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Eliminating Cell Receptor Prevents Infections in Animal Study
Date:7/22/2009

PHILADELPHIA, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia sheds light on the role of cell receptors in acting as gatekeepers for infectious viruses. By using mice genetically engineered to lack a particular receptor in heart and pancreas cells, the study team prevented infection by a common virus that causes potentially serious diseases in humans.

"This finding is a step to understanding how cell receptors operate in infections," said study leader Jeffrey M. Bergelson, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Scientists have identified receptors for many viruses that cause disease," said Bergelson, "but it is not always clear whether the receptors found in cell cultures actually play a role in the disease process. In this case, we confirmed that this receptor really is involved in the disease."

The current study, publishing July 23 in Cell Host and Microbe, focused on the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR), which Bergelson discovered in 1997. He previously found that, in cell culture, Group B coxsackieviruses (CVBs) manipulate cell signals to bind to the CAR.

CVBs are common in humans, usually causing minor, transient infections. However, this virus may at times cause potentially severe infections, such as myocarditis (in the heart) and viral meningitis (in the lining of the brain). CVB may also infect the pancreas, causing pancreatitis, and is suspected to contribute to childhood-onset diabetes.

Bergelson noted that his current animal study finding does not have immediate implications for changes in patient care, although discoveries in basic biology often lay the foundation for future clinical treatments in unforeseen ways.

Viruses may have interactions in living organisms that differ greatly from their interaction
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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