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New biological route for swine flu to human infections
Date:12/10/2009

ation of the avian virus became enhanced in humans.

"The SR polymorphism mutation in PB2 accomplishes the same goal as the change from glutamic acid to lysine," Mehle explains. "The fact that all of the 2009 H1N1 isolates contain this second mutation supports the notion that it is important for transmission into humans, although we don't yet know the relative importance of the changes in the polymerase versus mutations elsewhere in the virus."

Mehle and Doudna are now conducting a series of biochemical and structural studies to get a comprehensive understanding of this polymerase mutation and why it evolved. Such studies are necessary before effective new antivirals can be developed.

"We need to identify what is unique about human cells that requires mutations in the influenza polymerase, possibly providing new avenues to exploit in developing therapeutic strategies," Mehle says.


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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