Navigation Links
ETH Zurich professor Ari Helenius awarded Benoist Prize

Why do we catch colds? How do viruses get into cells? In pursuing this central question, Ari Helenius, Professor of Biochemistry at ETH Zurich since 1997, and his team have pioneered research in this field. For his efforts, Professor Helenius has today been awarded the Swiss Nobel Prize in Bern, Switzerland. This award is not only for me but for the entire team as well a confirmation of our long years of work, and demonstration of the good working conditions that exist for researchers at ETH Zurich, Professor Helenius said.

Discoverer of Endosomes

Viruses are parasites that need to feed from living cells in order to replicate. The membrane covering each cell creates an effective barrier against infiltration by undesired substances. The supposition to date had been that viruses invade cells through fusion with the plasma membrane, in the same way that two soap bubbles collide with one another, then fuse. Helenius found instead that the vi-ruses are carried by a cellular mechanism to an internal location in the cyto-plasma where the lower pH value promotes penetration into the cytosol and eventually the nucleus. Working from this finding, Helenius discovered the so-called endosome, a structured, intracellular membrane bubble that provides the acidic environment that allows the fusion of virus and cell.

Increased insight into cellular quality control

Virologists are not the only ones to benefit from Heleniuss reseach. Cell biolo-gists have also profited. Heleniuss work with viruses has led to the identification of underlying mechanisms of cell biology. One of these mechanisms is a quality control system that newly synthesized proteins, such as hormones and en-zymes, have to pass before they are deployed by the cell to perform their func-tion. While studying the synthesis of viral proteins in the infected cell, Helenius and co-workers observed that defective, incorrectly folded viral proteins failed to be transported to the surface of the cell. The quality control system underlying this phenomenon could be shown to also apply to cellular proteins. By subject-ing proteins to a quality check, cells make certain that newly synthesized pro-teins are correctly assembled and folded and do not endanger the functionality of the cell.

Medicinal uses

By far the greatest importance of Heleniuss research with viruses in the area of medicine is how influenza and other viruses infiltrate cells. Proof that there is a system of quality control has additionally led to recognition that defects in the mechanism are the causes of certain illnesses such as particular forms of diabe-tes and cystic fibrosis, an inherited illness that occurs with relative high fre-quency in Europeans. This makes Professor Heleniuss work of direct interest in the health field.


Contact: Ari Helenius
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Related biology news :

1. Great White shark evolution debate involves WSU Lake Campus geology professor
2. K-State professors discover enzyme responsible for creation of a beetles hard shell
3. Pitt professors theory of evolution gets boost from cell research
4. DNA conclusive yet still controversial, Carnegie Mellon professor says
5. Professors to develop hand-held pathogen testing device
6. LSU professor discovers new species
7. TGen awarded $7.1 million to accelerate brain disease research
8. LEGO-Like building blocks to halt cell growth wins Hebrew University prize
9. Comments, experts and background on the 2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry
10. New research says winning a Nobel Prize adds nearly 2 years to your lifespan
11. Australian wins prestigious prize in biodiversity informatics
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/27/2017)... CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics ... Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, ... 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical ... CHS for its high level of EMR usage ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar 24, 2017 Research and Markets ... System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade ... industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System Market ... the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... for all the given segments on global as well as regional ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... 2017  BioTech Holdings announced today identification and ... ProCell stem cell therapy prevents limb loss in ... demonstrated that treatment with ProCell resulted in more ... compared to standard bone marrow stem cell administration.  ... reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 ... ... of Kindred, a four-tiered line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of ... production and packaging of Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... WA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... industry leader in Hi-C-based genomic technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution ... ProxiMeta Hi-C kit and accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome ...
Breaking Biology Technology: