Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure Of 'Beneficial' Virus That Can Infect Cancer Cells Solved

Date:
October 9, 2008
Source:
Scripps Research Institute
Summary:
Researchers have, for the first time, solved the structure of a virus that can infect specific cancer cells. This new knowledge may help drug designers tweak the pathogen enough so that it can attack other tumor subtypes.

A research team has solved the 3-D structure of Seneca Valley Virus-001.
Credit: Image courtesy of Scripps Research Institute

The 3-D structure of the virus, known as Seneca Valley Virus-001, reveals that it is unlike any other known member of the Picornaviridae viral family, and confirms its recent designation as a separate genus "Senecavirus." The new study reveals that the virus's outer protein shell looks like a craggy golf ball — one with uneven divets and raised spikes — and the RNA strand beneath it is arranged in a round mesh rather like a whiffleball.

Related Articles


"It is not at all like other known picornaviruses that we are familiar with, including poliovirus and rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold," says the study's senior author, Associate Professor Vijay S. Reddy, Ph.D., of The Scripps Research Institute. "This crystal structure will now help us understand how Senecavirus works, and how we can take advantage of it."

The Senecavirus is a "new" virus, discovered several years ago by Neotropix Inc., a biotech company in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It was at first thought to be a laboratory contaminant, but researchers found it was a pathogen, now believed to originate from cows or pigs. Further investigation found that the virus was harmless to normal human cells, but could infect certain solid tumors, such as small cell lung cancer, the most common form of lung cancer.

Scientists at Neotrophix say that, in laboratory and animal studies, the virus demonstrates cancer-killing specificity that is 10,000 times higher than that seen in traditional chemotherapeutics, with no overt toxicity. The company has developed the "oncolytic" virus as an anti-cancer agent and is already conducting early phase clinical trials in patients with lung cancer.

But the researchers still did not know how the virus worked, so they turned to Reddy. He and his Scripps Research team, especially Sangita Venkataraman, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher, determined the Senecavirus crystal structure.

Reddy describes the differences they found between other picornaviruses and the Senecavirus as like variations among car models of the same manufacturer. "The chassis is the same, but the body style is different," he says. "How the body of a virus is shaped determines how it infects cells."

The structure of the Senecavirus is also depicted at http://viperdb.scripps.edu/, the "Virus Particle Explorer" developed at Scripps Research by Reddy and his colleagues. The online database is a worldwide resource for information on the structure of viral particles; it contains details of 253 viruses to date.

Once the structure of Seneca Valley Virus-001 was solved, researchers went on to identify several areas on the viral protein coat that they think might hook onto receptors on cancer cells in the process of infecting them. The researchers are now conducting further investigations on this process. "It will be critically important to find out what region of its structure the virus is using to bind to tumor cells, and what those cancer cell receptors are," Reddy says. "Then we can, hopefully, improve Senecavirus enough to become a potent agent that can be used with many different cancers."

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Venkataraman, V. Reddy, Seshidhar P. Reddy, Neeraja Idamakanti, Paul L. Hallenbeck and Jackie Loo. Structure of Seneca Valley Virus-001, an oncolytic picornavirus representing a new genus. Structure, Vol 16, 1555-1561, 08 October 2008 [link]

Cite This Page:

Scripps Research Institute. "Structure Of 'Beneficial' Virus That Can Infect Cancer Cells Solved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008151320.htm>.
Scripps Research Institute. (2008, October 9). Structure Of 'Beneficial' Virus That Can Infect Cancer Cells Solved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008151320.htm
Scripps Research Institute. "Structure Of 'Beneficial' Virus That Can Infect Cancer Cells Solved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008151320.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary 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