Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover how Ebola virus infects cells

15.04.2005


Finding could lead to treatments for viral hemorrhagic fevers



Ebola virus reproduction in laboratory-grown cells is severely hampered by enzyme-inhibiting chemicals, and these chemicals deserve further study as possible treatments for Ebola virus infections in humans, report scientists supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The researchers, whose paper is published online today in Science Express, identified two cellular enzymes Ebola virus must have to reproduce. When those enzymes are blocked, the virus loses most of its infectivity, the scientists found.


Ebola virus, like the Marburg virus now alarming Angola, is a filovirus, a family of viruses that cause severe and frequently fatal hemorrhagic fevers. "Finding medical countermeasures for viral hemorrhagic fevers is a global public health priority because not only do these diseases occur naturally but they also have the potential to be unleashed by bioterrorists," says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

"This new research sheds light on the mechanism Ebola virus uses to enter cells," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "These findings raise the possibility of a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy that could be effective against multiple hemorrhagic fever viruses."

Senior author James M. Cunningham, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and his colleagues discovered two cellular enzymes that the Ebola virus co-opts and uses to cut up one of the virus’ surface proteins. Once this protein is snipped apart, the virus is free to begin multiplying. The scientists applied broad-spectrum enzyme inhibitors to mammalian cells before exposing them to Ebola virus. When one specific cellular enzyme, cathepsin B, was inhibited, the infectivity of Ebola virus dropped to near zero. An accessory role is played by another cellular enzyme, cathepsin L, the scientists determined.

Inhibitors of cathepsins are already under clinical development as anti-cancer drugs. The authors write, "Further investigation of the antiviral efficacy of [enzyme] inhibitors may…be warranted. The wealth of existing knowledge regarding the design and in vivo pharmacology of these inhibitors may facilitate development of an anti-Ebola-virus therapy."

The work was done in collaboration with Nancy J. Sullivan, Ph.D., of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center.

The paper’s lead author, Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, is supported by a career development award from the NIAID Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE) program. In 2003, NIAID funded the establishment of eight RCEs nationwide. The RCE program supports interdisciplinary research aimed at new and improved therapies, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools to protect against the threat of bioterrorism and other emerging and re-emerging diseases.

Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>