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Discovery could lead to better control of hemorrhagic fever viruses

ge of TfR1's structure will speed up the Choe lab's efforts to pinpoint the parts of the molecule that are exploited by New World hemorrhagic fever viruses, which is necessary for the development of targeted antiviral drugs that block those parts, but not the parts involved in iron uptake.

The findings of Choe and colleagues also suggest that iron supplements may reduce the severity of New World virus infections. Past studies have shown that when the iron level in the body is low, the number of transferrin receptors in tissues increases. Consistent with these findings, Choe's team found that New World arenaviruses infect cells more efficiently when iron levels are low, and that adding iron to cultured cells makes them less susceptible to infection. Choe notes that New World hemorrhagic fever outbreaks mostly occur in poor rural areas, where people are often deficient in micronutrients, including iron, possibly predisposing them to more severe infection when exposed to the rodents that carry the viruses.

Choe's lab is now trying to find the cellular receptor for other viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever in humans. In 2003, Choe's lab collaborated with Farzan's lab to identify angiotensin converting enzyme2 (ACE2) as the receptor for the SARS virus.


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Source:Children's Hospital Boston


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