Two views of the adenovirus protease, an enzyme required for viral replication. DNA, depicted by the white "sticks," is shown binding to the enzyme on the right. Drugs that prevent the DNA from binding should prevent the virus from replicating and stop an infection.
May serve as new target for antiviral drugs
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have produced the first molecular-scale images of DNA binding to an adenovirus enzyme — a step they believe is essential for the virus to cause infection. The images, which appear on the cover of the October 2004 issue of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, show how binding to DNA may stimulate the enzyme and are already being used to design new antiviral drugs to block this interaction.
“We were quite surprised to see that DNA actually stimulated the activity of the enzyme,” said Brookhaven biologist Walter Mangel, a co-author on the paper. “If we can block this interaction, we should be able to prevent the virus from replicating, and thereby thwart infection.”
Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
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