The project “Molecular Mechanism of HIV Entry Mediated by Chemokine Receptor CCR5” which was applied by research scientists WU Beili, LIU Hong and ZHAO Qiang from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) had been approved by National Institutes of Health (NIH) (project number: 1 R01 AI100604-01) on March 2nd. This is the first time that SIMM gained funding from NIH.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the most influential medical research and funding agencies in the world. The majority of NIH’s budget goes to world-famous scientists from research institutions in the United States. Only a very small proportion of its budget goes to research institutions in China. And the support from NIH may led to major breakthroughs in the field of GPCR (Guanosine-binding Protein Coupled Receptor) research in the institute.
The total funding of this 5-year project (2012-2017) is 675,000 US dollars. The major purpose of this project is to understand the mechanism underlying the interaction between gp120, a type of glycoprotein from HIV-1 and its coreceptor as well as the tropism of HIV-1 through solving the crystal structures of chemokine receptor CCR5 with its ligands. The findings from this project may also help the understanding of the mechanism of HIV-1 virus infection as well as the design and screening of anti-HIV medicines.