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 novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>