Navigation Links
UNC researchers discover gene that suppresses herpesviruses

Chapel Hill, NC Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) hide within the worldwide human population. While dormant in the vast majority of those infected, these active herpesviruses can develop into several forms of cancer. In an effort to understand and eventually develop treatments for these viruses, researchers at the University of North Carolina have identified a family of human genes known as Tousled-like kinases (TLKs) that play a key role in the suppression and activation of these viruses.

In a paper published by Cell Host and Microbe on Feb. 13, a research team led by Blossom Damania, PhD, of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that suppressing the TLK enzyme causes the activation of the lytic cycle of both EBV and KSHV. During this active phase, these viruses begin to spread and replicate, and become vulnerable to anti-viral treatments.

"When TLK is present, these viruses stay latent, but when it is absent, these viruses can replicate" said Dr. Damania.

Patrick Dillon, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Damania's lab, led the study. Other co-authors included UNC Lineberger members Drs. Dirk Dittmer, Nancy Raab-Traub and Gary Johnson.

KSHV and EBV are blood-borne viruses that remain dormant in more than 95 percent of those infected, making treatment of these viruses difficult. Both viruses are associated with a number of different lymphomas, sarcomas, and carcinomas, and many patients with suppressed immune systems are at risk for these virus-associated cancers.

"The dormant state of these viruses is what makes it so hard to treat these infections and the cancers associated with these infections," said Dr. Damania.

Researchers have known that stimuli such as stress can activate the virus from dormancy, but they do not understand the molecular basis of the viral activation cycle. With the discovery of the link between these viruses and TLKs, Dr. Damania said that researchers can begin to look for the molecular actions triggered by events like stress, and how they lead to the suppression of the TLK enzymes.

"What exactly is stress at a molecular level? We don't really understand it fully," said Dr. Damania.

With the discovery that TLKs suppresses these viruses, Dr. Damania said that the proteins can now be investigated as a possible drug target for these virus-associated cancers. In its normal function in the cell, TLKs play a role in the maintenance of the genome, repairing DNA and the assembly of the chromatin, but there is a lot more to learn about the function of the TLKs, said Dr. Damania. One avenue of her lab's future research will investigate how TLKs function in absence of the virus.

"If we prevent this protein from functioning, and we combine this with a drug that inhibits viral replication, then we could have a target to cure the cell of the virus. If the virus isn't there, the viral-associated cancers aren't present," said Dr. Damania.


Contact: William Davis
University of North Carolina Health Care

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers discover biological diversity in triple-negative breast cancer
2. MIND Institute researchers receive $1 million grant to study cognitive training in fragile X
3. Effective treatment for late infantile batten disease developed by MU, BioMarin researchers
4. Northwestern Medicine researchers investigate stem cell therapy for stroke
5. Researchers identify genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer
6. U of M researchers develop a molecular calcium sponge to tackle heart failure
7. UIC researchers to study how young adults use e-cigarettes, snus
8. Cancer Drug Doesnt Speed Up Tumor Growth, Researchers Say
9. UAB researchers cure type 1 diabetes in dogs
10. University of Minnesota researchers discover enzyme behind breast cancer mutations
11. Yale researchers spot attention deficits in babies who later develop autism
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
UNC researchers discover gene that suppresses herpesviruses
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... District , the only authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern ... protecting their workers from extreme heat at their worksites. Employers with workers ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the ... can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... announced today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship ... of the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to ... technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is ... emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these medical ... the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical ... the "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan ... "Hongyuan Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop ... the strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... India , June 24, 2016 ... Needles Market by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen ... Therapy (Insulin, GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, ... by MarketsandMarkets, This report studies the market for the ... expected to reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in ... durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has ... is led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel ... investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization ... release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: