A research team of the Institute of Virology of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna has achieved a major breakthrough in exploring the rabies virus: for the first time, researchers were able to exactly depict the structure of the RNP of this virus that is highly dangerous to terrestrial mammals.
The rabies virus (RABV) (genus Lyssavirus, family Rhabdoviridiae, order Mononegavirales) is the primary causative agent of rabies in terrestrial mammals. Human beings are also massively affected by this mortal danger.
The WHO estimates the annual human death toll to be more than 55,000. The RABV particle consists of a cell derived membrane, in which multiple copies of the surface glycoprotein are anchored, and a helical ribonucleoprotein (RNP), which forms a conical tip at one end.
Although the individual components of the RNP had already been known, the exact structure of an intact RABV-RNP complex had not yet been identified.
Using cryoelectron tomography, an imaging procedure allowing for the three-dimensional representation of the smallest biological structures, and a subsequent computer-assisted analysis by subtomogram averaging, a research team of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna around Christiane Riedel, the study’s first author, and Till Rümenapf, the study’s last author, has now succeeded in doing exactly that.
Two viruses as unlike siblings: similar structures, different appearances
The virus structure consists of a right-handed helix, with the 3’-terminal end of the genome located in the RNP cone, as observed in the related Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Vesicular stomatitis is a virus disease with a mild course that mainly affects hoofed animals and may cause flu-like symptoms in humans.
“In RABV, interactions between M- and N-proteins are responsible for the connection of neighbouring helical turns, while M-M interactions have been described for VSV. This results in a greater distance between the helix turns compared to VSV and, thus, in a shallower angle between the individual RNP turns and the central virus axis. This shows a surprising structural variability of the RNP when comparing VSV and RABV, although the crystal structures of the individual components that had already been determined, i.e. the N- and M-proteins, are highly homologous. To put it differently: Although the individual components of RABV and VSV are very similar, there are significant differences in the architectures of the RNPs of the two viruses,” explains Christiane Riedel.
The article “Cryo EM structure of the rabies virus ribonucleoprotein complex” by Christiane Riedel, Daven Vasishtan, Vojtěch Pražák, Alexander Ghanem, Karl-Klaus Conzelmann and Till Rümenapf was published in Scientific Reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-46126-7
Institute of Virology
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-2705
Nina Grötschl | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
No soil left behind: How a cost-effective technology can enrich poor fields
10.10.2019 | International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Cheap as chips: identifying plant genes to ensure food security
09.10.2019 | University of Göttingen
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
21.10.2019 | Materials Sciences
21.10.2019 | Materials Sciences
21.10.2019 | Medical Engineering