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
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences