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:6/23/2017)... ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... leader in dairy research, today announced a new collaboration ... reduce the chances that the global milk supply is ... dairy project, Cornell University has become the newest academic ... Supply Chain, a food safety initiative that includes IBM ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... -- RAM Group , Singaporean based technology ... biometric authentication based on a novel  quantum-state ... perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on a ... Group and its partners. This sensor will have widespread ... security. Ram Group is a next generation sensor ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through ... Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion of ... sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within ... advanced design and manufacturing event will take place June ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled ... bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new ... , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held ... Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, ... ... risk management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences ... the BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics ... at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people ... to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources ...
Breaking Biology Technology: