The discovery, published this week in the Journal of Virology, could reveal new targets for broad-spectrum antivirals to combat current – and perhaps future – strains of influenza A viruses.
The study is the first to compare the role played by human microRNAs – small molecules that control the expression of multiple genes – in the life cycle of two viruses of continued concern to public health officials around the world.
"We know that microRNAs are implicated in many types of cancers and other human diseases, but focusing on microRNA signatures in viral infection breaks new ground," says François Jean, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Scientific Director of the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER) at UBC.
The study discovered two largely distinct sets of microRNAs involved in pandemic (2009) swine-origin H1N1 virus and the highly pathogenic avian-origin H7N7 strain, with only a small subset of microRNAs involved in the regulation of both infections.
"Host-virus interplays are certainly complex, but our discovery points to a new level of cross-communication between viruses and the human cells in which they reproduce," notes Jean. "The finding that a significant number of these microRNAs are transported in microparticles – known as exosomes –involved in intercellular communication is also very exciting. It raises the question as to what role these exosome-associated regulators may play in the onset and spread of the flu virus."
Jean believes that the discovery of the unique microRNA signatures associated with pandemic and deadly flu viruses will assist in developing antiviral treatments that don't run the risk of increasing drug resistance. "Future research on microRNAs could help us develop novel antiviral treatments, adding desperately needed drugs to our current therapeutic repertoire against upcoming flu pandemics."
The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Francois Jean | EurekAlert!
Dissolving protein traffic jam at the entrance of mitochondria
23.05.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Producing tissue and organs through lithography
23.05.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
23.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy