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Achilles heel of the herpes virus possibly found

and also to cellular proteins called SNAREs. Typically, SNARE proteins help cells to manage the fusion of membranes of vesicles inside the cell with other specific vesicles. Vesicles are tiny membrane-encased packets that encapsulate neurotransmitters, enzymes or other important substances and allow them to be transported within and between cells.

The researchers were able to show that B5 sits in the cell membrane with one end of the protein exposed outside of the cell ready to link up with viruses -- or to serve the receptor's "real" function, which still remains to be discovered. They also showed that HSV does not enter into pig cells that have an altered human B5 protein that is changed by mutations that affect a functional region important to forming a coiled coil.

"If B5 is a SNARE-like cell fusion receptor", Fuller says, "it may turn out to be useful for more than HSV drug treatment. It could act as a way to link vesicles containing drugs with cells, and deliver them inside". She is currently collaborating with U-M nanotechnology researchers on this concept.

The findings suggest that B5 or its viral ligand could be a target for antiviral treatment, much like cell receptors for the entry of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) into cells have become targets for new AIDS drugs.


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Source:University of Michigan Health System


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