These strategies could be considered intelligent, calculated actions, since viruses can either take over some of the cell’s components and use them for their own benefit or deactivate particular functions of the cell in order to allow for a more effective and trouble free infection process.
This very interesting subject has been the focus of the investigations of the “Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa” (CBMSO; UAM-CSIC) working together with the “Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB; CSIC)”.
The outcome of their research on viral strategies that affect cellular functions has recently been published.
For several years, Professor Margarita Salas from the CBMSO has dedicated part of her research efforts to the study of the replication mechanism of virus 29, which infects the Bacillus subtilis, harmless bacteria commonly found in the soil. Her work has contributed towards a better understanding of the interactions between the viruses and their target cells at a molecular level. In an article published last year in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Vol. 281: 7068-7074; 2006), Professor Salas and her team described an important discovery: the protein p56 of virus 29 inhibits the activity of the cellular protein uracil-DNA-glycosylase (UDG). It is known that this enzyme, present in all living organisms, is involved in the DNA repair processes and hence, it avoids mutations in the cellular genome.
In order to carry out its function, the UDG enzyme first identifies the damaged DNA by locating uracil residues and then attaches itself to the DNA to repair it. Recently, Professor Salas team, in collaboration with the research group managed by Professor Manuel Espinosa from the CIB, have published their new discoveries in Nucleic Acids Research (Vol. 35: 5393-5401; 2007), recounting how the viral protein p56 manages to inhibit the activity of the UDG enzyme. Their experiments show that the protein p56 conceals the part of the UDG enzyme that interacts with the damaged DNA so that there is no possibility of attachment.
The protein p56 might accomplish this by imitating the structural characteristics of DNA in order to mislead the UDG enzyme. If the theory is corroborated, this would be another case of molecular mimesis as an enzyme inhibitor technique. The future work by Professor Salas and her team will be dedicated to substantiating this hypothesis.
Oficina de Cultura Científica | alfa
When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences