Monsef Benkirane - Paving the way towards elimination of HIV persistent CD4+ T cell in vivo

Special Guest Seminar

  • Date: Apr 7, 2017
  • Time: 13:00 c.t. - 14:00
  • Speaker: Monsef Benkirane
  • CNRS Institute of Human Genetics (IGH), Montpellier, France
  • Location: MPI-IE
  • Room: Main Lecture Hall
  • Host: Post-Doc representatives
Monsef Benkirane - Paving the way towards elimination of HIV persistent CD4<sup>+</sup> T cell in vivo
Monsef Benkirane, is director of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology at the CNRS Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier, France and a leading international expert for research towards an HIV cure. Monsef Benkirane will visit the MPI-IE on Friday, April, 7th 2017. His talk entitled “Paving the way towards elimination of HIV persistent CD4+ T cell in vivo” starts in the Main Lecture Hall at 13:00.

CV

Monsef Benkirane obtained his PhD in Immunology at the Université d’Aix-Marseille, France and was a Post-Doc at the NIAID Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology (NIH, Bethesda, USA) from 1994-1997. Afterwards he worked as a Research fellow at CNRS, Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier, France and established his current research group. In 2007 he became research director and is now also director of the CNRS Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier, France.


Research

The main interest of Monsef Benkirane and his team is to understand the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression. Their projects aim to determine mechanisms of both activation and repression of viral transcription. Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1), the causative agent of AIDS, is a retrovirus that primarily infects cells of the immune system. The outcome of HIV-1 infection is the result of complex interactions between viral proteins and host cell factors. In most cases, HIV-1 successfully hijacks cellular pathways and bypasses cellular restriction factors for optimal replication, leading to continuous rounds of infection, replication and cell death. Ongoing viral replication causes the loss of CD4+ T cells and progression to immunodeficiency in infected individuals. However, in certain situations, the virus replication can be successfully controlled. In the past years HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy) treatment revealed the existence of a pool of resting memory CD4+ T cells harboring integrated, but silent HIV-1 proviruses and there are also HIV-infected individuals, who can control the virus to undetectable levels for many years in the absence of any treatment. A common feature of these two situations is that viral replication is controlled at the gene expression level. A major challenge in the HIV field is to understand how, in these naturally occurring situations, the intracellular defense and/or immune response win the battle against HIV. Our main objectives are to identify the host factors and define the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression and to explore the involvement of cellular small non-coding RNAs in virus replication. We also use viruses as tools to understand important cellular processes, such as transcription and RNAi.

source: lab page

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