Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Uncover 3-D Structure Of Virus Replication Technique -- Development Of New Anti-Viral Agents Possible

Date:
March 16, 1999
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University Medical School have uncovered the structural basis of an elusive replication technique that allows viruses, especially retroviruses, to commandeer cells to manufacture the proteins they need for their own survival.

National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University Medical School have uncovered the structural basis of an elusive replication technique that allows viruses, especially retroviruses, to commandeer cells to manufacture the proteins they need for their own survival. The results appear in a paper published for the March 1999 issue of Nature Structural Biology.

Related Articles


"For many years, scientists have studied a virus' ability to create an RNA structure called a pseudoknot, which allows it to control genetic material for its own purposes via a process called ribosomal frameshifting," explains Kamal Shukla, director of NSF's biophysics program, which funded the research. "Until now, the detailed three-dimensional structure of the pseudoknot - so called because the RNA is not truly knotted, but tightly bound together -- has not been known." The RNA pseudoknot formed by the beet western yellow virus has been crystallized, and the three-dimensional structure reveals many unusual features, the authors of the study report. Ribosomal frameshifting also is used by the AIDS virus.

"This research will help us uncover some of the methods that viruses use to regulate the production of components that are essential to viral replication. Knowledge of this mechanism may allow us to develop ways to modify that process and thus lead to the development of new anti-viral agents," said Alexander Rich, a biophysicist at MIT and one of the study's authors.

The work provides information that will allow researchers to understand which features of the pseudoknot formation facilitate ribosomal frameshifting by introducing mutations or changes in the pseudoknot.

Viruses have developed ingenious systems for invading cells and making more copies of themselves. One of the systems that is used in many viruses, including most retroviruses (the most famous of which is responsible for AIDS) involves inducing changes in the way the virus' genetic material is translated to produce the next generation. The virus needs to synthesize two different proteins. Typically, the first protein is involved in building the virus and the second is an enzyme, usually a polymerase, used in replicating the virus' nucleic acid, or genetic building blocks. But the virus needs many copies of the structural protein and a smaller number of the polymerase proteins, so the virus developed a novel system for regulating the production of these two proteins. It involves the use of ribosomal frameshifting.

The decision to frameshift or not to frameshift depends on whether the pseudoknot unravels when it collides with the ribosome, Rich said. If it does not unravel, the ribosome can slide back one nucleotide and then make a fusion protein, involving both the structural protein and the polymerase. If the pseudoknot does unravel, then only the structural protein is made, but not the polymerase.

This work is also supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Researchers Uncover 3-D Structure Of Virus Replication Technique -- Development Of New Anti-Viral Agents Possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990316063758.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1999, March 16). Researchers Uncover 3-D Structure Of Virus Replication Technique -- Development Of New Anti-Viral Agents Possible. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990316063758.htm
National Science Foundation. "Researchers Uncover 3-D Structure Of Virus Replication Technique -- Development Of New Anti-Viral Agents Possible." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990316063758.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins