Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scavenger cells accomplices to viruses

21.07.2011
Mucosal epithelia are well-protected against pathogenic germs.

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:
Verena Lütschg, Karin Boucke, Silvio Hemmi, Urs F. Greber, Chemotactic antiviral cytokines promote infectious apical entry of human adenovirus into polarized epithelial cells, Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1391
Contact:
Prof. Urs Greber, University of Zurich, Institute of Molecular Biology
Tel. +41 44 635 48 41, E-Mail urs.greber@imls.uzh.ch

Beat Müller | Universität Zürich
Further information:
http://www.imls.uzh.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Method uses DNA, nanoparticles and lithography to make optically active structures

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>