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Iowa State chemists track how drug changes, blocks flu virus
Date:2/1/2008

ctroscopy a technique similar to the magnetic resonance imaging technology that takes pictures of soft tissues in the body. The technology enabled them to discover and describe the motion and structure of the M2 proton channel in virus cells. They studied the channel when cells were treated with amantadine and when they were not.

Hong said the study made three findings:

  • First, the M2 protein is in constant motion, changing among various conformations, and amantadine treatment changes the rate of motion and reduces the number of possible conformations the protein can adopt.

  • Second, the structure of the protein changes most prominently at two places facing the channel interior when cells are treated with amantadine.

  • And third, the tilt and orientation of the proteins helices are subtly changed by amantadine.

And all that blocks the ability of a virus to infect a healthy cell.

We didnt know that before, Hong said. And now that makes it very clear what we should study next.

Hongs next step is to examine how mutant versions of the virus are able to resist the flu-stopping changes caused by amantadine. Hong said that study will depend on winning research funding and recruiting graduate students interested in chemistry with biological applications.


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Contact: Mei Hong
mhong@iastate.edu
515-294-3521
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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