Navigation Links
Gladstone scientists link hepatitis C virus infection to fat enzyme in liver cells

SAN FRANCISCO, CAOctober 10, 2010Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) have found that an enzyme associated with the storage of fat in the liver is required for the infectious activity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This discovery may offer a new strategy for treating the infection.

More than 160 million people are infected throughout the world, and no vaccine is available to prevent further spread of the disease. Current treatments are not effective against the most common strains in the US and Europe. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, shows that the enzyme DGAT1 is a key factor in HCV infection. With several potential DGAT1 inhibitors already in the drug-development pipeline, a treatment for HCV may be possible in the near future.

"Our results reveal a potential 'Achilles heel' for HCV infection," said Melanie Ott, MD, PhD, senior author on the study. "Several DGAT1 inhibitors are already in early clinical trials to treat obesity-associated diseases. They might also work against HCV."

At first glance, the HCV lifecycle is fairly simple. The virus enters the cell. One large protein is produced and cut into several smaller viral enzymes and proteins that build the virus. The RNA genome is copied, and the new RNAs and structural proteins are used to make new virus particles that are released into the blood stream for to infect more cells. These processes were thought to occur at specialized membranes inside the cell. However, recently it has been shown that fat droplets are critically involved.

Fat droplets, which store fat in cells, have become a hot new topic in biology. DGAT1 is one of the enzymes that help to form fat droplets. The Gladstone team, led by Eva Herker, PhD, discovered that HCV infection and viral particle production are severely impaired in liver cells that lack DGAT1 activity.

"DGAT enzymes produce the fat that is stored in the droplets that are important for HCV replication, so we wondered if inhibiting those enzymes might disrupt the viral life cycle," said Dr. Herker. "We found that HCV specifically relies on one DGAT enzymes, DGAT1. When we inhibit DGAT1 with a drug, the liver still produces fat droplets through another DGAT enzyme but these droplets cannot be used by HCV."

The team sought to identify which step in the HCV lifecycle requires DGAT1. They found that DGAT1 interacts with one viral protein, the viral nucleocapsid core protein, required for viral particle assembly. The core protein normally associates with the surface of fat droplets but cannot do so when DGAT1 is inhibited or missing in infected cells.


Contact: Valerie Tucker
Gladstone Institutes

Related biology news :

1. Gladstones Shinya Yamanaka wins Kyoto prize
2. Gladstone and Institute for Systems Biology collaborate on Huntingtons disease
3. Gladstones Shinya Yamanaka wins Lasker Award
4. Gladstone scientists identify key factors in heart cell creation
5. Gladstone scientists reveal key enzyme in fat absorption
6. Gladstone scientists reveal that fat synthesizing enzyme is key to healthy skin and hair
7. Scientists watch cell-shape process for first time
8. Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate
9. Scientists trick bacteria with small molecules
10. DFG awards 4 young scientists 2010 Bernd Rendel Prize
11. Scripps Research scientists develop novel test that identifies river blindness
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it ... Clinical Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 ... able to view live demonstrations of iMedNet ... learn how iMedNet has been able to deliver ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... ALBANY, New York , November 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... According to a new market report published by Transparency ... Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", ... value of US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market ... during the forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced an ... its DNA library preparation products, including the ThruPLEX ... Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized for ... libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free circulating ... in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global ... Practice (GMP) 10000 in the Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem Cells Group GMP ... a world-class team of qualified medical researchers and practitioners, experienced in administering stem ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... interventional radiology technique shows promise for helping morbidly obese patients ... being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological ... --> --> Gastric artery ... a way to stop bleeding in emergency situations, but the ... obesity is new. Mubin Syed , M.D., interventional ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , December 1, 2015 Partnership includes ... for the u niversity , ... support treatment s cale - up ... (ARVs)   Africa , where licensees based anywhere in ... based on SDN technology. --> Africa , where licensees based ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Mass. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... HART ), a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ ... received written notification from The NASDAQ Stock Market ... bid price requirements. The letter noted that as ... HART,s common stock having exceeded $1.00 per share ...
Breaking Biology Technology: