Fluorescent Kitten May Help To Find AIDS Vaccine
“This kitten may have the key to protect humans against HIV, the lentivirus that causes AIDS. He was genetically modified at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. And yes, he glows in the dark.
His fluorescent fur and claws—which glow green in certain lighting—are not a side-effect of the gene that makes the cat resistant to the feline form of the HIV, known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
It’s caused by another gene that produces the Green Fluorescent Protein, which is naturally produced by the jellyfish Aequorea victoria.
The antiviral gene—which comes from a rhesus macaque—produces a less fun but much more useful protein, a restriction factor called TRIMCyp.
This protein can make T-cells—the blood cells that fight infections—resist viruses that cause AIDS in “a wide range of species”, according to Dr Laurence Tiley of the University of Cambridge.”