John Nicholls and colleagues at the University of Hong Kong and Adelaide Women and Children's Hospital, in Australia, describe a modified technique to visualize the putative receptors for influenza viruses in the upper and lower respiratory tract, including the lung.
Sialic acid molecules on the cell surface act as chemical beacons for the influenza virus. Once the virus finds sialic acid, it can attach and infect the cell, although the precise distribution of sialic acid molecules affects how easily the virus can find host cells to infect.
The team has turned to lectins- molecules which bind sugars, to help them differentiate receptors for human and avian influenza viruses. The researchers used an improved staining technique to see how well two lectins, Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA) and Maackia amurensis agglutinin (MAA), bind to different forms of sialic acid on respiratory tract cells in healthy adults and children. SNA is particularly good at identifying the receptor for human influenza viruses while MAA identifies the receptor for avian viruses - including H5N1.
The researchers found that a particular form of MAA (MAA1) displayed widespread binding throughout the respiratory tract, but was particularly good at binding to children's cells in the lower respiratory tract as well as the upper respiratory tract of adults. Although this MAA1 binding is not unique for avian influenza receptors, these findings could explain how avian influenza infects children more readily than it does adults. This may explain previous findings from this group that avian H5N1 viruses can infect the human upper respiratory tract, even though these tissues were thought to lack receptors for these viruses.
"Understanding the how and why of avian virus infection of humans is a very complex process involving research into properties of H5N1 virus, the host receptor and the cellular response" said Dr John Nicholls. "We believe that the studies we have done investigating where the receptors are located and their distribution with age is a small step towards unravelling this process and help in finding ways to diminish the potential treat from this emerging infection."
Bad food? How mesozooplankton reacts to blue-green algae blooms
17.01.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Artificially produced cells communicate with each other: Models of life
17.01.2019 | Technische Universität München
Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.
In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.
Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...
Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...
16.01.2019 | Event News
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
17.01.2019 | Life Sciences
16.01.2019 | Life Sciences
16.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy