Navigation Links
Mosquito virus could lead to new vaccines and drugs
Date:9/21/2012

A mosquito sample collected three decades ago in Israel's Negev Desert has yielded an unexpected discovery: a previously unknown virus that's closely related to some of the world's most dangerous mosquito-borne pathogens but, curiously, incapable of infecting non-insect hosts.

Researchers believe this attribute could make the Eilat virus a uniquely useful tool for studying other alphaviruses, a genus of largely mosquito-borne pathogens that includes the viruses responsible for chikungunya, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis. In addition, the researchers say, Eilat could also aid in the development of new alphavirus vaccines, therapies and diagnostic techniques.

"This virus is unique it's related to all of these mosquito-borne viruses that cause disease and cycle between mosquitoes and animals, and yet it is incapable of infecting vertebrate cells," said University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston graduate student Farooq Nasar, lead author of a paper on the virus now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "It's a gift, really, because we can compare it to other alphaviruses and figure out the basis of their ability to infect a variety of animals, including humans."

Eilat was discovered in a virus sample that Joseph Peleg of Hebrew University sent to UTMB's Dr. Robert Tesh, an author of the PNAS paper and director of the World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses. The collection holds over 5,000 identified viruses and dozens of unidentified samples like the one contributed by Peleg.

All the researchers knew about Peleg's specimen was that it killed insect cells while leaving animal cells untouched, a very unusual behavior. So they sent it to a lab at Columbia University that specializes in doing highly intensive searches for the genetic material of viruses, a process called "deep sequencing." As it turned out, there were two new viruses in the sample. One virus killed insect cells, and the other Eilat virus infected them without doing any harm.

"We were extraordinarily lucky to have that other virus in our sample, because without the cell death it caused, we never would have done the work that led us to Eilat," Nasar said. "Essentially, we found it by accident."

Eilat's inability to grow in animal cells even its genetic material cannot replicate in them makes it unique among alphaviruses, and it also makes it likely that the virus could be uniquely valuable to researchers who study alphaviruses and work to protect humans and domestic animals from them. For example, the UTMB researchers say, Eilat could be transformed into a vaccine against one of its dangerous relatives by making changes to the genes that produce its envelope proteins, which are exposed on virus particle surfaces and stimulate the critical parts of the immune response.

"We have taken the genes for the envelope proteins of very dangerous viruses like eastern equine encephalitis and used them to replace the genes for Eilat's structural proteins," Nasar said. "That gives us viruses that we can grow in insect cells that can't do anything in vertebrate cells at all, but still produce immunity against eastern equine encephalitis they can be used to vaccinate animals, and hopefully someday people."

A variety of Eilat-based "chimeric viruses" viruses made by combining genetic material from other viruses could be used to study the interactions between host cells and dangerous alphaviruses, leading to the development of antiviral drugs. The viruses could also serve as the basis for new diagnostic tools that could be deployed in an alphavirus outbreak. Because these chimeras, like Eilat, would not be able to infect vertebrates, such research could be done without the elaborate and often cumbersome containment precautions needed for working with pathogens like chikungunya, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, or eastern and western equine encephalitis.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mosquitoes -- how we smell is why they bite, research shows
2. New rearing system may aid sterile insect technique against mosquitoes
3. Viruses not to blame for chronic fatigue syndrome after all
4. Study of giant viruses shakes up tree of life
5. Viruses could be the key to healthy corals
6. Computer viruses could take a lesson from showy peacocks
7. By detecting smallest virus, researchers open possibilities for early disease detection
8. Viruses with integrated gene switch
9. Turmeric spices up virus study
10. Scientists discover new type of virus responsible for a devastating disease in snakes
11. Researchers demonstrate control of devastating cassava virus in Africa
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016   LegacyXChange, ... "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release its ... to be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed ... will also provide potential shareholders a sense of the ... an industry that is notorious for fraud. The video ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... 17, 2016 ABI Research, the leader ... global biometrics market will reach more than $30 ... from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to ... anticipated to reach two billion shipments by 2021 ... Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) will be showcasing a broad ... Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories to test cannabis products for potency, moisture, ... booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s instruments can help improve QA/QC testing, peak ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Columbia , April 27, 2016 ... "NanoStruck") (CSE: NSK) (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt ... Anschluss an ihre Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 ... hat, ihre Finanzen um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf ... Kanadische Dollar zu bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... NDA ... joined the company as an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly a ... managing the development of small molecule monographs based on analytical methods. NDA ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO Benito Novas announced that Duncan ... affiliate Kimera Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross received his Ph.D. in Immunology ... disorders and the suppression of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) under UM Professor Robert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: