Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clue found to Epstein-Barr virus' ability to form and sustain tumors

07.09.2006
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) have found a viral target that opens the door for the development of drugs to destroy tumors caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

The finding, published in the Sept. 4 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online, identifies the activity of a critical segment of a viral protein required to sustain EBV-related tumors. The researchers found that when they blocked this activity, the virus life cycle was broken.

Often linked to infectious mononucleosis, EBV also causes cancers that kill 100,000 people around the world each year. The virus, which infects the immune system's B cells and causes them to grow, is directly responsible for Burkitt's lymphoma, an often-fatal malignancy affecting thousands of African children annually. It is also causally associated with at least four other kinds of human cancers, including Hodgkin's lymphomas, lymphomas in AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients as well as nasopharyngeal carcinomas.

The SMPH researchers, based at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, focused on a viral protein they had previously found to be necessary to keeping Burkitt's lymphoma cells alive and growing in culture. The protein, called Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1), is the only protein the virus makes in all EBV-positive tumors.

... more about:
»Cellular »EBNA-1 »EBV »Epstein-Barr »Sugden »amino acid »lymphoma

"We've been trying to identify specific functions of EBNA-1 that we could target therapeutically," says Bill Sugden, professor of oncology who has studied EBV for more than 30 years. "Our goal is to develop a successful anti-viral, anti-tumor therapy for all EBV-positive tumors."

In the current study, Sugden and his colleague of 20 years, Wolfgang Hammerschmidt, now based at the German National Research Center for Environment and Health, designed genetic experiments to mutate various segments of the 640 amino acids that make up the EBNA-1 protein, which is one of about 100 proteins EBV encodes. They then infected human B cells with EBVs carrying various mutant EBNA-1s.

The analysis showed that one 25-amino acid segment within EBNA-1 was responsible for the regulation of viral gene transcription, the first step in the process by which a gene's coded information is converted first into RNA and then into protein.

Mutating the unique segment of amino acids prevented EBNA-1 from transforming resting B cells into proliferating cells.

Under normal conditions, a cellular protein binds this 25-amino acid segment of EBNA-1, allowing transcription of viral and cellular genes regulated by EBNA-1 to occur. Hammerschmidt and Sugden are now trying to identify the cellular protein.

"If we can identify this protein, it will be easier for us to develop assays to screen for small molecules that will compete with the protein in binding to EBNA-1," Sugden says. "By preventing the cellular protein from binding with the segment, EBNA-1 will not be able to carry out its function and the tumor cells it sustains will die."

The goal, which Sugden expects is achievable, is to end up with a drug that kills only EBV-positive tumor cells and doesn't harm other tissues in the body.

Dian Land | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

Further reports about: Cellular EBNA-1 EBV Epstein-Barr Sugden amino acid lymphoma

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>