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Small molecules may prevent ebola infection
Date:1/19/2011

es -- and found several that displayed increased activity against Ebola infection. Exactly how and where these small molecules bind to the virus's protein coat is now being determined through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, done by Michael Caffrey, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics.

While it's too early to predict whether the findings will lead to a new treatment for Ebola or Marburg infections, Wardrop said the positive results so far raise hope. The next step would be to see if small-molecule treatments prove effective in animal models.

The UIC scientists also hope their findings will provide further insight into mechanisms the Ebola and Marburg viruses use to enter human cells.

"This knowledge may spur development of new anti-viral agents," Wardrop said.

"From a wider perspective, we're searching for compounds to use as probes to study biological processes. Small molecules which bind to specific proteins and alter their function are invaluable to understanding what these proteins do in living cells," he said.


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Contact: Paul Francuch
francuch@uic.edu
312-996-3457
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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