Researchers at McGill University have discovered a way to boost an organism¡¯s natural anti-virus defences, effectively making its cells immune to influenza and other viruses.
The research was conducted by post-doctoral fellows Dr. Rodney Colina and Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, working in collaboration with Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Scholar at McGill. They worked with colleagues at l'Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montr¨¦al (IRCM) and the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI). Their results are to be published February 13 in the journal Nature.
Their process ¨C which could lead to the development of new anti-viral therapies in humans ¨C involved knocking out two genes in mice that repress production of the protein interferon, the cell¡¯s first line of defence against viruses. Without these repressor genes, the mouse cells produced much higher levels of interferon, which effectively blocked viruses from reproducing. The researchers tested the process on influenza virus, encephalomyocarditis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus and Sindbis virus.
¡°People have been worried for years about potential new viral pandemics, such as avian influenzas,¡± Dr. Sonenberg said. ¡°If we might now have the means to develop a new therapy to fight flu, the potential is huge.¡±
Viruses are sub-microscopic infectious agents which can reproduce only by hijacking a cell¡¯s reproductive machinery, a process that usually leads to disease and even the death of the host organism. Interferon, in particular the type 1 interferons (IFN-¦Á and IFN-¦Â) suppress virus propagation. Production of type 1 interferon is controlled by the interferon regulatory protein 7 (Irf7), which researchers believe to be the ¡°master-regulator¡± of interferon production in the body. The McGill researchers found that protein synthesis of Irf7 is controlled by the repressor genes called 4E-BP1 and 4E-BP2.
¡°In a sense, it¡¯s quite a simple story,¡± Dr. Costa-Mattioli explained. ¡°When you get rid of the repressors, you have more of the key protein Irf7 present, which induces an anti-viral state in the cell. You¡¯re basically removing the brakes.¡±
The researchers detected no abnormalities or negative side-effects resulting from enhanced interferon production in the mice, Dr. Costa-Mattioli said. Dr. Sonenberg explained that the process of knocking out genes is not possible in humans, but the researchers are optimistic new pharmaceutical therapies will evolve from their research.
¡°If we are able to target 4E-BP1 and 4E-BP2 with drugs, we will have a molecule that can protect you from viral infection. That¡¯s a very exciting idea.¡± Dr. Costa-Mattiolo said. ¡°We don't have that yet, but it¡¯s the obvious next step.¡±
Mark Shainblum | EurekAlert!
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine