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.

Related Articles


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 April 1, 2015 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 April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The Indian government declared victory over leprosy in 2005, but the disease is making a comeback in some parts of the country, with more than a hundred thousand lepers still living in colonies, shunned from society. Duration: 02:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) 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