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 Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>