Yan Zhou and her team have discovered how a crucial pathway that supports the influenza A virus's ability to reproduce itself is activated, a finding that could pave the way for new drugs and vaccines.
The paper will appear in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of General Virology and recently has been given advance on-line publication.
"The work we are doing will be applicable to all influenza viruses, including influenza A virus subtype H5N1," said VIDO Director Lorne Babiuk.
Zhou says that although years of research remain to be done, this work provides novel insights for developing live vaccines and antiviral drugs for influenza epidemics and pandemics. A provisional patent has been filed on the findings.
"Given the health, economic and social consequences of influenza epidemics, the work of Dr. Zhou and her team demonstrates the importance of building influenza research capacity in Canada," said Dr. Bhagirath Singh, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity.
"Their research findings may help to develop new influenza treatments and prevent the disease, as well as add to global pandemic preparedness research."
To survive, the influenza virus hijacks the host animal or human's cellular machinery and forces it to make more copies of the virus. The researchers believe that the cellular events involved in this process are an excellent target for interventions against influenza.
The study revealed novel characteristics of a protein, called NS1, that activates a key pathway in the virus's reproduction. This information will help the researchers learn how to create harmless influenza viruses that can be used as live vaccines.
The pathway can be thought of as an assembly line with a switch to turn it on, says Zhou. "If the switch is turned on, the pathway enables efficient production of more viruses. But only the NS1 protein can turn on the switch."
The researchers are investigating genes and proteins of the influenza viruses of swine, horses and birds to see how they activate downstream cellular signalling pathways. To do this, they are using reverse genetics technology, where researchers begin with a gene and figure out its function.
These studies will allow the team to identify the genes that enable the virus to cause disease, laying the groundwork for antiviral drug development.
"Increasingly, new diseases involve both humans and animals," said Andrew Potter,VIDO's Associate Director (Research). "VIDO's background in veterinary research means that when diseases like avian influenza develop, we have the resources to begin studying the disease fairly quickly."
Marie-France Poirier | EurekAlert!
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine