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.

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 August 28, 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 August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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