Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studies reveal structure of EV71, a virus causing childhood illnesses

Date:
March 2, 2012
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered critical new details about the structure of a virus (enterovirus 71) that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children, pointing toward designs for antiviral drugs to treat the disease.

Purdue researchers created this three-dimensional reconstruction of enterovirus 71, which causes hand, foot and mouth disease and potentially fatal encephalitis. Researchers are reporting new findings about the structure of the virus, proposing a way to design an antiviral drug to treat the infection.
Credit: Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University

Researchers have discovered critical new details about the structure of a virus that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children, pointing toward designs for antiviral drugs to treat the disease.

The virus, called enterovirus 71, causes hand, foot and mouth disease, and is common throughout the world. Although that disease usually is not fatal, the virus has been reported to cause encephalitis, a potentially fatal illness found primarily in the Asia-Pacific region.

Now, two research teams are reporting new findings about the structure of the virus. One of the teams, from Purdue University, has proposed a way to design antiviral drugs to treat the infection. Findings from that team are detailed in a paper appearing March ) in the online Express issue of the journal Science. Another team, led by researchers at Oxford University, will report its findings in a paper scheduled to appearMarch 4 in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

"Taken together, the findings in both papers are useful when you are trying to stop the virus from infecting host cells," said Michael G. Rossmann, Purdue's Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences. "The common theme is that they both report for the first time on the structure of this virus, and this tells us how to design compounds to fight the infection."

Rossmann is co-author of a paper written by Purdue postdoctoral research associate Pavel Plevka; Purdue research scientist Rushika Perera; Richard J. Kuhn, a professor and head of Purdue's Department of Biological Sciences; and Jane Cardosa, a researcher at Sentinext Therapeutics in Malaysia.

Both teams used a technique called X-ray crystallography to determine the virus's precise structure, showing similarities to features on related enteroviruses, including poliovirus. However, a key feature is different in that a small molecule called a "pocket factor," located within a pocket of the protective shell of the virus, is partially exposed in EV71.

When the virus binds to a human cell, the pocket factor is squeezed out of its pocket resulting in the destabilization of the virus particle, which then disintegrates and releases its genetic material to infect the cell and replicate.

Researchers led by Rossmann have developed antiviral drugs for other enteroviruses such as rhinoviruses that cause the common cold. The drugs work by replacing the pocket factor with a molecule that binds more tightly than the real pocket factor.

This hinders infection in two ways: The drug molecule fills the pocket, making it difficult for a virus to bind to a human cell. Also, because the drug binds tightly to the pocket, it stabilizes the virus and keeps it from disintegrating and releasing its genetic material into the host cell.

However, in enterovirus 71 -- or EV71 -- a portion of the pocket factor sticks out of the pocket, exposing a hydrophilic tip, whereas the pocket factors in other related viruses are entirely enclosed in the pocket. In order to hinder EV71 infection, antiviral drugs must have a hydrophilic tip at one end to mimic the pocket factor.

"The major point of this paper is that it suggests how to design a drug to inhibit EV71 infection," Rossmann said.

Hand, foot and mouth disease, an infection most common among young children, sometimes arises in a daycare setting. Of the 427,278 cases of the disease recorded in mainland China between January and May 2010, 5,454 cases were classified as severe, with 260 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

"Right now, there isn't much you can do for a child who contracts encephalitis," Kuhn said.

Future work will include research aimed at developing an antiviral drug for EV71. The research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Emil Venere. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Xiangxi Wang, Wei Peng, Jingshan Ren, Zhongyu Hu, Jiwei Xu, Zhiyong Lou, Xumei Li, Weidong Yin, Xinliang Shen, Claudine Porta, Thomas S Walter, Gwyndaf Evans, Danny Axford, Robin Owen, David J Rowlands, Junzhi Wang, David I Stuart, Elizabeth E Fry & Zihe Rao. A sensor-adaptor mechanism for enterovirus uncoating from structures of EV71. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 04 March 2012 DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2255
  2. P. Plevka, R. Perera, J. Cardosa, R. J. Kuhn, M. G. Rossmann. Crystal Structure of Human Enterovirus 71. Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1126/science.1218713

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Studies reveal structure of EV71, a virus causing childhood illnesses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302132430.htm>.
Purdue University. (2012, March 2). Studies reveal structure of EV71, a virus causing childhood illnesses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302132430.htm
Purdue University. "Studies reveal structure of EV71, a virus causing childhood illnesses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302132430.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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