Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Damming and damning hemorrhagic diseases

11.05.2015

Rift Valley fever virus' proteins imitate human DNA repair factors, say University of Montreal scientists. Using drugs to dam this chemical reaction would condemn the disease's infectiousness

A potential mechanism to combat diseases caused by haemorrhagic fever viruses has been discovered by researchers at the University of Montreal's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.


Rift Valley fever virus' proteins imitate human DNA repair factors, say University of Montreal scientists. Using drugs to dam this chemical reaction would condemn the disease's infectiousness.

Credit: University of Montreal (officially Université de Montréal)

These diseases present a dramatic risk to human health as they often spread quickly and kill a high percentage of infected individuals, as demonstrated by the recent Ebola outbreaks. Effective treatments such as vaccines and drug therapies are not available for many of these infections since the outbreaks mostly occur in developing countries with limited financial resources.

Moreover, the genomes of many haemorrhagic fever viruses mutate rapidly, enabling them to quickly adapt to potential drug treatments and evade the immune system. "Although our work does not directly lead to treatments on a short term, it does identify a process where the virus could be vulnerable to drug therapy, or how we might design an attenuated viral strain for vaccine development," said first author Normand Cyr, a postdoctoral researcher.

"Identification of the Achilles heels of haemorrhagic fever viruses like the Rift Valley fever virus will help inspire additional research and eventually lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies to treat these deadly tropical infections."

The research was supervised by senior co-author Professor James Omichinski and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS). "Our group used Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy studies to investigate the structural properties of an important viral protein required for virulence of the Rift Valley fever virus, a virus that causes infections in both humans and livestock similar to the Ebola virus," Omichinski explained.

"Viral proteins such as the Non-structural protein (NSs) studied here bind to the transcription machinery of human cells via the p62 subunit of the TFIIH protein complex, which leads to the formation of nuclear filaments that are essential for propagation of the virus. The structural details reported show that the viral protein uses a simple so-called ΩXaV motif that is similar to that found in human DNA repair proteins, and blocking this binding event with drugs would certainly weaken the virulence of the virus."

"Viruses and other infectious agents mutate and constantly adapt to treatments. Therefore, it is critical to conduct this type of basic research so that humans can stay one step ahead of potential outbreaks of viral infections, which is one of the core missions of our Department," said Professor Christian Baron, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.

"The structural biology facilities at Université de Montréal are cutting edge, thanks to important investments from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and these facilities are helping us to unravel the molecular details of how the Rift Vally fever virus functions," Omichinski added.

The University of Montreal team worked in collaboration with senior co-author Kylene Kehn-Hall's group at the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases in the United States, as the US team has specialized biosafety level 3 facilities where they can work with such contagious viruses.

Indeed, Americans and Canadians have every reason to be concerned about the future of this line of research. "Climate changes and world-wide travel are increasing the risk of haemorrhagic fever viruses even in Canada. Warmer temperatures and increased travel are bringing such tropical diseases much closer to home and as a result we cannot afford to ignore the global health status of populations in other countries. It is therefore critical that we gain more knowledge into the molecular details of viral function so that we can develop more effective treatments and control the spread of these diseases," Omichinski said.

###

About this study:

Cyr, Omichinski and their colleagues published "A ΩXaV motif in the Rift Valley fever virus NSs protein is essential for degrading p62, forming nuclear filaments and virulence" in the PNAS Early Edition on April 27, 2015. Work in the Omichinski laboratory is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The University of Montreal is officially known as Université de Montréal.

Media Contact

William Raillant-Clark
rw.raillantclark@gmail.com
514-566-3813

 @uMontreal_news

http://bit.ly/mNqklw  

William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
22.08.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>