Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists take a step towards developing better vaccines for bluetongue

Date:
August 1, 2011
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Researchers have taken a step towards producing better vaccines against bluetongue -- an important disease of livestock -- after successfully assembling the virus outside a cell. This research could provide scientists with the tools to develop vaccines with useful new properties.

Researchers have taken a step towards producing better vaccines against Bluetongue -- an important disease of livestock -- after successfully assembling the virus outside a cell. This research, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could provide scientists with the tools to develop vaccines with useful new properties.

Professor Polly Roy of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the team, explains "We've developed the tools and provided the instruction manual for developing new, more effective Bluetongue vaccines. This will not only be useful for combating Bluetongue but will provide insights into fundamental virus assembly that will be useful for producing vaccines for other viruses."

Better vaccines will be important to help combat the threat that Bluetongue poses to livestock farming in the UK and abroad. Bluetongue is a viral disease of cows and sheep that is transmitted by biting midges. Historically it has mainly affected African farms, but since 1998 the disease has been spreading across Europe. In 2007 one strain of the disease reached as far as the east coast of the UK. The disease is economically devastating and kills up to 70% of the sheep it infects.

Professor Roy continues "Bluetongue is an important virus to study because it poses such a threat to livestock farming, but it presents some considerable scientific challenges. By virus standards Bluetongue is quite architecturally complex and it has a relatively difficult genome to work with, so assembling it in a test tube was a significant challenge. No one had been able to get such a complicated virus to assemble outside a cell before."

Professor Roy and her team synthesised each of the virus's gene and protein building blocks separately and then combined them in the right order in order to produce a functional virus particle. Then, to check whether they had been successful, they infected some midge cells with the newly synthesized virus.

Professor Roy continues "When we injected the virus particles that we had assembled in the test tube into some midge cells they started behaving and replicating just as we would expect a wild virus to do. This was a really exciting moment. What had previously been a complex of proteins and other molecules whirred into activity and started making copies of itself."

Currently, Bluetongue vaccines are produced by chemical treatment of virulent viruses to inactivate them. These vaccines are effective at preventing the disease, but because it is difficult to tell the difference between animals that have been vaccinated from those that have recovered from an infection. This makes controlling outbreaks much more difficult.

This new approach provides an assembly kit for the virus which could allow scientists to design vaccines with useful properties. Developing a vaccine that is tagged with a marker, for example, would make it easier to tell the difference between animals that have been vaccinated and those that have suffered the disease.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said "This is an exciting development and offers great potential for future vaccine development. Using the tools of synthetic biology, we are now able to assemble viruses piece by piece in a way that gives us far greater understanding of how they work. This approach could allow us to make safer and more effective vaccines against a range of viral diseases.

This research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sofia Lourenco and Polly Roy. In vitro reconstitution of Bluetongue virus infectious cores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 1, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1108667108

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Scientists take a step towards developing better vaccines for bluetongue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801160217.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2011, August 1). Scientists take a step towards developing better vaccines for bluetongue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801160217.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Scientists take a step towards developing better vaccines for bluetongue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801160217.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