Christopher C. Broder, Ph.D., associate professor in USU's Department of Microbiology, and his NIH-funded team of researchers and investigators demonstrated that a cell surface protein called Ephrin-B2 is a functional receptor for both the Hendra and Nipah viruses. Many animal species are vulnerable to these viruses, making the potential for amplification in intermediate hosts and transmission greater. Ephrin-B2 is highly conserved in animals, and this finding sheds light on how these viruses can infest such a wide range of hosts.
"In addition to our concern about Nipah and Hendra viruses as emerging global health and economic threats, we worry about their potential use as bioterror agents," stated Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the arm of NIH that funded the research, in an NIH news release. "This work, funded through our biodefense research program, is a major step towards developing countermeasures to prevent and treat Nipah and Hendra viruses."
"Now that we've identified the cell receptor, we have a new target for activity, hopefully blocking the viruses from infecting cells," Dr. Broder explained. Team members Matthew Bonaparte, Ph.D., and Anthony Dimitrov, Ph.D., both at USU, identified the cell receptor by analyzing a human cell line that was resistant to virus infection against two susceptible cell lines. The results of the research were published in the July 26 edition of the Proce
Source:Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine