Ana Godinho-Santos has a degree in Microbiology and a Master degree in Applied Microbiology. She is currently a Doctoral candidate at Faculty of Pharmacy - University of Lisbon, expected to complete the PhD degree requirements by March 2016.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) relies on the host cell machinery to complete its life cycle. Several helper factors have been identified in expectation that a better understanding of host-HIV interactions would lead to novel antiviral targets. As the characterization for many of these proteins is still limited, we aimed to depict the contribution of CIB2, previously identified as helper factor, as well as the potential contribution of its homolog, CIB1. Knockdown of both CIB1 and CIB2 in shRNA-transduced cell populations strongly impaired viral replication in target cells, recognizing these proteins as non-redundant HIV-1 helper factors. Also, a single-round cycle assay demonstrated that normal levels of CIB1 and CIB2 are required for HIV-1 envelope-mediated process. In fact, both X4 and R5 viral strains seem to be dependent on CIB1 and CIB2 expression levels, since infectivity of X4- and R5-enveloped particles was affected. Moreover, CIB1- and CIB2-knockdown populations displayed reduced viral fusion efficiency when compared to untransduced population, indicating virus-free entry impairment. Furthermore, virus-transfer through cell-cell contacts was decreased after co-culture of infected donor cells with CIB1- and CIB2-knockdown target cells. Flow cytometry showed that surface expression of some key players of both routes of viral entry was altered in CIBs-depleted populations, namely co-receptor CXCR4 and integrin α4β7. Taken together, these studies revealed for the first time that CIB1 is a HIV-1 helper factor along with CIB2, and suggest that both CIB1 and CIB2 facilitate HIV-1 entry in natural target cells possibly through modulation of CXCR4 and α4β7.
Belsy Acosta Herrera has graduated as General Physician in 1993. She has started her Residence in Microbiology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri (IPK). Her current position at the IPK is Medical Doctor, Specialist in Microbiology in the field of Virology. She has also participated in many meeting, courses and training in different countries and participated in more than 40 national and international congresses with the presentation of more than 70 papers and conferences related to viral respiratory infections. She has published more than 40 papers as author or co-author and obtained 8 Scientific Awards nominated by the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
Influenza, the most contagious of the acute respiratory infections is considered like an emergent and re-emergent illness due to the wide circulation of old and new variants among the world population. Vaccination is currently the only practical means of reducing or counteracting this burden of mortality and morbidity in the community. The production of an optimal influenza vaccine requires the continuous global monitoring of influenza by the National Influenza Centre. The Cuban National Influenza Center has the responsibility to carry out the national virological surveillance of influenza and others respiratory viruses. During the past 10 years, it had been working together with national health authorities on the planning, implementation and improvement of the national surveillance program of acute respiratory infections. From, 2009 to 2014, 38935 respiratory samples from patient with clinical diagnosis of acute respiratory infection were processed using an algorithm of molecular diagnosis. The total of positive samples to influenza viruses were characterized molecularly including nucleic acid sequencing. The major positivity was detected for influenza A virus, particularly for the influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, following influenza B viruses. In 2012, we detected the reintroduction of influenza B lineage Yamagata associated with a high rate of morbidity. Most characterized influenza A viruses matched with the vaccine strains with the exception of the circulating viruses during the season 2013-2014. These results suggest a low preventive effect of the seasonal influenza vaccine for the season 2014-2015. This situation should be kept in mind given its implications for clinical practice and public health.