Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify potential new target for treating hepatitis C

30.03.2010
Inhibitor that binds to genetic material may prevent virus from replicating

A team of scientists including University of Utah researchers has discovered that binding of a potent inhibitor of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) to the genetic material of the virus causes a major conformational change that may adversely affect the ability of the virus to replicate.

This discovery, published in the March 29 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a potential new target for structure-based design of new hepatitis C treatments.

Hepatitis C is a major public health problem affecting as many as 170 million people worldwide, with 2 million to 3 million new cases diagnosed each year. In the United States, HCV infection is the major cause of liver cancer and liver transplantation and it results in the death of approximately 10,000 people each year. Currently, the most effective treatment for hepatitis C is an agent called pegylated interferon, which is often combined with an antiviral drug called ribavirin.

"The available therapies for hepatitis C infection have limited effectiveness, with less than a 50 percent response," says Darrell R. Davis, Ph.D., the lead author and professor and interim chair of medicinal chemistry and professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah. "However, small molecules that inhibit viral replication have been reported and they represent potential opportunities for new, more effective HCV treatments."

HCV is a member of the Flaviviridae family of viruses, which also includes the viruses that cause yellow fever and dengue. There are six major genotypes of HCV, which differ slightly in their genetic constitution and vary in their response to treatment. HCV has a single strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) as its genetic material and the virus replicates by copying this RNA. Previous research has shown that the three-dimensional structure of HCV RNA appears to be crucial for initiating the viral replication process.

Davis and his colleagues, including scientists from Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Carlsbad, Calif., studied a potent small-molecule HCV replication inhibitor called Isis-11 to understand how it inhibits viral replication. They discovered that Isis-11 binds to a region of the viral RNA that is common to all six genotypes of HCV, altering the structure in a way that likely prevents the synthesis of viral proteins. The Isis-11 inhibitor effectively eliminated a bent RNA conformation that other laboratories have shown is required for the proper function of the HCV genomic RNA.

"Binding of Isis-11 resulted in a major conformational change in a specific region of HCV RNA that is thought to be critical for viral replication," says Davis. "This alteration in structure provides a possible mechanism for the antiviral activity of Isis-11 and other HCV replication inhibitors in that chemical class."

It is possible that, because HCV replication inhibitors like Isis-11 bind to a region of RNA that is conserved among all genotypes of the virus, they might be effective against a majority of HCV genotypes. Davis and his colleagues also noted that Isis-11 binds with low affinity to HCV RNA, resulting in a relatively loose bond and suggesting that there is considerable potential for optimizing this class of HCV replication inhibitors by modifying them to have tighter bonds to the genetic material of the virus.

"Now that we know the structure of the inhibitor-found form of the HCV RNA we can use this structure as a basis for a design strategy that will increase the anti-viral activity of these inhibitors," says Davis. "Hopefully, our findings will eventually lead to a new class of highly potent and specific HCV therapeutics."

Isis Pharmaceuticals provided the Isis compound for this study, but did not give any funding for the research.

Phil Sahm | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

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”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

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...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>