Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 11 April describes how the Imperial College London team discovered the mechanism allowing Vaccinia virus to shed its outer lipid membrane and enter cells. The mechanism is unique in virology and paves the way for development of new antiviral drugs.
Many viruses, such as influenza, are surrounded by a single lipid membrane, or envelope, and to enter cells this membrane must be removed. Previously, all enveloped viruses were thought to shed their lipid membrane by fusion with a cell membrane which allows the virus core to be released into the cell.
In contrast, the extracellular form of Vaccinia virus has two lipid membranes, meaning a single fusion event will not release a naked virus core into the cell. The researchers found that interactions between polyanionic or negatively charged molecules on the cell surface and glycoproteins on the virus particle caused a non-fusogenic disruption of the virus outer envelope, allowing the poxvirus to enter the cell.
As well as discovering how the double membrane problem is solved, the researchers demonstrated that polyionic compounds can be used to treat poxvirus infections, even days after infection has started. Disrupting the outer membrane with polyanionic compounds exposes the virus, allowing antiviral antibodies to be more effective. The disruption of the outer membrane also limits the spread of the virus in the body.
Professor Geoffrey L. Smith FRS, from Imperial College London and a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, said: “This work has uncovered a completely novel biological process. It increases our understanding of how viruses can manipulate biological membranes and will help the development of new drugs against poxviruses, such as variola virus, the cause of smallpox.”
The research team included Mansun Law, Gemma C. Carter, Kim L. Roberts, Michael Hollinshead and Geoffrey L. Smith.
The researchers have filed a patent for this discovery with Imperial Innovations, the College’s spin out arm.
Tony Stephenson | alfa
A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich
New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine