Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small molecules may prevent Ebola infection

Date:
January 20, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Scientists report they've discovered small molecules that appear to bind to the outer protein coat of the Ebola virus, possibly blocking the virus from entering human cells. The finding may open new paths to treatment of Ebola and the related Marburg viral disease.

Ebola, a virus that causes deadly hemorrhagic fever in humans, has no known cure or vaccine. But a new study by University of Illinois at Chicago scientists has uncovered a family of small molecules which appear to bind to the virus's outer protein coat and may inhibit its entry into human cells.

The results are to be published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and are now online.

Previous studies have shown that small molecules can interfere with the Ebola infection process, says Duncan Wardrop, associate professor of chemistry at UIC and corresponding author of the new study. But almost all of these compounds "appear to exert their effects by altering the cells' response to the virus once it's entered the cell -- by which time it's too late," he said.

The new findings demonstrate that it is possible for a small molecule to bind to the virus before it has a chance to enter the cell and thereby prevent infection, he said.

Wardrop collaborated with UIC virologist Lijun Rong, who created a screening system that uses a chimeric HIV-Ebola virus bearing the protein coat of the Ebola virus. The chimera looks like Ebola but isn't life-threatening for scientists to work with.

After screening more than 230 candidate compounds, Wardrop and Rong found two molecules that inhibited cell entry, but only one that demonstrated specificity for the Ebola virus -- plus a bonus.

"We found that our lead compound also inhibits Marburg," Wardrop said, referring to a related virus that, along with Ebola, is one of the deadliest pathogens known. "That was a nice surprise. There's growing evidence the two viruses have the same cell-entry mechanism, and our observations appear to point to this conclusion."

In an effort to find even more potent anti-Ebola agents, Wardrop and graduate student Maria Yermolina synthesized a series of derivatives of the lead molecule -- a member of a family of compounds called isoxazoles -- and found several that displayed increased activity against Ebola infection. Exactly how and where these small molecules bind to the virus's protein coat is now being determined through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, done by Michael Caffrey, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics.

While it's too early to predict whether the findings will lead to a new treatment for Ebola or Marburg infections, Wardrop said the positive results so far raise hope. The next step would be to see if small-molecule treatments prove effective in animal models.

The UIC scientists also hope their findings will provide further insight into mechanisms the Ebola and Marburg viruses use to enter human cells.

"This knowledge may spur development of new anti-viral agents," Wardrop said.

"From a wider perspective, we're searching for compounds to use as probes to study biological processes. Small molecules which bind to specific proteins and alter their function are invaluable to understanding what these proteins do in living cells," he said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria V. Yermolina, Jizhen Wang, Michael Caffrey, Lijun L. Rong, Duncan J. Wardrop. Discovery, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of a Novel Group of Selective Inhibitors of Filoviral Entry. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2011; 110104093530061 DOI: 10.1021/jm1008715

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Small molecules may prevent Ebola infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119162507.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2011, January 20). Small molecules may prevent Ebola infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119162507.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Small molecules may prevent Ebola infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119162507.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 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