Navigation Links
UNC researchers discover how hepatitis C virus reprograms human liver cells
Date:12/18/2012

Chapel Hill, NC CHAPEL HILL Hepatitis C virus has evolved to invade and hijack the basic machinery of the human liver cell to ensure its survival and spread. Researchers at the University of North have discovered how hepatitis C binds with and repurposes a basic component of cellular metabolism known as a microRNA to help protect and replicate the virus.

In a paper published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Dec. 17, researchers in the laboratory of Stanley M. Lemon, MD, professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology and member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Center for Translational Immunology, and the UNC Center for Infectious Disease, outline the critical role the microRNA known as miR-122 plays in the life cycle of the hepatitis C virus.

A chronic blood-borne virus that attacks the liver, hepatitis C infects more than four million in the United States and more than 130 million worldwide. Deaths from the infection surpass those due to HIV/AIDS in the U.S. The virus is currently the leading factor in liver transplantation and a major cause of liver cancer, the third most fatal cancer worldwide and the ninth most deadly in the United States. Chronic hepatitis virus infections factor into more than two-thirds of liver cancer deaths.

"There is no cancer in the United States that is increasing in incidence as fast as liver cancer, and that is because of hepatitis C," said Dr. Lemon.

One question has been why hepatitis C virus specifically targets the liver. The research of Dr. Lemon and his colleagues points to the interaction between the hepatitis virus and miR-122 as the explanation.

The human genome contains around 1,000 microRNAs, strands of cellular material that play a diverse role in regulating gene expression and cellular metabolism. In a healthy liver cell, the microRNA miR-122 regulates the activity and decay of numerous cellular RNAs responsible for the production of proteins. It normally functions to block protein expression or to promote degradation of RNAs in the cell. The hepatitis C virus genome is entirely RNA, but miR-122 acts on it in a completely different manner - stabilizing it and enhancing its ability to produce viral proteins. In effect, it promotes and protects the invader.

"MicroRNAs almost always promote the degradation of cellular RNAs. This is actually stabilizing the viral RNA," said Dr. Lemon.

While Dr. Lemon's team has explored the manner in which hepatitis C exploits miR-122 to protect the viral RNA in previous publications, the new research suggests a much deeper bond between the microRNA and virus. Hepatitis C RNA contains a site that binds directly to the microRNA, and the team has shown that the presence of miR122 is actually crucial for functioning of the virus. Dr. Lemon believes the virus has evolved a unique dependency and that it requires the host's microRNA to reproduce.

"It is a relationship that is unique to hepatitis C and not seen, as far as we know, with any other virus," said Dr. Lemon.

Because of the importance of miR-122 to the replication of hepatitis C, the microRNA presents a promising target for new drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has already begun developing therapies that target miR-122. Dr. Lemon said that his research will help explain the underlying biology behind why these drugs work and suggest new possibilities for treatment by targeting other enzymes and proteins that play a role in the interactions between the virus and miR-122.

"If you target miR-122 with a therapeutic that blocks its function or sequesters it so it is no longer accessible to the virus, the replication of the virus is severely impaired," said Dr. Lemon.


'/>"/>

Contact: William Davis
william_davis@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
2. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
3. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
4. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
5. Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products
6. NJ stroke researchers report advances in spatial neglect research at AAN Conference
7. Autism by the numbers: Yale researchers examine impact of new diagnostic criteria
8. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
9. Researchers ID Genes That May Determine Mental Illness
10. Researchers Develop Blood Test for Depression
11. University of Cincinnati researchers win $3.7M grant from US Department of Defense
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UNC researchers discover how hepatitis C virus reprograms human liver cells
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... Amir Qureshi, MD is the first physician in Arkansas to implant Nuvecta’s ... Nuvectra™ Algovita SCS System has been FDA approved as a treatment option for chronic ... introduce the most powerful SCS system and the only stretchable lead on the market. ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... premium delicatessen foods, is sharing bold recipes for Memorial Day entertaining that are ... menus. , “Boar’s Head fresh sliced meats and cheeses featured in these ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... MD (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... After ... anti-stress Antzy Top gadget will continue to be available at a discounted crowdfunding price ... deal with stress wherever they are, I also wanted to bring a fidget toy ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... Lowe acts as host and helps educate and inform the public using the “Informed” ... reconnect with America as it explores some of the best places to hike and ... inventive new place for a family vacation, and have discovered hiking. Many will agree ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... , ... May 26, 2017 , ... “THE FLINTHILLS FAMILY-Our Journey to the Cross”: the ... Journey to the Cross” is the creation of published authors, Bob and Margaret Massey. ... to say, he is "panther quick and leather tough." His love for others is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2017)... -- Fortuna Fix Inc. (" Fortuna "), a private, clinical-stage ... the need for embryonic and fetal stem cells by using ... Fortuna announced today the launch of its ... MD, PhD; Father Kevin FitzGerald , S.J., PhD; Col. ... James Giordano , PhD. "We are excited and ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... Clarius Mobile Health, a digital healthcare ... this week at the American Congress of Obstetricians ... San Diego, CA from May ... perfect tool for clinicians to easily confirm pregnancy, ... pregnancy-related complications like ectopic pregnancy and placenta previa," ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... 4, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading ... data solutions, today announced that it is teaming up ... Technologies Limited to lower diabetes healthcare costs in ... card, which is available throughout all provinces and territories ... be eligible for additional savings when shopping for Dario ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: