New research into the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), a tick-borne virus which causes a severe hemorrhagic disease in humans similar to that caused by Ebolavirus, has identified new cellular factors essential for CCHFV infection. This discovery has the potential to lead to novel targets for therapeutic interventions against the pathogen.
The research, reported in a paper published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens and conducted by scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and their colleagues, represents a milestone in efforts to develop a treatment for CCHFV, which has a fatality rate approaching 30%.
"This new research is the first to indicate where the virus penetrates into the cell to infect it, revealing the site at which a drug therapy would need to act," said Robert Davey, Ph.D., of the Texas Biomed Department of Virology and Immunology, who led the research.
The virus is endemic to much of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and recent studies have detected CCHFV in ticks collected in Spain, indicating that the virus continues to spread. CCHFV killed a US Army serviceman stationed in Afghanistan in 2009, and was initially mistaken for Ebolavirus.
CCHFV is primarily transmitted to people from ticks and from infected livestock during the slaughtering process, although human-to-human transmission can occur from close contact with blood or other fluids from infected persons. There are no widely accepted therapies available to prevent or treat the disease.
Virus entry into the cell is the first and critical step in the virus replication cycle. To better understand the pathway for infection, researchers sought to identify cell proteins controlling CCHFV transport through the cell.
Dr. Olena Shtanko, a postdoctoral scientist in the lab, demonstrated that after passing through early endosomes, membrane-bound vesicles within cells, the virus is delivered to multivesicular bodies which are made from large collections of these vesicles. Findings suggested that these multivesicular bodies are critical for infection by CCHFV, being the sites where the virus first penetrates into the cytoplasm to start replicating and taking over the cell.
"The next step in the process is to now identify drugs that can prevent interaction of the virus with the multivesicular bodies" Davey said.
Several new drug candidates are presently being tested by Shtanko with promising results.
Several other important viruses, like influenza virus (cause of the flu) and Lassa fever virus also use multivesicular bodies to infect cells. The identified drugs have the potential to be developed into broad spectrum antiviral treatments.
The research was funded by the Ewing Halsell Foundation, Douglass Foundation and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). In addition to Davey and Shtanko, co-authors of the PLoS Pathogens article included Raisa Nikitina and Alexander Chepurnov of the Institute for Clinical Immunology in Novosibirsk, Russian Federation, and Cengiz Altuntas of the Texas Institute of Biotechnology Education and Research at the North American University in Houston.
Texas Biomed, formerly the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, is one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Located on a 200-acre campus on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas, the Institute partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world to study the genetics of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, psychiatric disorders and other diseases, and to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, Ebola virus and other hemorrhagic fever viruses, and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria, schistosomiasis and Chagas disease. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to http://www.TxBiomed.org.
Lisa Cruz | Eurek Alert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
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,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy