Breaking News
April 24, 2019 - Researchers uncover potential clue to halt destruction of nerve cells in people with ALS
April 24, 2019 - Study uncovers reasons for poor mental health in bisexual people
April 24, 2019 - Screenings, interventions, and referrals can help adolescents overcome substance abuse
April 24, 2019 - Febrile seizures following vaccination are self-resolving and not dangerous
April 24, 2019 - Flow-UV inline UV-Visible spectrometer monitors dispersion in real time
April 24, 2019 - Rates of Marijuana Use in Cancer Patients on the Rise in U.S.
April 24, 2019 - Versatile drug may protect baby from hazards of intraamniotic infections
April 24, 2019 - Financial transparency may diminish trust in doctors, new study finds
April 24, 2019 - Calling all Riders: Velocity Extends Free Registration 
April 24, 2019 - The Homeless Are Dying In Record Numbers On The Streets Of L.A.
April 24, 2019 - Simple mobility test helps predict hospital readmission in elderly heart attack patients
April 24, 2019 - Novel fluorescence imaging system helps surgeons remove small ovarian tumors
April 24, 2019 - Uncovering the Structure of HIV Integrase to Inform Drug Discovery
April 24, 2019 - Medical Marijuana Use Rising Among Cancer Patients
April 24, 2019 - Artificial intelligence approach optimizes embryo selection for IVF
April 24, 2019 - Doctor or detective? Sleuthing mysteries in medical school
April 24, 2019 - CUIMC Community Gives Blood During Spring 2019 Columbia University Blood Drive
April 24, 2019 - Americans Overwhelmingly Want Federal Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills
April 24, 2019 - Making Laboratories More Efficient with the Most Modern LIMS on the Market
April 24, 2019 - Treating cancer patients with personalized, combination therapies improves outcomes
April 24, 2019 - Researchers engineer new molecules to help stop lung cancer
April 24, 2019 - Acupuncture can be a wonderful tool for preventing number of diseases
April 24, 2019 - Daily life disability before hip replacement may predict poor post-operative outcomes
April 24, 2019 - Study finds involuntary staying in housing estates to be a potential health risk
April 24, 2019 - Older kidney disease patients starting dialysis die at higher rates than previously thought
April 24, 2019 - Time-restricted eating shows promise for controlling blood glucose levels
April 24, 2019 - Ambiguous genitalia in newborns may be more common than previously thought
April 24, 2019 - Research provides important insight on the brain-body connection
April 24, 2019 - In 10 Years, Half Of Middle-Income Elders Won’t Be Able To Afford Housing, Medical Care
April 24, 2019 - Researchers study how E. coli clones have become major cause of drug-resistant infections
April 24, 2019 - Bacterial and fungal toxins found in popular electronic cigarettes
April 24, 2019 - Factors affecting absorption of ‘sunshine vitamin’ during spring/summer months
April 24, 2019 - Texting helps improve medication adherence, health outcomes for patients with schizophrenia
April 24, 2019 - Cochrane Review looks at different ways to use nicotine replacement therapies
April 24, 2019 - New review on relationship between COPD and Type 2 diabetes
April 24, 2019 - Brain areas linked to memory and emotion aid odor navigation in humans
April 24, 2019 - Brain stimulation reverses age-related memory loss
April 24, 2019 - Amid Opioid Prescriber Crackdown, Health Officials Reach Out To Pain Patients
April 24, 2019 - $4 million NIH award will help establish UCI Skin Biology Resource-based Center
April 24, 2019 - Cancer drugs reprogram genes in breast tumors to prevent endocrine resistance, finds study
April 24, 2019 - Combination-imaging technique provides new window into macaque brain connections
April 24, 2019 - Researchers identify new allergen responsible for allergy to durum wheat
April 24, 2019 - Researchers define role of rare, influential cells in the bone marrow
April 24, 2019 - DNA rearrangement may predict poor outcomes in multiple myeloma
April 24, 2019 - FDA Approves Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) for Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis
April 24, 2019 - Combination therapy might be beneficial in schizophrenia
April 24, 2019 - Blood test can help match cancer patients to early phase clinical trials
April 24, 2019 - Women tend to underreport snoring and underestimate its loudness
April 24, 2019 - Comprehensive molecular test introduced for diagnosis of malaria caused by P. vivax parasites
April 24, 2019 - New range prediction approach increases accuracy, safety and tolerability of proton therapy
April 24, 2019 - Need for Sedation Up for Regular Cannabis Users
April 24, 2019 - Lack of access to antibiotics is a major global health challenge
April 24, 2019 - New study provides better understanding on safety of deworming programs
April 24, 2019 - EEG used to detect impact of maternal stress on neurodevelopment in 2-month-old infants
April 24, 2019 - FDA Approves First Generic Naloxone Nasal Spray Against Opioid Overdose
April 24, 2019 - A new way of finding compounds that prevent aging
April 24, 2019 - Mechanical training makes synthetic hydrogels perform more like muscle
April 24, 2019 - Study provides new insights into regulatory T cells’ role in protecting against autoimmune disease
April 24, 2019 - Pregnant women with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of preterm birth
April 24, 2019 - ‘Tummy tuck’ can be safely performed in obese patients with no increase in complications
April 23, 2019 - ‘First’ 3-D print of heart with human tissue, vessels unveiled
April 23, 2019 - Which blood-based method works best to detect TB?
April 23, 2019 - Gene therapy cures infants suffering from ‘bubble boy’ immune disease
April 23, 2019 - Chemical-sampling wristbands detect similar exposures across three continents
April 23, 2019 - Management of Residual Limb Pain
April 23, 2019 - Molecular clock influences immune cell responses
April 23, 2019 - On the importance of culture, partnerships and diversity at the Dean’s Lecture Series
April 23, 2019 - Siddhartha Mukherjee Receives Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science
April 23, 2019 - Dengue mosquito poses greatest danger of spreading Zika virus in Australia
April 23, 2019 - Scientists identify 104 high-risk genes for schizophrenia
April 23, 2019 - Abdominal etching can help patients to get classic ‘six-pack abs’ physique
April 23, 2019 - Alvogen Inc. Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Fentanyl Transdermal System Due to Product Mislabeling
April 23, 2019 - Skype hypnotherapy is effective treatment for IBS
April 23, 2019 - The future hope of “flash” radiation cancer therapy
April 23, 2019 - Bicycling, Recycling, and Beyond: Public Safety to Host Shred Fest and Bike-to-Campus Day 
April 23, 2019 - Skipping breakfast linked with increased risk of death from heart disease
April 23, 2019 - Neuroscientists propose new theory about amyloid precursor protein connection in Alzheimer’s
April 23, 2019 - Mediterranean diet protects against overeating and obesity
April 23, 2019 - NUS scientists uncover novel biomarkers linked with ‘chemobrain’
April 23, 2019 - Novel ECCITE-seq technique expands multimodal single cell analysis
Scientists identify how viral protein promotes fatal disease caused by Nipah and Hendra viruses

