papers on top tier journals, including Nature,Science,Cell,PNAS,JEMBO and so on. He became the Director of the HIV DRP in 2015. He is currently serving as Co-chair of the NIH Virology Interest Group and Co-chair of the NIH Earl Stadtman Virology Search Committee. He is also a member of the NIH AIDS Discovery and Development of Therapeutics (ADDT) study section and will serve as ADDT Chair from July 2015-July 2017. In addition, Prof Freed is the Co-director of the University of Maryland Virology Program, and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland.