Having high-resolution detail of this protein on hand will speed the discovery of new drugs to combat inflammation and immune diseases such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers said.
The findings are published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will soon appear in a print edition.
“Now we have a visual blueprint to guide our future studies on interferon-gamma binding protein, which one day may be used to prevent inflammatory disease,” said Mark R. Walter, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology and senior author on the study.
Interferon-gamma binding protein (IFN-y) is notorious for the role it plays in helping poxviruses replicate. Normally when a virus enters the bloodstream, the immune system fights back by producing IFN-y, which tells surrounding cells to fight the infection.
Remarkably, somewhere during the evolution of the poxvirus, it captured an IFN-y gene from its host and incorporated some of the protein structure into its own. As a result poxvirus has a very efficient “blocker” of the IFN-y antiviral response, Walter said.
The new study shows this blocking ability through crystallography, the science of mapping the atomic structure of molecules by looking at their interaction with an X-ray beam.
Poxviruses include many classes of the invasive organism, including smallpox, cowpox and monkeypox. Smallpox in particular has played a tragic role in human history: estimates show it caused between 300 million and 500 million deaths in the 20th Century.
Smallpox was declared officially eradicated in 1979, but other poxviruses remain a health threat.
“The damage that the smallpox virus has done to mankind is horrific and enormous, which is why we think it’s so important to understand more about the poxviruses and how they operate,” said Mark Buller, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and a study author. “The more knowledge we have, the better we should be able to cope with other major viruses and diseases in the future.”
The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
Troy Goodman | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences