College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Glycoprotein Analysis for HIV Vaccine Development

February 10, Tue 2009
1:00 pm, MRB 100 Conference Room

Dr. Heather Desaire

University of Kansas

The discovery of an effective vaccine is the best hope to conquer the HIV virus. While current methods in HIV vaccine development span a variety of strategies, one common method is using the virus’s own envelope glycoprotein as a vaccine candidate. This molecule is on the viral surface, and it provides the first contact between the virus and cells. Many glycoprotein vaccines are in development for the treatment of HIV, but none of them have passed the critical “efficacy” test in phase III clinical trials. My group hypothesizes that a major problem with the current candidates is the design and control of the carbohydrate portion of these glycoprotein vaccines, since this portion makes up 50% of the mass of the molecule, and very little is known about the “right” carbohydrates needed in the glycoprotein vaccine. We focus on analyzing these moieties using several mass spectrometric methods. By developing the appropriate methods to rapidly screen the carbohydrate content on glycoproteins, and applying these techniques to the glycoprotein on the surface of HIV, we hope to identify critical information needed to generate an effective vaccine against the world’s most illusive virus. This seminar will focus on our current successes and future goals in this endeavor.

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