Joseph Ring, Biological Sciences
“Creation and Screening of Second-Generation Peptide Library Targeting HIV-1 Packaging Signal”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniele Fabris
Expected Graduation Date: May 2010
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has killed over 25 million people worldwide since its discovery in 1981, with almost three million people being infected in 2007 alone. The goal of this project is to ultimately identify lead compounds, which can specifically target the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) packaging signal (Ψ-RNA). This signal, located near the 5’ long terminal repeat of the genomic RNA, is responsible for the encapsidation of the retroviral RNA. This region is highly conserved, making it an ideal candidate for modification and, in turn, disruption of the HIV life cycle. Toward this direction, we have obtained a synthetic peptide library containing ~16,000 unique peptide sequences. The short term goal involves chemically modifying the C- and N- termini of the peptides in order to increase affinity and specificity for the target substrates, providing more robust lead compounds.