Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017

Zika virus hijacks genetic program that signals developing neural cells to multiply and specialize

Zika virus (ZIKV) interferes with the cellular machinery controlling cell division and alters the expression of hundreds of genes guiding the formation and development of neurons and astrocytes, according to findings released on January 23rd 2017 at Scientific Reports.


Human neural stem cells are the main target of Zika virus infection. Immunofluorescence of neural stem cells, nuclei are in yellow, cytoplasm in pink.

Credit: D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR)

Several evidences indicate that ZIKV infection is associated with microcephaly -- a condition in which baby's head is abnormally small, often because the brain has not developed properly -- and other fetal brain defects. Despite the association, cellular alterations caused by the virus are largely unknown.

"Elucidate the underpinnings of ZIKV infection is very important to develop tools to combat it", points Stevens Rehen, head of the study and scientist at both D' Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

In a previous study published in Science, the same Brazilian scientists noticed that the pool of infected neural stem cells was completely depleted after one week. In the present study, they decided to explore how neural cells react to ZIKV infection before dying. To do so, human neural cells were exposed to a strain of ZIKV collected from a Brazilian patient and coaxed to become neurospheres, organized aggregates of neural cells resembling fetal brain tissue.

By means of state-of-the-art techniques, researchers evaluated the interactome map - a whole set of molecular interactions - of the infected neural cells in order to understand the ZIKV-related impairment on cellular metabolism.

To identify the molecular fingerprints of the ZIKV infection, the authors investigated gene and protein expression in both infected and non-infected cells.

The analysis revealed more than 500 genes/proteins altered in the infected developing brain cells. A few of them associated with DNA damage and chromosomal instability, such as aneuploidy. Others, normally active during cellular division, were silenced in infected cells, thwarting their ability to multiply.

In addition, genes driving cell specialization were repressed in ZIKV infected cells. As a result, neural cells lacked the guidance to differentiate into specialized brain cells.

Also, a common strategy employed by viruses when infecting cells was observed: factors involved in viral replication were upregulated.

According to Patricia Garcez, Assistant Professor at the UFRJ and author of the study: "these findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of ZIKV infection and likely explain some of the consequences seen on brain formation and function at these crucial points of brain development".

###

The study was conducted at IDOR, in collaboration with colleagues from UFRJ, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Evandro Chagas Institute, Institute Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ) and Federal University of Para. Funding was provided by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES); Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP); National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq); Foundation for Research Support in the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ); Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES).

Media Contact

Stevens Rehen
stevens.rehen@idor.org
55-213-883-6000

 @institutodor

www.idor.org 

Stevens Rehen | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

NASA keeps watch over space explosions

16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>