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 One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

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...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

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...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

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...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

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...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

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)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>