Navigation Links
BCM, Rice scientists map flu's chemical key
Date:10/16/2007

HOUSTON, Oct. 15, 2007 Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Rice University have developed a three-dimensional, molecular map that could yield clues about the genetic mutations that will allow bird flu to spread among humans.

The research, which appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Online Early Edition, was conducted on a strain of the influenza B virus initially isolated from Hong Kong. Unlike strains of influenza A -- which include bird flu, swine flu and others -- influenza B affects only humans.

"The big question is, 'What would it take for the bird flu to change and start killing us"'" said research co-author Jianpeng Ma, a structural biologist who holds joint appointments at both BCM and Rice. "Since flu B is a distant relative of flu A, the fewer common features among them would allow identifying the critical parts required for infecting humans."

The research is based on a more than six years of painstaking experiments by lead author Qinghua Wang, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM. The experiments focused on a protein called hemagglutinin (HA), the chemical key that allows flu viruses to attach to target cells and infect them with viral DNA. There are 16 HA proteins, but only flu B and H1, H2 and H3 of flu A are found in human-transmissible strains. Scientists know H5, the HA key used by bird flu, is very similar to the chemical keys used by human strains of flu A. Like all proteins, the HA keys consist of a precise sequence of amino acids.

"In terms of sequence, there is only a 25 percent overlap between HA proteins for type A and type B," Ma said. "But in terms of function, the two are remarkably similar.

Wang said, "It would be better if there were more differences. The similarities suggest that only minor mutations are needed for bird flu to become transmissible to human."

Scientists know the precise 3D structure of several HA keys for flu A, but Wang and Ma's work represents the first mapping of an HA key for flu B. Currently, Ma and Wang are working out the precise molecular mutations that will be required for bird flu's HA to change into a human transmissible form.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
2. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
3. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
4. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
5. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
6. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
7. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
8. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
9. Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores
10. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
11. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... DALLAS , May 12, 2016 ... has just published the overview results from the Q1 ... of the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a ... wearables data with a health insurance company. ... choose to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , ... the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was ... 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings ... flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the ... the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s ... how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS Translational ... lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem cells ... this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, ... down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower ... 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following ... Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: