Navigation Links
Putting a bull's-eye on the flu: Detailing influenza's structure for drug targeting
Date:10/21/2010

Beating the flu is already tough, but it has become even harder in recent years the influenza A virus has mutated so that two antiviral drugs don't slow it down anymore.

Reporting their findings in the journal Science, researchers from Florida State and Brigham Young move closer to understanding why not, and how future treatments can defeat the nasty bug no matter how it changes.

The two drugs, amantadine and rimantadine, are no longer recommended by the CDC for use against flu.

They used to work by blocking a hole in the influenza A virus called the "M2 channel," which plays a key role in the virus's ability to reproduce. When the channel changed ever so slightly at the atomic level, the virus became resistant to the drugs.

The research team used a 16-ton magnet to give the virus what amounts to an MRI, and they determined the tiniest, heretofore unknown details of the structure of this channel. The next step is to find a new way to block it.

"This work is laying a foundation to understand how that mutation does its damage and then of course how we can respond with a new bullet," said David Busath, a biophysicist at BYU and co-author of the paper. "Now we've got a fine enough resolution on the target we can start shooting at it, so to speak."

All versions of the flu virus have an M2 channel, so that makes it an attractive potential "Achilles' heel" drugs can aim for.

Another appeal of the channel as a drug target is that there are only a limited number of ways it could mutate in the future and continue to function. So it's possible that blockers could be identified in advance to defeat the virus no matter how it changes.

Because the channel's parts are so minute they cannot be seen with even an electron microscope, the researchers rely on a 15-foot-tall battery of electromagnets super-cooled by liquid nitrogen, supervised by Timothy A. Cross, a Florida State scientist and senior author of the paper.

The magnet allows the team to use a technique called solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance which utilizes some of the underlying technology of an MRI to map the structure of the channel. Florida State's Huan-Xiang Zhou and his students used the data from the NMR to compute precise readings of the distance between two molecules or atoms.

"Now we have a much more refined view of M2, all the way down to the atomic level, the level that includes protons going through the channel, to draw conclusions about how to block it," said Busath.

Busath runs tests to ensure that the samples being studied behave in the same way as viruses in real cells, which demonstrate that the experimental conditions have preserved the study's relevance to the real world.

This new study is more precise than previous work because it examines the virus in an environment that closely simulates its native setting. This is particularly important because its structure can change significantly based on its surroundings.

Now the research team has started screening millions of compounds, looking for drugs that will bind to the channel and block it in its reproductive role.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joseph Hadfield
joseph_hadfield@byu.edu
801-422-9206
Brigham Young University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Researchers putting a freeze on oscillator vibrations
2. Putting the squeeze on an old material could lead to instant on electronic memory
3. Putting a new spin on current research
4. Intricate, curving 3-D nanostructures created using capillary action forces
5. New computer-tomography method visualizes nano-structure of bones
6. High-speed filter uses electrified nanostructures to purify water at low cost
7. Federal grant invests in nanostructured super materials
8. Unprecedented look at oxide interfaces reveals unexpected structures on atomic scale
9. Empa grows sea urchin-shaped structures
10. Depth charge: Using atomic force microscopy to study subsurface structures
11. Researchers use X-ray diffraction microscope to reveal 3-D internal structure of whole cell
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Putting a bull's-eye on the flu: Detailing influenza's structure for drug targeting
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many of the engineers at FireflySci, Inc. ... What sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer service and ... On top of this steady flow of inside information, they have recently revamped their ...
(Date:2/3/2016)...  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ), ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that ... award as a component of employment compensation for ... and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was approved ... 2016 and granted as an inducement material to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND ), ... TransCon technology to address significant unmet medical needs, today ... Leerink Partners Global Healthcare Conference Location: , Waldorf ... 2016 Time:  , 11:55am EST www.ascendispharma.com ... An audio webcast of this event will be posted ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 3, 2016 New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) ... million for researchers in New Jersey ... that demonstrates exciting potential.   James ... the New Jersey Health Foundation Research Grant Program ... educational institutions— Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rowan University ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day ... announced plans to develop a first of its kind ... of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create a ... assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, ... based in West Chester, Ohio ... award winning service staff, based in Austin, ... capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and technical ... Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):