Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulated gatekeeper: how viruses find their way into the cell nucleus

03.10.2011
Adenoviruses cause respiratory diseases and are more dangerous for humans than previously assumed. They manipulate gatekeeper molecules and infiltrate the cell nucleus with the aid of the host cell. A team of researchers headed by cell biologists and virologists from the University of Zurich have succeeded in demonstrating this mechanism in detail for the first time.

They have been around since the dawn of time and are a model of evolutionary success: viruses. Viruses are extremely adaptable but they have a problem: They cannot reproduce, so they smuggle their genes into suitable host cells. In the case of some viruses, the viral DNA has to enter the cell nucleus to reproduce. This has been known for almost 50 years. We know, for instance, that the adenovirus disassembles its protein shell in the first step. Just how the DNA is exposed and infiltrates the host cell, however, remained unclear despite decades of research.

A research group headed by Urs Greber, a cell biologist at the University of Zurich, has now managed to clear up these points. As the scientists recently revealed in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, viruses use the cell’s own mechanisms. The adenovirus latches onto a gatekeeper molecule, which sits on the nuclear pore complex in the nucleus envelope and controls the passage in and out of the nucleus. Another protein in the nuclear pore complex binds and activates a motor protein from the kinesin family, which regulates the transport of substances near the nucleus.

Virus DNA uncoated with aid of host cell
«The motor protein is in an active condition, can bind to micro-tubules and migrate along them,» says Professor Greber, explaining his team’s observations. And the docked virus uses precisely this situation for its purposes. The virus binds to the kinesin and uses the energy of the motor to disrupt its own shell, which exposes the virus DNA and prepares it for transport into the nucleus. The action of the activated motor has another effect, too: The nuclear pore ruptures and becomes markedly bigger, which enables the viral DNA to enter the cell nucleus more easily. Surprisingly, the cell repairs the defective nuclear pore so that the virus breach in the nucleus does not leave any visible damage in its wake. The viral DNA is smuggled into the nucleus practically without trace, where it can reproduce easily.

The researchers used adenoviruses for their study. Adenoviruses cause, among other things, respiratory or epidemic ocular disease. Until recently, they were thought to be relatively harmless for healthy humans. However, the results of another research group recently demonstrated that a new kind of adenovirus triggered a dreaded zoonotic disease, meaning it was transmitted from an animal to humans before spreading from one person to another.

Literature:
Sten Strunze, Martin F. Engelke, I-Hsuan Wang, Daniel Puntener, Karin Boucke, Sibylle Schleich, Michael Way, Philipp Schoenenberger, Christoph J. Burckhardt and Urs F. Greber: Kinesin-1-Mediated Capsid Disassembly and Disruption of the Nuclear Pore Complex Promote Virus Infection, in: Cell Host & Microbe 10, 15. September 2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.08.010
Contacts:
Prof. Urs Greber
Institute of Molecular Biology
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 635 48 41
E-mail: urs.greber@imls.uzh.ch
Beat Müller
Media Relations
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 634 44 32
E-mail: beat.mueller@kommunikation.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | idw
Further information:
http://www.uzh.ch/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A study demonstrates that p38 protein regulates the formation of new blood vessels
17.07.2019 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht For bacteria, the neighbors co-determine which cell dies first: The physiology of survival
17.07.2019 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

Im Focus: Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts: Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled

An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.

Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...

Im Focus: The secret of mushroom colors

Mushrooms: Darker fruiting bodies in cold climates

The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking down climate change with radar eyes

17.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

Researchers build transistor-like gate for quantum information processing -- with qudits

17.07.2019 | Information Technology

A new material for the battery of the future, made in UCLouvain

17.07.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>