However, individual viruses, such as the HI virus, still manage to enter the body via the mucous membrane somehow. Cell biologists from the University of Zurich have now identified a new infection mechanism, demonstrating that the viruses use the body’s own scavenger cells for the infection. The new findings are important for cancer-gene therapy and the development of anti-viral medication.
Mucosal epithelia do not have any receptors on the outer membrane for the absorption of viruses like hepatitis C, herpes, the adenovirus or polio, and are thus well-protected against pathogenic germs. However, certain viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus HIV, still manage to enter the body via the mucous membrane. Just how this infiltration occurs on a molecular level has been a mystery.
Three hypotheses were discussed: firstly, that it’s caused by mechanical damage to the mucous membrane; secondly, the presence of previously unknown receptors on the mucous membrane cells; and, thirdly, that the viruses are smuggled in via a kind of Trojan horse. Now, for the first time, cell biologists from the University of Zurich have succeeded in identifying the infection mechanism for adenoviruses.
In the recently published online magazine Nature Communications, Verena Lütschg and cell biologists from the Institute of Molecular Biology headed by Urs Greber reveal how type-5 adenoviruses in the lung epithelia utilize an immune response triggered by the infection for the progression of the infection: Adenoviruses use scavenger cells and their subsequent production of antiviral cytokines as a door-opener for the infection of the lung epithelial cells.
Exposure of shielded receptors
Antiviral cytokines play a key role in immunological reactions and trigger inflammatory responses, for instance. They induce the epithelial cells to expose certain receptors that are shielded under normal conditions and thus activate immune cells in defense. For healthy people, an infection of the lung with type-5 adenoviruses is harmless as they merely cause a cold. Under very stressful situations or in the case of chronic respiratory diseases, however, adenoviruses can cause severe, acute infections that can sometimes be fatal.
The recently identified infection mechanism can serve as a model for how the pathogens penetrate the mucosal epithelial cells and enter the body. However, it is also crucial from a therapeutic point of view. Type-5 adenoviruses are already used very often as transport vehicles in cancer-gene therapy today. Knowing the transport route will help develop both this gene therapy and specifically acting cancer treatment further.Literature:
Beat Müller | Universität Zürich
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology