The findings are published in the June 6, 2013 issue of Nature Communications.
HSV-1 is a persistent and problematic pathogen. Typically, it infects victims through oral secretions (kissing, sharing a contaminated toothbrush) or through openings in the skin. In healthy people, the result may be cold sores or fever blisters. In people with compromised immune systems, HSV-1 can pose more serious and chronic health problems.
It can spread, for example, to organs like the brain, lungs and liver, where the infection may become life-threatening. Some patients, such as those with atopic dermatitis – a common form of eczema that accounts for roughly 20 percent of all dermatologic referrals, are especially vulnerable to serious complications stemming from an HSV-1 infection.
Led by principal investigator Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of UC San Diego's Division of Dermatology, the scientists found that HSV-1 launches an infection by binding to receptors on the surface of skin cells. Ordinarily, if a cell recognizes the virus as an invader, an immune response is immediately triggered, which includes a group of proteins called scavenger receptors that help identify and remove harmful viruses.
But sometimes the process goes awry. While studying HSV-1 and scavenger receptors in cultured human skin cells, Gallo and colleagues in the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discovered that the virus strongly interacts with a particular receptor called a macrophage receptor with collagenous structure or MARCO, which it uses to gain entry into cells.
In tests comparing mice expressing normal levels of MARCO with mice genetically engineered to lack the receptor, the scientists found that MARCO enhanced the virus' ability to infect cells. Mice lacking the receptor suffered dramatically smaller skin lesions than normal mice with normal levels of MARCO. In a different experiment, the application of chemicals that prevented the virus from binding to MARCO resulted in much-smaller lesions on normal mice.
Gallo said the findings were surprising. "We would have predicted that MARCO would help resist infection," he said, noting it was the first evidence that a scavenger receptor, part of the body's defense system against viral invaders, might actually aid and abet HSV-1 infection.
The research suggests that development of new therapies preventing HSV-1-MARCO interaction may measurably reduce the degree and risk of serious HSV-1-related complications in atopic dermatitis patients and others. The scientists plan to follow up with testing in atopic dermatitis patients, and investigate whether other skin viruses also use the same infection pathway.
Co-authors are Daniel T. MacLeod and Kenshi Yamasaki, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, UCSD; Teruaki Nakatsuji, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, UCSD and Veterans Affairs San Diego Health Care System; and Lester Kobzik, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Funding for this research came, in part, from The Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (grant HHSN272201000020C) and National Institutes of Health grants T32 AR062496, R01 A1052453, R01 Ai0833358 and R01 ES110008.
Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
26.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy