Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Smallpox May Derail Human Immune System

Date:
May 12, 2009
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
Scientists describe how they looked at all of the proteins produced by the smallpox virus in concert with human proteins, and discovered one particular interaction that disables one of the body's first responders to injury -- inflammation.

University of Florida researchers have learned more about how smallpox conducts its deadly business — discoveries that may reveal as much about the human immune system as they do about one of the world's most feared pathogens.

In findings to be published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists describe how they looked at all of the proteins produced by the smallpox virus in concert with human proteins, and discovered one particular interaction that disables one of the body's first responders to injury — inflammation.

"This virus that has killed more humans than any other contains secrets about how the human immune system works," said Grant McFadden, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the College of Medicine and a member of the UF Genetics Institute. "I'm always amazed at how sophisticated these pathogens are, and every time we look, they have something new to teach us about the human immune system."

With researchers from the University of Alberta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a private company called Myriad Genetics, UF researchers for the first time systematically screened the smallpox proteome — the entire complement of new proteins produced by the virus — during interactions with proteins from human DNA.

These protein-on-protein interactions resulted in a particularly devastating pairing between a viral protein called G1R and a human protein called human nuclear factor kappa-B1, which is believed to play a role in the growth and survival of both healthy cells and cancer cells by activating genes involved in immune responses and inflammation.

"One of the strategies of the virus is to inhibit inflammation pathways, and this interaction is an inhibitor of human inflammation such that we have never seen before," McFadden said. "This helps explain some of the mechanisms that contribute to smallpox pathogenesis. But another side of this is that inflammation can sometimes be harmful or deadly to people, and we may learn a way to inhibit more dangerous inflammation from this virus."

Smallpox is blamed for an estimated 300 million deaths in the 20th century alone, and outbreaks have occurred almost continuously for thousands of years. The disease was eradicated by a worldwide vaccination campaign, and the last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949, according to the CDC. The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977.

With the exception of stores of the virus held in high-containment facilities in the United States and Russia, smallpox no longer exists on the planet. Since it was no longer necessary for prevention, and because the vaccines themselves were risky, routine vaccination against smallpox was stopped. However, public health concerns regarding the possible re-emergence of the virus through bioterrorism have led to renewed interest in the development of treatments for the disease and safer vaccines.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "How Smallpox May Derail Human Immune System." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511180710.htm>.
University of Florida. (2009, May 12). How Smallpox May Derail Human Immune System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511180710.htm
University of Florida. "How Smallpox May Derail Human Immune System." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511180710.htm (accessed September 29, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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