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!
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy