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Check out our conference report on this year's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meeting on retroviruses, where host cell restriction factors were a major topic of discussion.

It was at this meeting last year when researchers first announced SAMHD1 as the cellular restriction factor that is the target of HIV Vpx (see Research Briefs, IAVI Report, May-June 2011). 

One thing that seems pretty clear at this meeting is that the study of host cell restriction factors that inhibit viral replication or infection (such as Trim5α and tetherin) has been literally exploding in the past ten years. “There has been a remarkable gold rush in interest in restriction factors,” said Jonathan Stoye, a virologist from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London, in his Keynote address on Wednesday. He said that in 2000, the Cold Spring Harbor Retrovirology meeting featured just two talks on such factors, whereas this year, more than a quarter of the talks were about restriction factors.

Monday night, the 37th annual meeting on retroviruses at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory started with its first session. The meeting, which takes place here from May 21-26, covers all aspects of retrovirology, although most presentations are on HIV. With 120 talks and almost 200 posters in five days, the meeting is “an intense experience,” said Vineet KewalRamani of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, one of the co-organizers this year.