Scientists identify how viral protein promotes fatal disease caused by Nipah and Hendra viruses

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Researchers have identified how a viral protein, which plays a major role in causing deadly Nipah and Hendra virus infections, targets a critical function in human cells to suppress immune responses and promote fatal disease.

The research team found the viral protein, called W protein, binds to two specific proteins in the host cell, importin α3 and importin α4, allowing it to move into the nucleus of cells. This allows the protein to disable defenses that protect cells from infection and promote growth of Nipah and Hendra viruses. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Nipah and Hendra viruses, closely related zoonotic pathogens that come from animal sources, are highly lethal in humans. Old World fruit bats are the source of both viruses in nature.

Hendra virus infections have been identified in Australia, mostly in veterinarians who were caring for horses. Scientists believe the virus passed from bats to horses, and then veterinarians came in contact with the sick horses.

Nipah virus was originally discovered in Malaysia in 1998. There was an outbreak of encephalitis, one of the symptoms of Nipah virus, in people working on pig farms. Scientists believe bats transmitted the virus to these pigs, and then people who came in contact with the infected pigs became sick. Forty percent of the people who became ill died. More recently, Nipah virus infections have been recognized in Bangladesh and India, with 70 to 75 percent fatality rates. This time, there seems to be a more direct transmission of the virus from bats to people.

“Right now, for humans, we lack any licensed vaccines or approved drugs to treat the infections,” said Dr. Christopher Basler, senior author of the study, professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences and director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at Georgia State University and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Microbial Pathogenesis. “We need vaccines, we need treatments, and we also need to better understand what makes the viruses so deadly.

“The protein we’re studying is called the W protein. We’ve been studying this protein for several years because it suppresses innate immune responses. This means that it blocks the very early defenses that should protect us from virus infection.”

In previous work, Basler and his colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have studied the behavior of Nipah virus in animals. They wanted to understand how important W protein is for the ability of the virus to cause disease. Using facilities at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, they engineered a Nipah virus that couldn’t produce the W protein and then put this modified virus into animals. This changed the course of disease and demonstrated that the function of the W protein is important for Nipah virus to cause disease.

In this study, a research team led by Dr. Jade K. Forwood of Charles Sturt University in Australia used structural biology approaches to investigate how the W protein travels from the cytoplasm to the nucleus of the cell through the interaction of W protein with importin α proteins, which allow the W protein to get into the nucleus. The Basler laboratory at Georgia State performed studies in living cells to investigate the W protein interaction with importin α proteins and define why this interaction is important for W protein function. In prior work, Basler has found the ability of the W protein to enter into the nucleus is important for its ability to block innate immune responses.

“One of the things that’s interesting about the W protein being in the nucleus of the cell is that most of the other components of the virus remain in the cytoplasm of the cell throughout the replication cycle,” Basler said. “We think that the W protein goes to the nucleus to do something, to somehow specifically target innate immune responses.”

Human cells have seven different kinds of importin α proteins. In this study, the researchers found W protein is using two of them, importin α3 and importin α4, to get into the nucleus. They identified specific features on the W protein that allow it to recognize those two members of the importin α protein family and distinguish them from others.

“We’re trying to understand how it selectively uses two of the seven family members for this,” Basler said. “There’s a broader biological question there. We don’t really understand how this selectivity works or even really why it’s important. We’re trying to better understand the basis of that selectivity.

“I think you can argue that by understanding this, it may suggest strategies by which we can try to block the interaction between the viral protein (W) and the host protein (importin) that might be useful in terms of developing therapies that are designed to block this virus. If you had a drug that somehow prevented that interaction, W would no longer carry on its normal function and that would attenuate the virus and make it less able to cause disease.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles