Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How deadly lassa virus infects cells

Date:
June 27, 2014
Source:
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
Summary:
The Lassa virus, endemic to West Africa, uses an unexpected two-step process to enter cells, research has shown. The results suggest that the mechanism by which Lassa virus causes infection is more complicated than previously known, and could lead to new approaches for preventing the disease.

Scientists have discovered that the Lassa virus, which is endemic to West Africa, uses an unexpected two-step process to enter cells. The results, published in the journal Science, suggest that the mechanism by which Lassa virus causes infection is more complicated than previously known.

An international team of scientists from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, the University of Kiel in Germany, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) collaborated on the study, which could lead to new approaches for preventing the disease.

"This research indicates that viruses may require multiple receptors for delivering their viral cargo for productive infection, which is a fresh way of looking at classical viral entry," said John M. Dye, Jr., Ph.D, of USAMRIID.

According to the authors, it has been known for more than three decades that while Lassa virus can infect a broad range of cells from different species, it does not infect chickens -- despite the fact that bird cells have the necessary receptor, or protein, that the virus uses to enter cells. Thus, some additional mechanism appeared to be at work.

Scientists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School discovered that when Lassa virus latches on to its receptor on the cell surface, it is first transported to a structure inside the cell called a lysosome. Lysosomes have been dubbed the "garbage cans" of cells because they break down a variety of molecules. Therefore, in order to infect the cell, Lassa virus needs to escape the lysosome. It does so by hooking onto a protein called LAMP1 -- a previously undiscovered interior cell receptor for the virus.

"From a virology point of view, this second part of our discovery is the most interesting," said first author Lucas Jae of the Netherlands Cancer Institute. "The identity of the receptor on the cell surface has been known for 15 years. Nobody expected there to be a second receptor, inside of the cell."

The genetic findings were confirmed by Dye and his team -- Andrew Herbert, Ph.D., Ana Kuehne and Ariel Wirchnianski -- who demonstrated that mice specially bred to lack the LAMP1 protein were protected from infection with the Lassa virus. This work, performed at USAMRIID using authentic Lassa virus, was critical for validating the role of LAMP1 in Lassa virus infection. Such research can be conducted only in maximum containment Biosafety Level 4, or BSL-4, laboratories, where investigators wear positive-pressure suits and breathe filtered air as they work.

"The discovery of novel intracellular receptors for viruses, like LAMP1 for Lassa virus, opens the door for the development of therapeutics directed against these previously unknown targets," said Dye.

Lassa virus causes a severe hemorrhagic fever that is 20 to 50 percent fatal in humans, and results in permanent hearing loss in about one-third of those who survive. An estimated 500,000 cases and 100,000 deaths occur each year in West Africa. The disease also affects health care workers in endemic areas, who may lack the necessary equipment to maintain barrier nursing precautions that can keep the disease from spreading.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. T. Jae, M. Raaben, A. S. Herbert, A. I. Kuehne, A. S. Wirchnianski, T. K. Soh, S. H. Stubbs, H. Janssen, M. Damme, P. Saftig, S. P. Whelan, J. M. Dye, T. R. Brummelkamp. Lassa virus entry requires a trigger-induced receptor switch. Science, 2014; 344 (6191): 1506 DOI: 10.1126/science.1252480

Cite This Page:

US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. "How deadly lassa virus infects cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627113100.htm>.
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. (2014, June 27). How deadly lassa virus infects cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627113100.htm
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. "How deadly lassa virus infects cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627113100.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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