Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover key mechanism by which lethal viruses Ebola and Marburg cause disease

18.10.2006
Discovery is expected to lead to new drugs for treatment of certain viral hemorrhagic fevers in humans and apes

Researchers in the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Caribbean Primate Research Center have discovered a key mechanism by which the Filoviruses, Ebola and Marburg, cause disease. The identification of an amino acid sequence in Filoviruses that results in the rapid depression of immunological response is described in the December 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal. Using this information, researchers can begin to develop new drugs to stop these devastating diseases.

Filoviruses, named for their threadlike appearance in electron microscopy (filo= thread in Latin), are associated with outbreaks of fatal hemorrhagic fever in sub-Saharan Africa. Viral hemorrhagic fevers are of specific concern because they are associated with high morbidity and mortality (up to 80% mortality rates) and the potential for rapid dissemination through human-to-human transmission. The term "viral hemorrhagic fever" characterizes a severe multisystem syndrome associated with fever, shock, and bleeding caused by infection with one of a number of viruses, including the Filoviruses Ebola and Marburg.

Both humans and apes are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic fevers, and it is speculated that filovirus infections account at least in part for the recent decline in the gorilla and chimpanzee population in central Africa. There is no cure or approved vaccine for either Marburg or Ebola virus. Immunosuppression occurs early after infection and allows the viruses to reproduce rapidly and cause disease.

"Currently, there is no way to treat most viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, and increased international travel, trafficking in wildlife, political instability, and terrorism have made emerging infectious diseases a global concern," stated W. Ian Lipkin, MD, director of the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at the Mailman School's Department of Epidemiology and professor of Epidemiology, Neurology, and Pathology at Columbia University. "The identification of this new mechanism for immunosuppression is anticipated to lead to new drugs for intervention in filoviral hemorrhagic fevers of humans and apes."

In the study, researchers describe a series of amino acids in Ebola and Marburg viruses that resemble proteins in retroviruses known to suppress the immune system. By targeting these amino acids, new drugs could disrupt the ability of these viruses to shut down immune systems and make them vulnerable to the body's natural defenses.

"This brilliant study shows that many viruses, including HIV, use a similar mechanism to disarm their victims," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The Columbia study has shown us new ways to fight against deadly viruses the world over."

The method for discovering this protein underscores the power of bioinformatics for addressing the challenges of emerging infectious diseases. The investigators are currently exploring whether insights derived from understanding the potency of these immunosuppressive peptides can be exploited to treat autoimmune diseases.

Randee Sacks Levine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.columbia.edu
http://www.fasebj.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>