Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NIH Scientists Unravel Clues To Ebola Hemorrhaging

Date:
August 2, 2000
Source:
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases
Summary:
Ebola virus is a rare but deadly microbe that kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects. Now, scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified a part of the virus that likely is responsible for the massive internal bleeding leading to most of those deaths.

Ebola virus is a rare but deadly microbe that kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects. Now, scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified a part of the virus that likely is responsible for the massive internal bleeding leading to most of those deaths. Their research, published in the August edition of Nature Medicine, identifies a viral protein that destroys endothelial cells -- the cells that line the blood vessel walls. By attacking this protein, new drugs and vaccines may be designed to reduce or prevent the disease.

Ebola virus is the most infamous of the hemorrhagic fever viruses, a group of microbes found only in humans and monkeys. Although these outbreaks are not common or widespread, they have received much publicity because of their lethal nature and horrifying symptoms, which include high fever and massive internal bleeding. To add to the mystery, Ebola virus strikes sporadically, often devastating an isolated town or village before disappearing back into the jungle, where scientists believe it may hide away in an as yet unknown host.

Ebola strains from Zaire, Sudan and the Ivory Coast are usually fatal to humans, while a monkey strain that infected laboratory workers in Reston, Virginia, in 1989 failed to cause overt disease. The reason for this difference was not clear, but because Ebola virus produces several different proteins, researchers believe one or more of these likely holds the key.

While studying these viral proteins, Zhi-Yong Yang and Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC), located on the NIH campus, led a research team investigating glycoprotein (GP), a sugar-containing molecule that sticks out from the surface of the Ebola virus. Along with other scientists from the VRC, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Yang and Dr. Nabel discovered that a specific portion of the protein caused it to destroy human and monkey endothelial cells in the test tube. The protein also caused isolated blood vessels to leak, which may explain the internal bleeding seen in infected individuals. GP isolated from the Reston strain, however, destroyed only monkey blood vessels, possibly explaining why this Ebola strain did not cause disease in humans.

As the scientists focused on GP, they found that a part of the protein that becomes modified with sugars had a toxic effect on the virally infected cells. When the researchers made forms of GP that lacked this region, the protein no longer destroyed the blood vessels but was otherwise active. The protein therefore serves two functions: it targets Ebola to the endothelium, and once sufficient GP has been manufactured by the infected cells, it kills those cells leading to the toxic effects of the disease.

By discovering the part of the protein that appears to be responsible for Ebola-induced hemorrhaging, the researchers have made important strides toward finding better ways to attack the virus. "We have been able to define the major Ebola virus gene that kills cells, and have provided a molecular target for potential new antiviral drugs and vaccines," states Dr. Nabel. This study also begins to reveal the basic mechanisms of how Ebola virus attaches to and enters cells, and future studies will continue to investigate how different regions of the virus surface perform different tasks for the invading microbe.

The Vaccine Research Center is a unique venture within the NIH intramural research program that receives joint funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and is spearheaded by NIAID, NCI and the NIH Office of AIDS Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "NIH Scientists Unravel Clues To Ebola Hemorrhaging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074544.htm>.
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. (2000, August 2). NIH Scientists Unravel Clues To Ebola Hemorrhaging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074544.htm
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "NIH Scientists Unravel Clues To Ebola Hemorrhaging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074544.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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