Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Ebola Virus Avoids The Immune System

Date:
January 30, 2009
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have likely found one reason why the Ebola virus is such a powerful, deadly, and effective virus. Using a cell culture model for Ebola virus infection, they have discovered that the virus disables a cellular protein called tetherin that normally can block the spread of virus from cell to cell.

Scanning electron microscope image of Ebola virions (spaghetti-like filaments) on the surface of a tetherin-expressing cell (center).
Credit: Paul Bates, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Researchers at theUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicinehave likely found one reason why the Ebola virus is such a powerful, deadly, and effective virus. Using a cell culture model for Ebola virus infection, they have discovered that the virus disables a cellular protein called tetherin that normally can block the spread of virus from cell to cell.

“Tetherin represents a new class of cellular factors that possess a very different means of inhibiting viral replication,” saysstudy author Paul Bates, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology at theUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Tetherin is the first example of a protein that affects the virus replication cycle after the virus is fully made and prevents the virus from being able to go off and infect the next cell.” These findings appear online this week in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When a cell is infected with a virus like Ebola, which is deadly to 90 percent of people infected, the cell is pirated by the virus and turned into a production factory that makes massive quantities on new virions. These virions are then released from that cell to infect other cells and promote the spreading infection.

Tetherin is one of the immune system's responses to a viral infection. If working properly, tetherin stops the infected cell from releasing the newly made virus, thus shutting down spread to other cells. However, this study shows that the Ebola virus has developed a way to disable tetherin, thus blocking the body's response and allowing the virus to spread.

“This information gives us a new way to study how tetherin works,” says Bates. "Binding of a protein produced by Ebola to tetherin apparently inactivates this cellular factor. Understanding how the Ebola protein blocks the activity of tetherin may facilitate the design of therapeutics to inhibit this interaction, allowing the cell's natural defense systems to slow down viral replication and give the animal or person a chance to mount an effective antiviral response and recover.”

Previous research had found that tetherin plays a role in the immune system's response to HIV-1, a retrovirus, and that tetherin is also disabled by HIV. These new studies reveal that human cells also use this defense against other types of viruses, such as Ebola, that are not closely related to HIV-1. “Because we see such broad classes of viruses that are affected by tetherin, it's possible that all enveloped viruses are targets of this antiviral system,” says Bates. “If so, then understanding how tetherin works and how viruses escape from the effect of tetherin will be very important.”

Rachel L. Kaletsky, Joseph R. Francica and Caroline Agrawal-Gamse of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are co-authors of this study. This work was funded by the Public Health Service Grants and the Philip Morris External Research Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "How Ebola Virus Avoids The Immune System." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127152838.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2009, January 30). How Ebola Virus Avoids The Immune System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127152838.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "How Ebola Virus Avoids The Immune System." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127152838.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) 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