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:4/28/2016)... 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... with the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin ... (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/22/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Doctors in Rome say micronutrients found in certain foods have ... Mesothelioma has just posted an article on the new research. Click here to ... Sciences and Translational Medicine evaluated more than 150 studies on polyphenols in cancer for ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Korean researchers say Manumycin A triggers ... a new way to treat the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article ... from several Korean institutions based their mesothelioma study on the fact the Manumycin A, ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... , May 19, 2016  AdvancedFlow Systems ... Inc. (AGI), based out of Maple ... Biogas Ltd. to its existing portfolio of contract ... agreement. AFS along with its sister companies Surround ... a vertically integrated industrial group that specializes in ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... May 19, 2016 ... (OTC PINK: RGBPP) announced today initiation of a ... cord blood based cancer immunotherapeutic product leveraging its ... Regen described a generation of cord blood derived ... gene silencing.  The product in development will be ...
Breaking Biology Technology: