A team of researchers, led by scientists from Rockefeller University, for the first time has carried out a comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the antiviral activity of interferon-induced factors. The findings, published online today in the journal Nature, are a first step toward unraveling how these naturally occurring molecules work to inhibit viruses.
“We hope this study will open the door to future work on the mechanisms of antiviral molecules,” says first author John Schoggins, a postdoctoral associate in Charles M. Rice’s Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease at Rockefeller. “Such mechanistic studies may set the stage for the development of new and much needed drugs to combat a diverse array of viruses that pose significant health threats to people worldwide.”
The researchers were interested in type I interferon, a cellular molecule that is made when a person becomes infected with certain viruses. Type I Interferon is used clinically in the treatment of some viral diseases, such as hepatitis C, and its presence has been shown to significantly limit the severity of certain viral infections.
Schoggins and his colleagues, including researchers from the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, systematically evaluated the majority of common interferon-induced genes, one by one, to determine which of them had antiviral activity against a panel of disease-causing viruses, including the hepatitis C virus, HIV, West Nile virus, the yellow fever virus and chikungunya virus.
The scientists used a cell-based “screen” to measure the ability of each gene to halt the growth of the viruses: One by one, genes were delivered into the cells that were then infected with virus. In cells that had no interferon-induced genes delivered, Schoggins and his team observed normal levels of virus replication. In cells that had interferon-induced genes delivered, they occasionally found “hits” that could significantly impair virus replication.
Overall, Schoggins and his colleagues found that each virus tested was susceptible to inhibition by a unique subset of these interferon-induced genes, with some genes having specific effects on only one virus, and other genes having more broad effects on multiple viruses.
The researchers also showed that two genes in combination were more potent than either gene alone, supporting the long-standing hypothesis that many interferon-induced factors work in a combinatorial fashion. A number of the factors, the researchers found, work by interfering with the process by which viral RNA is translated in protein.
“It’s fascinating that evolution has provided us with an array of hundreds of molecules that can be summoned by the host upon viral infection,” says Schoggins. “Even more interesting is that none of these factors on their own are ‘magic bullets’ that can eradicate the virus. Instead, the cell relies on the cooperative action of numerous factors to effectively shut down the virus.”
Schoggins and his colleagues hope their work will ultimately help inform the design of new antiviral drugs.
“This study is a first step toward unraveling how these previously uncharacterized, naturally occurring interferon-induced factors inhibit viruses,” says Rice, who is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor at Rockefeller and scientific director of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C. “In future studies, we hope to reveal the exact mechanisms by which these molecules suppress viral replication. If this can be done, then we will have a platform for the development of novel drugs that may be beneficial for combating viral infections.”
Joseph Bonner | Newswise Science News
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research