The CHEETAH Center is one of three NIGMS Research Centers launched in 2007 under the program for Determination of Structures of HIV/Host Complexes funded by the NIH. Recently, two new Centers joined the efforts focused on understanding of the HIV host cell that are critical to the viral life cycle with the existing centers that recently received renewed funding for another five years. Currently, all five Specialized Centers for the Determination of Structures of HIV/Host Complexes are co-funded by NIGMS and NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
The UCSF/Berkeley Center for HIV Accessory and Regulatory Complexes (HARC) is headed by Alan Frankel. The HARC Center is focused upon determining structures of five HIV proteins (Integrase, Tat, Rev, Vif and Nef) and their complexes with a diverse array of cellular partners, including host proteins and RNA or DNA. These proteins and their complexes perform essential regulatory and acccessory functions during the viral lifecycle.
The University of Pittsburgh Center for HIV Protein Interactions (PCHPI) is led by Angela Gronenborn and specializes in developing a structure determination pipeline to image pivotal events occurring right after the virus fuses with the host cell. The Center is aimed at establishing a framework for computationally predicting important cellular partners for HIV and for experimentally validating such predictions.
The University of Michigan Center for RNA Studies (CRNA) is led by Alice Telesnitsky and specialized in studying the structure of viral RNA and its interactions with viral and host proteins. Because RNA is less amenable to structural analysis than proteins are, the research are developing approaches to overcome this technical challenge. their work could help identify RNA-based targets for HIV treatments as well as shed light on multiple biological functions of the viral genome.
The Scripps Research Institute Center for HIV Interaction and Viral Evolution (HIVE) is lead by Arthur Olson and focused on interactions of major HIV enzymes, structural proteins and their partners, particular as the virus mutates. Through structural, biochemical studies, the research team is investigating how these interactions affect the virus's function and its response to selective pressure imposed by drug used in AIDS therapy.