A study of a protein called p7, has revealed that differences in the genetic coding of the protein between virus strains - known as genotypes - alter the sensitivity of the virus to drugs that block its function.
The p7 protein assists the spread of HCV around the body and is a promising target for new drug treatments for the virus. Its role was discovered in 2003 by Dr Steve Griffin with Professors Mark Harris and Dave Rowlands of the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences. In laboratory tests their latest research shows that inhibiting p7 with drugs can prevent the spread of HCV.
“One of the challenges in finding treatments for viruses is their ability to constantly change their genetic makeup,” says Professor Harris. “Our research shows there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to treating HCV with p7 inhibitors in the future. We believe combination treatments will work much more efficiently, as they take into account the variability of the p7 protein.”
Approximately 180 million people worldwide are infected by HCV, which causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to liver failure or liver cancer. Spread by contact with infected blood or other bodily fluids, there is no vaccine against the disease which is largely asymptomatic in its early stages. The disease is currently treated with broad spectrum, non-specific anti-viral drugs.
Dr Griffin and Prof. Harris examined the response of HCV to a panel of compounds including the well known anti-viral drug, rimantadine, which targets a similar protein in the flu virus. They found that the drug’s effectiveness was altered depending on the genetic makeup of the p7 protein.
“We ‘borrowed’ rimantadine to test its effects because p7 behaves similarly to a protein found in the flu virus,” says Dr Griffin. “ Although rimantadine works well in the laboratory, we now need to develop new drugs specifically targeted against p7 that we can take forward for future therapies.”
Clare Elsley | alfa
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy