Navigation Links
New infections cause dormant viruses to reactivate

GAINESVILLE, Fla. The famous slogan is "A diamond is forever," but that phrase might be better suited to herpes: Unlike most viruses, which succumb to the immune system's attack, herpes remains in the body forever, lying in wait, sometimes reactivating years later.

Researchers have long wondered what causes herpes viruses two strains of which are linked to cancer to reactivate after remaining dormant once the initial infection resolves. Now a team of researchers, including two University of Florida scientists, has discovered that interactions with other infections later in life can trigger these dormant viruses to resurface and cause disease.

Understanding more about how specific pathogens interact with each other could help scientists devise new and better ways to combat these infections and the diseases they cause, the researchers write in a paper published today (June 26) in the journal Science.

"Probably 95 percent of us have been infected with at least one herpes virus, but many people never have a problem with it," said study co-author Rolf Renne, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the UF College of Medicine and a member of the UF Genetics Institute and the UF Health Cancer Center. There are eight herpes viruses that infect humans, causing diseases that range from cold sores and chickenpox to mononucleosis and cancer. "The question has been: What happens to reactivate these viruses to cause disease?"

Led by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis, the study found that parasite infections later in life can spark an immune reaction that clears the way for the herpes virus to reactivate. In this case, the scientists were studying a specific herpes virus linked to a form of cancer called Kaposi sarcoma, human herpes virus 8.

The researchers discovered that after initial infection by the virus, a protein called interferon gamma keeps herpes in check, which explains why the virus typically remains dormant in the body. But when the immune system later responded to an infection with a parasitic worm called a helminth, another protein called interleukin 4 was released, which not only blocked interferon gamma from doing its job but also directly activated virus replication. When the virus replicates, it infects new cells, increasing the chances a cancerous tumor will form, Renne said.

"The fact that the virus can 'sense' the immune reaction to a worm and respond by reactivating is a remarkable example of co-evolution," said senior author Herbert W. Virgin IV, M.D., Ph.D., of Washington University in St. Louis. "We think other interactions between multiple infectious agents and the immune system will be discovered over time that we will view as similarly sophisticated or maybe even devious. Understanding these interactions will help us survive in a complex microbial world."

The Washington University in St. Louis researchers made the discovery first by studying a mouse herpes virus. UF researchers were able to duplicate these findings in human cells infected with the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus.

Infections with the helminth parasite occur frequently in developing countries, including sub-Saharan Africa, where cases of Kaposi sarcoma are also particularly common.


Contact: April Frawley
University of Florida

Related biology news :

1. Painkillers may decrease susceptibility to recurring urinary infections
2. Humans and companion animals harbor the same types of MRSA infections
3. Involvement of a gene in lentivirus infections of sheep and goats has been established
4. Viral infections: Identifying the tell-tale patterns
5. Genetics can explain why infections can trigger rheumatoid arthritis
6. Among US children, more infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria
7. Gut bacteria can cause life-threatening infections in preterm babies
8. First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections
9. Gonorrhea infections start from exposure to seminal fluid
10. £4 million to tackle spread of bacterial infections
11. Marine bacteria to fight tough infections
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... LONDON , June 2, 2016 ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, ... Security Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... world leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management ... in January, however Decatur was selected ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... June 1, 2016 Favorable Government ... Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System ... released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market ... Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics ... 2021, on account of growing security concerns across various ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is ... projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, protecting ... has closed its Series A funding round, according to ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund that ... meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez . ... complete validation on the current projects in our pipeline, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality ... 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016 Cell Applications, Inc. and StemoniX ... produce up to one billion human induced pluripotent ... week. These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable researchers ... spend more time doing meaningful, relevant research. This ... manufacturing process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: