Navigation Links
Scientists uncover Ebola cell-invasion strategy
Date:9/3/2008

GALVESTON, Texas University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have discovered a key biochemical link in the process by which the Ebola Zaire virus infects cells a critical step to finding a way to treat the deadly disease produced by the virus.

Ebola produces severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in its victims and inflicts mortality rates close to 90 percent in some outbreaks. No vaccine or antiviral therapy has been developed against the virus, and it is considered a high-risk agent for bioterrorism. In addition, recent devastating outbreaks hit in Uganda in 2008 and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2007.

The UTMB group tied Ebola's cellular invasion mechanism to a series of biochemical reactions called the phophoinositide-3 kinase pathway (named for an enzyme found in the cell membrane). By activating the PI3 kinase pathway, they found, an Ebola virus particle tricks the cell into drawing it into a bubble-like compartment known as an endosome, which is pulled, together with the virus, into the cell. Then at a critical point the virus bursts free from the endosome and begins to reproduce itself.

However, if the PI3 kinase pathway is shut down as the UTMB team did with a drug designed for that purpose Ebola virus particles can't escape from the endosome, and the disease process comes to a halt.

"The nice part about identifying entry mechanisms is you can prevent the virus from infecting the cell," said UTMB microbiology and immunology associate professor Robert Davey, senior author of a paper on the investigation appearing online in the current issue of the journal PloS Pathogens. "You can stop the whole show before it even gets started."

The researchers did some of their work using the Ebola Zaire virus itself, working in UTMB's Robert E. Shope, MD, Biosafety Level 4 laboratory to ensure their safety. They also conducted experiments using harmless, hollow, virus-like particles coated with the critical envelope proteins that activate the PI3 kinase pathway.

Using a unique test created at UTMB that adds a light-emitting molecular beacon, called luciferase, to Ebola viruses and the virus-like particles, the investigators were able to determine exactly when and where each broke out of its bubble, and track its progress.

"Up to that point, it's really a bus ride for these viruses, and PI3 kinase is the bus driver," Davey said. "Whether you're talking about Ebola or Ebola virus-like particles, they've all got the virus envelope proteins that trigger the PI3 kinase pathway, which is the first step of getting the virus onto that bus."

Davey noted that while other viruses had been found that activated the PI3 kinase pathway, Ebola was the first with envelope proteins that had been seen doing so. In addition, he said, it was the first virus to be discovered interacting with the PI3 kinase pathway in order to enter cells, which could have profound implications.

"It's actually triggering the reorganizing of the cell for its own devious outcomes infecting the cell," Davey said. "But there are other possible outcomes of fiddling around with the PI3 kinase. You can get the cell to move, you can get it to live longer, all advantages for a virus. So I'm sure that this is going to be important in other viruses."

In addition, a new generation of drugs are being developed that target PI3 kinase, since the enzyme is often activated in cancers. It is possible that these could also be used to defend against Ebola virus.


'/>"/>

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

Related biology news :

1. Scientists use remote satellite imaging to predict outbreaks of infectious disease
2. Scientists develop new method to investigate origin of life
3. Caltech scientists create DNA tubes with programmable sizes for nanoscale manufacturing
4. Indiana U researchers launch social networking and research management tool for scientists
5. CSHL scientists identify new drug target against virulent type of breast cancer
6. Senescence in liver cells is found by CSHL scientists to help limit acute tissue damage
7. NYU scientists identify critical protein complex in formation of cell cilia
8. Johns Hopkins scientists discover what drives the development of a fatal form of malaria
9. Smithsonian scientists discover new bird species
10. Scientists discover major genetic cause of colorectal cancer
11. Scientists overcome nanotech hurdle
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market ... CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. ... for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented ... The stem cell market of the product is segmented ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017 The research team of The Hong ... fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and ... speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, ... ... A research team led ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... EMEA and North America this May on the following dates: ... Donald H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute will be the ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... of Common Lisp (CL) development tools, and market leader for Semantic Graph ... performance enhancements now available within the most effective system for developing and deploying ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... Gatos, California (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 ... ... business, Analytical Services and Metrology Partners.     , Covalent’s Analytical Services unit ... Most samples can be measured within 24 hours of receipt. There are no ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... The 2017 Colorado ... with over 30 nominees and well as the first-year award for 2017 Manufacturing ... the event was hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, among other sponsors. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: