“Supplemental POPG could be an important, inexpensive and novel approach for the prevention and treatment of influenza and other respiratory virus infections,” said Dennis Voelker, PhD, Professor of Medicine, and senior author in the report, published online in the American journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
Influenza infects millions of people across the globe, killing 500,000 each year. Vaccines are highly effective, but must be reformulated each year to counter new viral strains. Two classes of drug are currently available to treat established influenza infections, although widespread resistance has developed against one class and is developing against the other.
Several proteins that inhibit viral activity have been identified in the fluid lining the lungs. Until recently, however, the antiviral role of POPG (palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylglycerol) has been unknown. Previous research by Dr. Voelker, Mari Numata, MD, PhD, and their colleagues demonstrated that POPG reduces inflammation in the lung and prevents infection by respiratory syncytial virus.
In mice, POPG also suppressed viral infection and replication, and markedly reduced the inflammatory response to the virus. There were no observable deleterious effects of POPG in animal behavior or histopathology.
“Lipids such as POPG, offer potential advantages over antiviral proteins, because they are less likely to elicit unwanted immune responses, are more chemically stable and less expensive to manufacture than proteins,” said Dr. Numata, an instructor at National Jewish Health, and lead author on both the RSV and influenza papers. “Because POPG is effective against at least two different viruses, it also seems likely that a single mutation, which can make influenza vaccines and current drugs ineffective, is unlikely to have the same effect on POPG’s action.”
The researchers showed that POPG works by binding strongly to viral particles, which prevents attachment and infection of cells. This means that POPG works best if given before an infection occurs.
It has potential, however, to work after an infection has begun by inhibiting spread of the virus to uninfected cells. The success of POPG treatment after a virus infection has been established depends on keeping the lipid levels high for an extended period. At present it is difficult to maintain high levels of POPG in mice because of their rapid metabolisms and rapid respiratory rate.
“We believe POPG may prove effective both before and after an infection has occurred,” said Dr. Voelker. “Our initial results suggest that it may be possible to maintain therapeutic levels in the body with a reasonable dosing scheme, and we are investigating that now.”
William Allstetter | EurekAlert!
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy