Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UC Riverside Researchers Discover Model Organism For Studying Viruses That Affect Humans

Date:
August 25, 2005
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered that a simple worm, called C. elegans, makes an excellent experimental host for studying some of the most virulent viruses that infect humans. UC Riverside researchers have developed a strain of the worm in which an animal virus could replicate, allowing them to map the delicate dance of action and reaction between virus and host.

Photo of a C. elegan worm.
Credit: Courtesy of Juergan Berger and Ralph Sommer, Max-Plank Institute for Developmental Biology

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside havediscovered that a simple worm, called C. elegans, makes an excellentexperimental host for studying some of the most virulent viruses thatinfect humans.

Related Articles


The researchers published their findings in theAug. 18 issue of the journal Nature in a paper titled, Animal virusreplication and RNAi-mediated antiviral silencing in C. elegans.

UCRProfessor of Plant Pathology Shou-Wei Ding co-authored the paper withMorris Maduro, assistant professor of biology; Feng Li, a graduatestudent in microbiology; Rui Lu and Hongwei Li, postdoctoralresearchers in Ding’s laboratory; and research specialists GinaBroitman-Maduro and Wan-Xiang Li. Lu and Maduro are co-first authors ofthis Nature paper. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S.Department of Agriculture supported the research.

The paperreflects a major step forward in the study of how some of the world’smost virulent viruses, such as West Nile, SARS, Ebola and Hepatitis Cinteract with their hosts.

“All these viruses are very dangerousand are traditionally studied in animal models, so large-scale geneticstudies of the host-virus interaction is very hard to do,” said Ding,who works in the Center for Plant Cell Biology at UCR’s Institute forIntegrative Genome Biology. “Needless to say, we are all very excitedto find that this little worm can be used to understand how hostsgenetically control viruses.”

For years researchers throughoutthe world have studied C. elegans because many aspects of its biology,such as genetics, development and the workings of neurons, mirror thebiology of humans. However, no viruses were known to infect themillimeter-long roundworm so it was not used as a model for studyingviral infections.

The Nature paper now shows that UC Riversideresearchers have developed a strain of the worm, C. elegans, in whichan animal virus could replicate, allowing them to map the delicatedance of action and reaction between virus and host.

The UCR teamhas shown that virus replication in the worm triggers an antiviralresponse known as RNA silencing or RNA interference (RNAi). RNAispecifically breaks down the virus’ RNA. Virus RNA creates proteinsthat allow the virus to function. The virus responds by producing aprotein acting as a suppressor of RNAi to shut down the host’santiviral response. Virus infection did not occur when the viral RNAisuppressor was made inactive by genetic mutations in the host system.

C.elegans’ RNAi system is considered a “blanket system,” meaning that ithas parallels in humans, making the worm model discovered by Ding andhis colleagues a valuable tool in studying the way viruses interactwith hosts. This tool may speed the discovery of treatments forvirus-caused diseases that plague humans.

“The RNAi machinery isvery similar between humans and C. elegans, and human viruses such asInfluenza A virus and HIV are known to produce RNAi suppressors,” Dingsaid. “So now, the question is can we treat human viral diseases usingchemical inhibitors of viral RNAi suppressors?”

The methodsoutlined in the Nature paper are now being used to generate additionalC. elegans strains for screening chemical compounds that inactivateRNAi suppressors associated with avian flu, HIV and others.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "UC Riverside Researchers Discover Model Organism For Studying Viruses That Affect Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233220.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2005, August 25). UC Riverside Researchers Discover Model Organism For Studying Viruses That Affect Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233220.htm
University of California - Riverside. "UC Riverside Researchers Discover Model Organism For Studying Viruses That Affect Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233220.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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