Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computer-Aided Influenza Virus Vaccine Created

18.06.2010
A team of molecular biologists and computer scientists at Stony Brook University have used a novel method to weaken (attenuate) influenza virus by way of designing hundreds of mutations to its genetic code to create an effective vaccine. Reported online and in the July issue of Nature Biotechnology, the method may be a major step in developing more effective and safe vaccines against influenza, which claims 250,000 to 500,000 lives annually worldwide, partly because existing vaccines are not fully effective.

The research is an outgrowth of years of investigation by a team headed by Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University. In 2002, Dr. Wimmer and colleagues synthesized and generated poliovirus, the first artificial synthesis of any virus.

Two years ago, they designed and synthesized a new class of attenuated polio viruses. Viruses attenuated by traditional means often make effective vaccines but sometimes mutate to regain virulence. The creation of synthetic viruses nearly eliminates the possibility of the virus regaining virulence.

In their latest research, the same method that the team used to create weakened synthetic polio viruses was employed to design an influenza vaccine. They found this vaccine effective and safe against influenza in mice.

“Essentially, we have rewritten the virus’ genetic instructions manual in a strange dialect of genetic code that is difficult for the host cell machinery to understand,” says Steffen Mueller, Ph.D., Senior Author and Research Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. “This poor line of communication leads to inefficient translation of viral protein and, ultimately, to a very weak virus that proves to be ideal for immunization.”

Dr. Mueller and colleagues made a synthetic influenza virus (strain A/PR/8/34) containing hundreds of changes in its genetic code. The changes they chose are commonly referred to as “silent” mutations because they do not alter the proteins that the virus produces. However, through computer algorithms developed by the researchers, mutations are arranged such that the resulting viral genome will produce less of those proteins, a process called “de-optimization,” a weakening of the virus.

“We used our ‘death by a thousand cuts’ method to create the mutated synthetic virus,” says Dr. Mueller. “Because the synthetic sequence contains hundreds of changes, the synthetic virus has essentially no possibility of regaining virulence.”

The researchers call the process “Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering,” or “SAVE.” They believe the SAVE approach can be applied to any emerging influenza virus strain. If shown applicable to influenza in humans, the SAVE method could become an essential tool in developing vaccines that may be effective against seasonal and pandemic influenza threats.

The Stony Brook team discovered that very small amounts of the new synthetic influenza virus safely and effectively immunized mice against an otherwise lethal virus strain. The synthetic virus did not cause disease in the animals unless given at doses about 1000-fold higher than the dose needed for immunization.

Titled “Live attenuated influenza virus vaccines by computer-aided rational design,” the journal piece summarizes the researchers’ scientific approach to developing synthetic virus vaccines. The research is supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Stony Brook University.

Dr. Mueller’s co-authors include: Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D., J. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., Anjaruwee Nimnual, Ph.D., and Bruce Futcher, Ph.D., of the SBU Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; and Dimitris Papamichail, Ph.D., Charles B. Ward, Ph.D., and Steven Skiena, Ph.D., of the SBU Department of Computer Science.

Greg Filiano | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.stonybrook.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>