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 GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>