Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Princeton University recently released research on the role of HFC-1 protein compounds on the herpes simplex virus (HSV) reactivation cycle.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said 500 million people worldwide are infected with HSV-2, and two-thirds of the population is infected with HSV-1, an NIH release said. The virus can remain dormant for years after initial infection before reactivating periodically, causing diseases like oral cold sores, genital lesions and even serious eye conditions that can leave patients blind. Those infected with the virus are also at a higher risk of HIV transmission and infection, and the virus can lead to neurological and development problems in infected infants.
Scientists have been working to better understand what triggers reactivations of HSV for years, and the NIAID made progress with previous research to help clarify the role that cellular protein HCF-1 and other associated proteins play in the process. Essentially, HSV recruits the proteins and uses them to replicate and spread, the research indicates, the NIH release said.
In their newest research, NIAID and Princeton researchers have shown that HFC-1 protein also plays a role in viral reactivation. Using particular HFC-1 protein complexes, some of which are also associated with HIV reactivation, they were able to reactivate latent HSV in a mouse model. They plan to continue their research in the hopes of finding targets for therapeutics.