The discovery, published this week in the Journal of Virology, could reveal new targets for broad-spectrum antivirals to combat current – and perhaps future – strains of influenza A viruses.
The study is the first to compare the role played by human microRNAs – small molecules that control the expression of multiple genes – in the life cycle of two viruses of continued concern to public health officials around the world.
"We know that microRNAs are implicated in many types of cancers and other human diseases, but focusing on microRNA signatures in viral infection breaks new ground," says François Jean, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Scientific Director of the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER) at UBC.
The study discovered two largely distinct sets of microRNAs involved in pandemic (2009) swine-origin H1N1 virus and the highly pathogenic avian-origin H7N7 strain, with only a small subset of microRNAs involved in the regulation of both infections.
"Host-virus interplays are certainly complex, but our discovery points to a new level of cross-communication between viruses and the human cells in which they reproduce," notes Jean. "The finding that a significant number of these microRNAs are transported in microparticles – known as exosomes –involved in intercellular communication is also very exciting. It raises the question as to what role these exosome-associated regulators may play in the onset and spread of the flu virus."
Jean believes that the discovery of the unique microRNA signatures associated with pandemic and deadly flu viruses will assist in developing antiviral treatments that don't run the risk of increasing drug resistance. "Future research on microRNAs could help us develop novel antiviral treatments, adding desperately needed drugs to our current therapeutic repertoire against upcoming flu pandemics."
The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Francois Jean | EurekAlert!
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences