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Scientists show that tick-borne flaviviruses use a novel mechanism to evade host defenses

a similar genomic structure, and many scientists thought they would use the same survival mechanism and respond to the same vaccines and therapies, but the RML work shows otherwise.

"NS5 prevents interferon from doing its sentry job and allows the virus to take over cells," says Dr. Bloom. "This is the first definitive study that dissects where the failure occurs in the signaling pathway, and then identifies some of the interacting partners in the cell and virus." Prior to this work, Dr. Bloom says, scientists knew only that NS5 helped tick-borne flaviviruses replicate.

RML's Sonja Best, Ph.D., who spearheaded the Langat virus work, says the group will continue to study tick-borne flaviviruses by examining the role and location of NS5 in Powassan virus. Powassan virus, found in North America, Russia, China and Southeast Asia, rarely infects people but is potentially fatal. If the research group can track the movement of NS5 in Powassan-infected cells and learn how it interacts with other proteins to block immune defenses, "that would provide a target for therapeutics to counteract tick-borne flaviviruses," says Dr. Best.


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Source:NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


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