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Immune protein fends off exotic virus

Date:
February 4, 2010
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
A study shows that antiviral proteins called type I interferons (IFNs) are needed to fend off infection with an exotic mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya virus. This pathogen, which causes high fevers and severe joint pain, triggered a recent epidemic in Southeast Asia, infecting more than 30 percent of the population in some areas.

A study published online on February 1 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine shows that antiviral proteins called type I interferons (IFNs) are needed to fend off infection with an exotic mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya virus.

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This pathogen, which causes high fevers and severe joint pain, triggered a recent epidemic in Southeast Asia, infecting more than 30% of the population in some areas.

A team led by Marc Lecuit and Matthew Albert at the Pasteur Institute in Paris found that individuals infected with Chikungunya virus had increased levels of type I IFNs in their blood. But the source of the virus-fighting IFN proteins came as a surprise. Viruses related to Chikungunya trigger type I IFN production mostly from immune cells. But during Chikungunya infection, immune cells neither produced nor responded to type I IFNs. Rather non-immune cells called fibroblasts -- the main target of virus infection -- provided the essential type I IFN.

This unique feature should be taken into consideration in future efforts to develop therapeutic strategies for controlling Chikungunya virus infection.

Reference: Schilte, C., et al. 2010. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20090851.


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


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Rockefeller University Press. "Immune protein fends off exotic virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201091622.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2010, February 4). Immune protein fends off exotic virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201091622.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Immune protein fends off exotic virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201091622.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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