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Researchers uncover more about how poxviruses evade the immune system
Date:1/31/2008

arshalling the immune systems defenses. The poxvirus is then able to replicate and cause immense damage.

The research describes how interferon-gamma binding protein looks and behaves on the molecular level during this process, something not previously understood.

The poxviruses are able to evade the immune system very skillfully, Buller said, so we wanted to identify exactly how these viruses work what makes them so effective and efficient.

Buller added that the findings have great potential for use in developing drugs that target immunological and inflammatory disorders, including a type of heart disease called atherosclerosis (sometimes referred to as hardening of the arteries), inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis) and rheumatoid arthritis.

Of all the poxviruses, smallpox in particular has played a gruesome role in human history. The virus is estimated to have caused between 300 million and 500 million deaths in the 20th century alone. Though smallpox was declared officially eradicated in 1979, many experts fear that clandestine samples of the virus may have survived thus making it a major bioterrorism concern.

The damage that the smallpox virus has done to mankind is horrific and enormous, which is why we think its so important to understand more about the poxviruses and how they operate, Buller said. The more knowledge we have, the better we should be able to cope with other major viruses and diseases in the future.

Buller pointed to co-author Tony Nuara as being critical to the teams success in understanding more about interferon-gamma binding protein. Nuara, now a fourth-year student at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, was working on his Ph.D. in molecular microbiology when taking part in the research effort.

Without Tony, this research wouldnt have happened, Buller said. He solved huge numbers of problems and figured out some answers to
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Contact: Donn Walker
dwalke18@slu.edu
314-977-8015
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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