Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clue Found To Epstein-Barr Virus' Ability To Form And Sustain Tumors

Date:
September 6, 2006
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have found a viral target that opens the door for the development of drugs to destroy tumors caused by Epstein-Barr virus.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) have found a viral target that opens the door for the development of drugs to destroy tumors caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

The finding, published in the Sept. 4 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online, identifies the activity of a critical segment of a viral protein required to sustain EBV-related tumors. The researchers found that when they blocked this activity, the virus life cycle was broken.

Often linked to infectious mononucleosis, EBV also causes cancers that kill 100,000 people around the world each year. The virus, which infects the immune system's B cells and causes them to grow, is directly responsible for Burkitt's lymphoma, an often-fatal malignancy affecting thousands of African children annually. It is also causally associated with at least four other kinds of human cancers, including Hodgkin's lymphomas, lymphomas in AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients as well as nasopharyngeal carcinomas.

The SMPH researchers, based at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, focused on a viral protein they had previously found to be necessary to keeping Burkitt's lymphoma cells alive and growing in culture. The protein, called Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1), is the only protein the virus makes in all EBV-positive tumors.

"We've been trying to identify specific functions of EBNA-1 that we could target therapeutically," says Bill Sugden, professor of oncology who has studied EBV for more than 30 years. "Our goal is to develop a successful anti-viral, anti-tumor therapy for all EBV-positive tumors."

In the current study, Sugden and his colleague of 20 years, Wolfgang Hammerschmidt, now based at the German National Research Center for Environment and Health, designed genetic experiments to mutate various segments of the 640 amino acids that make up the EBNA-1 protein, which is one of about 100 proteins EBV encodes. They then infected human B cells with EBVs carrying various mutant EBNA-1s.

The analysis showed that one 25-amino acid segment within EBNA-1 was responsible for the regulation of viral gene transcription, the first step in the process by which a gene's coded information is converted first into RNA and then into protein.

Mutating the unique segment of amino acids prevented EBNA-1 from transforming resting B cells into proliferating cells.

Under normal conditions, a cellular protein binds this 25-amino acid segment of EBNA-1, allowing transcription of viral and cellular genes regulated by EBNA-1 to occur. Hammerschmidt and Sugden are now trying to identify the cellular protein.

"If we can identify this protein, it will be easier for us to develop assays to screen for small molecules that will compete with the protein in binding to EBNA-1," Sugden says. "By preventing the cellular protein from binding with the segment, EBNA-1 will not be able to carry out its function and the tumor cells it sustains will die."

The goal, which Sugden expects is achievable, is to end up with a drug that kills only EBV-positive tumor cells and doesn't harm other tissues in the body.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Clue Found To Epstein-Barr Virus' Ability To Form And Sustain Tumors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060905224346.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2006, September 6). Clue Found To Epstein-Barr Virus' Ability To Form And Sustain Tumors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060905224346.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Clue Found To Epstein-Barr Virus' Ability To Form And Sustain Tumors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060905224346.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 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