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JCI table of contents: June 20, 2008
Date:6/20/2008

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New data, generated by Roberto Cattaneo and colleagues, have raised doubts about the current model of the initial events that lead to infection with measles virus.

Individuals inhale measles virus particles in aerosols and it is currently thought that these particles infect the cells that line the airways (respiratory epithelial cells) before being passed to immune cells that carry the virus particles to other parts of the body and then back to the airways, which again become infected and shed virus into exhaled aerosols. In the study, a measles virus unable to bind to and infect epithelial cells was found to cause symptoms of measles virus infection in monkeys even though it did not infect respiratory epithelial cells and was not being shed into exhaled aerosols. These data suggest that, in fact, inhaled measles virus particles first infect lymphocytes and are only passed to respiratory epithelial cells from the lymphocytes in the tissues. Further, they indicate that the protein that measles virus particles bind to on respiratory epithelial cells, which has yet to be identified, is likely to be found on the surface of the cells that faces the tissues rather than the surface that faces the airways, as previously assumed. As discussed in an accompanying commentary by Makoto Takeda, at Kyushu University, Japan, the results of this study should help researchers identify this protein.

TITLE: Measles virus blind to its epithelial cell receptor remains virulent in rhesus monkeys but cannot cross the airway epithelium and is not shed

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Roberto Cattaneo
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Phone: (507) 538-1188; Fax: (507) 266-2122; E-mail: cattaneo.roberto@mayo.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Robert J Nellis
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Phone: (507) 284-5005; E-mail: Nellis.Robert@m
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Contact: Karen Honey
press_releases@the-jci.org
215-573-1850
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Source:Eurekalert

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