Thursday, September 15, 2011

Glow-In-The-Dark Cats Could Provide Answers About AIDS

Glow Kitten Mayo Clinic

PopSci - Genetically modified glow-in-the-dark cats not only make stylish, futuristic pets, but now provide insight into feline AIDS as well. The cats were injected with an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque monkey that helps them resist feline AIDS, along with one that produces the fluorescent protein GFP. The latter gene, which is naturally produced by jellyfish, is regularly used in genetic engineering as a way to mark cells. If the cats aren’t glowing, then the AIDS-resisting gene might not have made it into the cell either.

Infection-fighting proteins called restriction factors, made by both cats and humans, are powerless against their respective versions of AIDS.                     More