Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Resisting the flu

16.01.2014
New avenues for influenza control suggested by identification of an enzyme that plays a crucial role in resistance to the infection

McGill researchers, led by Dr. Maya Saleh of the Department of Medicine, have identified an enzyme, cIAP2 that helps the lungs protect themselves from the flu by giving them the ability to resist tissue damage.


Lung tissue from cIAP2-deficient mice showing effects on epithelial cells of influenza infection

Image credit: Claudia Champagne, McGill University

“It’s a discovery that offers exciting new avenues for controlling influenza, since until now attempts to target the virus itself have proven challenging, especially in the face of emerging new strains of the virus,” says Saleh, who is also a researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). “The results from our study now suggest that one effective way of countering influenza infections may instead be offered by enhancing the body’s resistance to the virus.”

Like many other battles, fighting the flu is a combination of both control and defence.

On the one hand, on the control end of the process, our immune system comes into play to prevent the virus from replicating inside our cells, and attacking with increasing strength. At the same time, on the defensive side, our bodies need to actively resist the destruction and harmful cell death that is caused by the virus.

By investigating the role played by cIAP2 in mice with the H1N1 influenza A virus, what Saleh and her team discovered was that the enzyme is necessary to control the nature of cell death during influenza infection. They found that cIAP2, which functions by modifying and activating survival factors in the cell, steers the body away from an inflammatory and auto-destructive process known as necrotic death. The enzyme is, in effect, a gatekeeper of cell death.

In its absence, the same factors that depend on cIAP2 to keep the cell alive, reveal a destructive side and induce a harmful form of cell death. cIAP2 therefore not only protects the infected cells from dying in such a manner, but also protects uninfected neighbouring cells in the same tissue. By doing so, this enzyme increases the resistance of the lung to influenza infection and associated pathology.

The researchers believe that the identification of this pathway of resistance to flu opens a number of avenues for future drug development. Ian Rodrigue-Gervais is a post-doctoral fellow in Prof. Saleh’s lab and one of the authors on the paper. According to him, what is truly exciting about this discovery is that it suggests that it may be possible to suppress features of flu-inflicted tissue injury. “What we saw in this study is that if the enzyme cIAP2 is present, the host can better tolerate the infection and then reduce the illness.”

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG)/Abbott, the Strauss Foundation, the Kidney Cancer Association and the National Institutes of Health.

To read the full article, ‘Cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein cIAP2 regulates pulmonary tissue necrosis and host survival to influenza A virus infection’ by Rodrigue-Gervais et al in Cell Host & Microbe: http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/home


Researcher contacts for French and English interviews
Team leader: maya.saleh@mcgill.ca
Post-doctoral researcher: ian.rodrigue-gervais@mail.mcgill.ca
http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/
http://twitter.com/McGillU
Contact Information
Contact: Katherine Gombay
Organization: Media Relations Office
Email: katherine.gombay@mcgill.ca
Office Phone: 514-398-2189

Katherine Gombay | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies
24.04.2015 | University of Manchester

nachricht Caring for blindness: A new protein in sight?
22.04.2015 | NSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)

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: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrons Move Like Light in Three-Dimensional Solid

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Connecting Three Atomic Layers Puts Semiconducting Science on Its Edge

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies

24.04.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>