Navigation Links
Yale biologists 'trick' viruses into extinction

While human changes to the environment cause conservation biologists to worry about species extinction, Yale biologists are reversing the logic by trying to trap viruses in habitats that force their extinction, according to a report in Ecology Letters.

To avoid going extinct a population must not only survive, but also reproduce. Paul Turner, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, tested the practicality of luring a virus population into the wrong cells within the human body, thus preventing virus reproduction and alleviating disease.

"Ecological traps for viruses might arise naturally, or could be engineered by adding viral binding sites to cells that disallow virus reproduction," said senior author Turner. "We proved the concept using a non-human virus, and variants of the bacteria cells it infects."

In ecology, a habitat that supports population growth is termed a "source," whereas a non-supportive habitat is a "sink." This study reported on the success of phi-6 virus populations in environments containing different mixtures of ordinary "source" bacteria and mutant trap cells that act as "sinks."

Their research showed that when the number of trap cells exceeded a key threshold in the mixtures, the virus population could no longer sustain itself and declined toward extinction.

"This approach has intriguing potential for new treatments against human viruses," said Turner. "A similar idea already exists in agriculture, where farmers use non-harvested 'trap crops' to lure insect pests. Because the pests prefer the taste of the trap crops, only these plants need to be sprayed, reducing the amount of pesticide use."

Turner believes that similar trickery might be used against human viruses like HIV. He notes that HIV recognizes the T-cells it infects by CD4 molecules on the cell surf ace, but it then requires functions of the cell nucleus to reproduce. Current anti-HIV therapies are designed to maintain high T-cell counts in the human body, so that the immune system can properly function. But, these drugs therapies are very expensive.

Turner suggests, "A cheaper option is the possibility of engineering trap cells that have CD4 molecules on their surface, but no nucleus for virus reproduction. Mature red blood cells could fill the bill, because they lack a nucleus and could be engineered as sink habitats that greatly outnumber the T-cell source habitats in the body."


'"/>

Source:Yale University


Related biology news :

1. Octopuses occasionally stroll around on two arms, UC Berkeley biologists report
2. GeneNotes - A novel information management software for biologists
3. NYU biologists map out early stages of embryo formation
4. FSU biologists describe key role of signal-transcribing gene during cell cycle
5. High-tech tags on marine animals yield valuable data for biologists and oceanographers
6. UCSD biologists find new evidence for one-way evolution
7. UC San Diego biologists solve plant growth hormone enigma
8. FSU biologists uncover mechanisms that shape cells for better or worse
9. NYU biologists identify gene that coordinates two cellular processes
10. MIT biologists solve vitamin puzzle
11. Brown cancer biologists identify major player in cell growth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... YORK , April 5, 2017 Today ... is announcing that the server component of the HYPR ... known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million ... makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For ... has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled ... Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics ... from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected ... for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells ... Program highlights the need to accelerate development of approaches ... "New techniques for measuring levels ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... SAN DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... a biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem ... of critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that ... the amount of limbs saved as compared to ... of the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving ... marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into ... in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving ...
Breaking Biology Technology: