Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why measles spreads so quickly

Date:
November 5, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Researchers have discovered why measles, perhaps the most contagious viral disease in the world, spreads so quickly.

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered why measles, perhaps the most contagious viral disease in the world, spreads so quickly. The virus emerges in the trachea of its host, provoking a cough that fills the air with particles ready to infect the next host. The findings may also help in the fight against ovarian, breast and lung cancers.

The findings, published online Nov. 2 in the journal Nature, give researchers insight into why some respiratory viruses spread more quickly and easily than others: They found the measles virus uses a protein (called nectin-4) in the host to infect and then leave from the strategic location of the throat.

Despite the development of a measles vaccine, the virus continues to affect more than 10 million children each year and kills about 120,000 worldwide. In recent years, the spread of the virus has increased due to lack of people being vaccinated, and measles is still a significant public health problem in the United States.

But why is the measles virus so much more contagious than other respiratory viruses?

"The measles virus has developed a strategy of diabolic elegance," says Roberto Cattaneo, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and Mayo Clinic molecular biologist. "It first hijacks immune cells patrolling the lungs to get into the host. It then travels within other immune cells everywhere in the body.

"However, the infected immune cells deliver their cargo specifically to those cells that express the protein nectin-4, the new receptor. Remarkably, those cells are located in the trachea. Thus, the virus emerges from the host exactly where needed to facilitate contagion."

The researchers were also excited about another aspect of these findings.

Nectin-4 is a biomarker of several types of cancer such as ovarian, breast and lung. Clinical trials are under way that use measles and other viruses to attack cancer -- including current ovarian, glioma and myeloma clinical trials at Mayo Clinic.

Because measles actively targets nectin-4, measles-based cancer therapy may be more successful in patients whose cancer express nectin-4. Many researchers believe that modified viruses could be a less toxic alternative to chemotherapy and radiation.

Dr. Cattaneo worked with colleagues at the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany; Mathieu Mateo, Ph.D., and Chanakha Navaratnarajah, Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic; and other colleagues at the University of Iowa; the Armand Frappier Institute in Montreal, Canada; Inserm/CRCM/University of Aix-Marseille in France; and the National University of Singapore/Duke University.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by grant agencies in Germany, France, Canada and Singapore.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael D. Mόhlebach, Mathieu Mateo, Patrick L. Sinn, Steffen Prόfer, Katharina M. Uhlig, Vincent H. J. Leonard, Chanakha K. Navaratnarajah, Marie Frenzke, Xiao X. Wong, Bevan Sawatsky, Shyam Ramachandran, Paul B. McCray, Klaus Cichutek, Veronika von Messling, Marc Lopez, Roberto Cattaneo. Adherens junction protein nectin-4 is the epithelial receptor for measles virus. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10639

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Why measles spreads so quickly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102161038.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, November 5). Why measles spreads so quickly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102161038.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Why measles spreads so quickly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102161038.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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