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Virus Can Mutate lethally With Help Of Carbohydrates

Study finds that viruses too look out for carbohydrate molecules so as to prepare for an invasion onto our cells.//

A new study by the University of Florida, which has been published in the current Journal of Biological Chemistry, states that it not only humans but viruses too that crave for carbohydrates. The researchers have stated that the viruses hang on to the carbohydrates that overhang from the surface of our cells and stage an invasion in the body.

The researchers explained that the viruses on changing the carbohydrates they attach to are able to infect cells more efficiently. This finding the researchers hope would prove to be valuable to scientists for finding ways to fight cancer or brain diseases. The discovery they hope would also explain how flu and other viruses are always to stay a step ahead of our body's own resourceful immune system.

Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Ph.D., an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the UF College of Medicine and senior author of the paper said, “If you think about the flu virus, a few simple amino acid changes can be the difference between a virus your body can defend against and one that will make you sick. It seems structural juxtapositions of amino acids play a role in determining how viruses recognize cells and whether the viruses are harmful.”

The researchers from the UF came across the opinion of the proteins on the outer shell of the virus mutating to get a more lethal grip on a cell's sugary coat of carbohydrates, or glycans, as they were studying the Minute Virus of Mice, or MVM. They found that that a single strain of the virus, MVMp is actually a harmless strain that causes no ill-effects even in mice that have no functional immune system, but a different version of virus MVMi on the contrary is quite fatal to the mice.

The researchers found that both viruses resemble a miniature, 20-sided soccer balls, and between them their outer
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