Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery points to new approach to fight dengue virus

12.04.2013
Researchers have discovered that rising temperature induces key changes in the dengue virus when it enters its human host, and the findings represent a new approach for designing vaccines against the aggressive mosquito-borne pathogen.
The researchers found that the dengue virus particles swell slightly and take on a bumpy appearance when heated to human body temperature, exposing "epitopes," or regions where antibodies could attach to neutralize the virus.

The discovery is significant because it could help to explain why vaccines against dengue have been ineffective, said Michael G. Rossmann, Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.

Scientists have been designing vaccines targeting the virus's smooth appearance found at the cooler temperatures of mosquitoes and ticks.

"The bumpy form of the virus would be the form present in humans, so the optimal dengue virus vaccines should induce antibodies that preferentially recognize epitopes exposed in that form," Rossmann said.

The findings are detailed in a research paper appearing online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers used a technique called cryo-electron microscopy to see the three-dimensional structure of the virus at temperatures ranging from 28-37 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Celsius is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or human body temperature). Findings showed that the virus has a smooth appearance while at the cooler temperatures found in mosquito or tick vectors, but then it morphs into the bumpy form at warmer temperatures before fusing to the host cell and delivering its genetic material.

"These findings were a big surprise," said Richard J. Kuhn, professor and head of Purdue's Department of Biological Sciences and director of the Bindley Bioscience Center. "No one expected to see the virus change its appearance as it moves from the mosquito to humans."

The paper was co-authored by postdoctoral researcher Xinzheng Zhang; lab manager Ju Sheng; postdoctoral researcher Pavel Plevka; Kuhn; Michael S. Diamond, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine; and Rossmann.

Findings also could apply to related infections in the flavivirus family, which includes a number of dangerous insect-borne diseases such as West Nile, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis.

Dengue (pronounced DEN-gç) is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries, causing 50 million to 100 million infections per year. Globally, dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, placing about half the world's population at risk of infection.

The researchers determined that the bumpy form of the virus is more efficient at infecting mammalian cells. The team was able to measure the virus's infectivity using a laboratory procedure where cells are infected in a culture dish. The bumpy shape is an intermediate stage before the virus becomes unstable, releasing its genetic material. The virus is made of subunit molecules that separate when the virus particle expands into its bumpy form, revealing exposed membrane surfaces between the subunits where antibodies might bind.

The work is funded by the National Institutes of Health and Purdue through university support for a structural biology electron microscope facility.

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-3470, venere@purdue.edu
Sources: Michael Rossmann, 765-494-4911, mr@purdue.edu

Richard J. Kuhn, 765-494-4407, kuhnr@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: A copy of the research paper is available from Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows

29.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Researchers discover dust plays prominent role in nutrients of mountain forest ecoystems

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

OLED production facility from a single source

29.03.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>