Navigation Links
Putting a bull's-eye on the flu: Paper details influenza's structure for future drug targeting
Date:10/21/2010

Beating the flu has always been tough, but it has gotten even more difficult in recent years. Two of the four antiviral drugs used to treat a nasty case of the influenza A virus no longer work.

Fortunately, scientists at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University and researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah are close to understanding why these drugs have become less effective and how new drugs might take their place. Their findings appear this week in the journal Science.

"Resistance to drugs is a fundamental problem that develops from their misuse, overuse and underuse," said Timothy A. Cross, the Earl Frieden Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State and director of the Magnet Lab's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Program, as well as one of the Science article's senior authors. Compounding the problem is that "the development of new drugs to take their place is a decade-long process with infrequent success."

The two drugs no longer recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control amantadine (brand names Symadine and Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) have been used to fight the flu since 1969. For decades, they worked by preventing an essential protein function during viral infection of healthy cells. The protein, called the M2 channel, plays a key role in the virus' ability to reproduce. But the M2 channel mutated just enough to allow the virus to resist both drugs.

"Our work provides a blueprint on how protons are moved through a passageway inside the M2 channel," said Huan-Xiang Zhou, an FSU physics professor and the other senior co-author of the Science article. Interfering with that passageway is "an obvious route for drug development."

To study the M2 channel, researchers enlisted the help of one of the magnet lab's crown jewels: the 900-megahertz, nuclear magnetic resonance magnet. The 40-ton magnet was used to map the protein's structure by giving it the equivalent of an MRI scan. The detailed images allowed the research groups of Cross and Zhou to chart the tiniest, previously unknown aspects of the protein's atomic structure.

"Now that we have a much more refined view of M2 going all the way down to the atomic level, the level that includes protons going through the channel we can draw conclusions about how to block it," said David Busath, a biophysicist at Brigham Young University and a co-author of the Science paper.

Busath and his team have already begun screening millions of compounds, looking for drugs that will bind to the channel and block its reproductive role.

And FSU "has been awarded two patents for drug screening," Cross said. "We'll continue to use the 900-megahertz magnet for these drug-screening activities."

As to why the longtime flu drugs have become ineffective, the massive misuse of amantadine in poultry may have played a role, Cross said.

In the West, amantadine can only be given to humans. But starting in 2005, the Chinese began feeding it to chickens and other poultry to prevent them from getting avian flu. In all, China administered 2.6 billion doses of amantadine to its domestic birds.

"It's terrible to utilize these miracle drugs that can save thousands, if not millions, of lives and dramatically reduce hospitalizations in that fashion," Cross said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Timothy A. Cross
cross@magnet.fsu.edu
850-644-0917
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Putting a green cap on garbage dumps
2. Putting limits on vitamin E
3. Americans want Uncle Sams help putting healthy foods on their dinner table
4. Thrill-seeking holidaymakers are putting dolphins at risk
5. Thrill-seeking holiday-makers are putting dolphins at risk
6. Putting bacterial antibiotic resistance into reverse
7. By putting a ring on it, microparticles can be captured
8. Putting on the pounds after weight loss? Hit the gym to maintain health gains
9. New papers offer insights into process of malarial drug resistance
10. French scientist wins the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize
11. High school students paper published in prestigious college math journal
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Putting a bull's-eye on the flu: Paper details influenza's structure for future drug targeting
(Date:3/22/2017)... Lithuania , March 21, 2017   ... and object recognition technologies, today announced the release ... kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using ... cameras on a single computer. The new version ... to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions ... serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of ... director of public safety business development. Mr. ... enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation transportation ... most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... Pa. , March 20, 2017 PMD ... 2.0 personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), a ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical ... with a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions that ... life. With that intent focus, PMD developed the first ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Beaker, the industry’s pioneer in ... life sciences industry, today announces a strategic partnership with Alcami Corporation, a leading ... of Beaker’s expertise in executive recruitment solutions, providing Alcami with access to the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Building on the success of ... more informative on the very latest developments in radical life extension. RAADfest combines cutting ... festival, and the empowerment of personal development, making it the largest most comprehensive and ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... in designating infertility as a disease, bringing new hope for prospective parents who ... 2017 annual meeting to back the World Health Organization’s designation in hopes of ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... Tunnell Consulting’s ... biopharma and life sciences industries, continue to be in demand for their insights ... will be speaking on “The State of Information Governance in the Biopharmaceutical Industry” ...
Breaking Biology Technology: