Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microbiologists find new approach to fighting viral illnesses

Date:
August 22, 2012
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
By discovering how certain viruses use their host cells to replicate, microbiologists have identified a new approach to the development of universal treatments for viral illnesses such as meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis and possibly the common cold.

Flu virus rendering.
Credit: iStockphoto/Sergey Panteleev

By discovering how certain viruses use their host cells to replicate, UC Irvine microbiologists have identified a new approach to the development of universal treatments for viral illnesses such as meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis and possibly the common cold.

The UCI researchers, working with Dutch colleagues, found that certain RNA viruses hijack a key DNA repair activity of human cells to produce the genetic material necessary for them to multiply.

For many years, scientists have known that viruses rely on functions provided by their host cells to increase their numbers, but the UCI study -- led by microbiology & molecular genetics professor Bert Semler -- is the first to identify how the RNA-containing picornaviruses utilize a DNA repair enzyme to do so.

Study results appear in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Aug. 20.

RNA viruses have ribonucleic acid as their genetic material (rather than deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA). Notable human diseases caused by RNA viruses include SARS, influenza, hepatitis C, West Nile fever, the common cold and poliomyelitis.

The UCI and Dutch researchers examined one group of RNA viruses, called picornaviruses, using biochemical purification methods and confocal microscopy to see how they co-opt the functions of a cellular DNA repair enzyme called TDP2 to advance their replication process.

"These findings are significant because all known picornaviruses harbor the target for this DNA repair enzyme, despite the fact that their genetic material is made up of RNA rather than DNA. Thus, identifying drugs or small molecules that interfere with the interaction between the virus and TDP2 could result in a broad-spectrum treatment for picornaviruses," said Semler, who also directs UCI's Center for Virus Research.

By targeting a host cell function required for viral replication and not the virus itself, he added, the primary challenge of antiviral drug resistance may be sidestepped.

As part of their survival mechanism, RNA viruses mutate often, and drugs intended for them usually become ineffective over time. HIV, for example, rapidly mutates, necessitating a combination therapy employing a number of antiviral agents.

A drug that blocks RNA viruses from hijacking DNA repair enzymes may avoid these resistance issues. Semler's lab plans to screen mixtures of drug candidates to find ones that inhibit this process in cells infected by the human rhinovirus, the predominant cause of the common cold.

Richard Virgen-Slane, Janet Rozovics, Kerry Fitzgerald, Tuan Ngo, Wayne Chou and Paul Gershon of UCI and Gerbrand van der Heden van Noort and Dmitri Filippov of Leiden University in the Netherlands participated in the study, which received support from the American Asthma Foundation and a National Institutes of Health Public Health Service grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Virgen-Slane, J. M. Rozovics, K. D. Fitzgerald, T. Ngo, W. Chou, G. J. van der Heden van Noort, D. V. Filippov, P. D. Gershon, B. L. Semler. An RNA virus hijacks an incognito function of a DNA repair enzyme. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1208096109

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Microbiologists find new approach to fighting viral illnesses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822125214.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2012, August 22). Microbiologists find new approach to fighting viral illnesses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822125214.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Microbiologists find new approach to fighting viral illnesses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822125214.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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