Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery explains how cold sore virus hides during inactive phase

04.07.2008
Now that Duke University Medical Center scientists have figured out how the virus that causes cold sores hides out, they may have a way to wake it up and kill it.

Cold sores, painful, unsightly blemishes around the mouth, have so far evaded a cure or even prevention. They're known to be caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), which lies dormant in the trigeminal nerve of the face until triggered to reawaken by excessive sunlight, fever, or other stresses.

"We have provided a molecular understanding of how HSV1 hides and then switches back and forth between the latent (hidden) and active phases," said Bryan Cullen, Duke professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

His group's findings, published in Nature, also provide a framework for studying other latent viruses, such as the chicken pox virus, which can return later in life as a case of shingles, and herpes simplex 2 virus, a genitally transmitted virus that also causes painful sores, Cullen said.

... more about:
»HSV1 »LAT »MicroRNAs »RNA »hides »sore

Most of the time, HSV1 lives quietly for years, out of reach of any therapy we have against it. It does not replicate itself during this time and only produces one molecular product, called latency associated transcript RNA or LAT RNA.

"It has always been a mystery what this product, LAT RNA, does," Cullen said. "Usually viral RNAs exist to make proteins that are of use to the virus, but this LAT RNA is extremely unstable and does not make any proteins."

In studies of mice, the team showed that the LAT RNA is processed into smaller strands, called microRNAs, that block production of the proteins that make the virus turn on active replication. As long as the supply of microRNAs is sufficient, the virus stays dormant.

After a larger stress, however, the virus starts making more messenger RNA than the supply of microRNAs can block, and protein manufacturing begins again. This tips the balance, and the virus ultimately makes proteins that begin active viral replication.

The new supply of viruses then travels back down the trigeminal nerve, to the site of the initial infection at the mouth. A cold sore always erupts in the same place and is the source of viruses that might infect another person, either from direct contact, or sharing eating utensils or towels, Cullen said.

The approach to curing this nuisance would be a combination therapy, Cullen said. "Inactive virus is completely untouchable by any treatment we have. Unless you activate the virus, you can't kill it," he said.

Cullen and his team are testing a new drug designed to very precisely bind to the microRNAs that keep the virus dormant. If it works, the virus would become activated and start replicating.

Once the virus is active, a patient would then take acyclovir, a drug that effectively kills replicating HSV1.

"In principle, you could activate and then kill all of the virus in a patient," Cullen said. "This would completely cure a person, and you would never get another cold sore."

He and the team are working with drug development companies in animal trials to begin to answer questions about how to deliver this drug most effectively.

Mary Jane Gore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

Further reports about: HSV1 LAT MicroRNAs RNA hides sore

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
06.08.2020 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht Tellurium makes the difference
06.08.2020 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>