REORGANIZATION MAY DOOM PLANT CELLA reorganization of its majority shareholder could soon closethe doors of Plant Cell Research Institute (PCRI) Inc. of Dublin,Calif., a 10-year-old contract research company.

PCRI is 82 percent-owned by the chemical and agro-industrygiant Montedison SpA of Milan, Italy. Grant Tyler, PCRI'scontroller, told BioWorld on Thursday that the company wouldclose, but he declined to say when.

A spokesman from Montedison would not confirm plans forPCRI's closure. However, he did acknowledge that since sellingits stake in a joint venture with ENI SpA of Italy, Montedison is"reexamining its activities."

PCRI conducts contract and joint product development researchusing genetic engineering to develop pest-resistant plants andhigh-protein soybeans. -- Rachel Nowak


A newly described herpes virus, HHV-6, may increase anindividual's risk of infection by the AIDS virus, HIV-1,according to a report published in today's issue of Nature. Thestudy supports a theory that HHV-6 (human herpes virus) is apotential co-factor in the development of AIDS.

Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Institutes of Health and hiscollaborators, both at the NIH and Advanced BioScienceLaboratories of Kensington, Md., found that HHV-6 inducedexpression of the CD4 cell surface receptor in T lymphocyte celllines and blood-derived T cells. Such cell lines usually do carryCD4 on cell surfaces or become infected by HIV-1 (humanimmunodeficiency virus). CD4 is the molecule through whichHIV-1 gains entry to the T cell and sets up an infection.

Other members of the herpes family did not induce expressionof CD4. Gallo's group plans in vivo studies to further studyHHV-6's possible role in establishing AIDS.-- Cynthia Robbins-Roth, Ph.D.


Syva Co. of Palo Alto, Calif., acquired from Du Pont exclusiveworldwide rights to assay technology and an automatedinstrument system that performs diagnostic testing for thyroidfunction, fertility, cancer, anemia and hepatitis. Syva, a medicaldiagnostics subsidiary of Syntex Corp., plans to start marketingthe system in mid-1992. Financial terms of the deal were notdisclosed.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.