Science and Technology
publicado em 05/10/2013 às 08h59:00
   Dê o seu voto:

Key mechanism behind herpes revealed by researhcers at Lund University

The pressure explains the way all eight known herpes viruses that infect humans inject their genes into our cells

 
font size
A-
A+

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have for the first time managed to measure the internal pressure that enables the herpes virus to infect cells in the human body. The discovery paves the way for the development of new medicines to combat viral infections. The results indicate good chances to stop herpes infections in the future.

A virus comprises a thin shell of protein, within which are its genes. A long-standing theory has been that a virus has high internal pressure because it is so tightly packed with genetic material. The pressure means that they can infect a cell by ejecting the genes at high force and speed. The cell is then duped into becoming a small 'virus factory' that produces new viruses, multiplying the number. However, no one has previously succeeded in measuring the internal pressure of a virus that can infect humans.

Biochemist Alex Evilevitch from Lund University and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, has measured the pressure inside the herpes virus HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus 1) together with a research team in the US. The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, JACS.

"The pressure explains the way all eight known herpes viruses that infect humans inject their genes into our cells", said Alex Evilevitch.

This includes both of the two most common forms of herpes, which cause cold sores and genital herpes, as well as Varicella zostervirus, which causes chickenpox and shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, which leads to glandular fever, and viruses linked to various forms of cancer.

In previous studies, Alex Evilevitch has also demonstrated that bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, have a high internal pressure. Bacteriophages and herpes viruses separated in evolution billions of years ago, but have retained the same pressure-driven method of ejecting their genes. Evilevitch therefore believes this must be a key mechanism for viral infection.

The discovery could lead to new drugs. The medication that exists to combat viral infections is very specialised and if a virus mutates, which often happens, the medicine can become less effective. However, if a treatment could be developed that reduces the pressure within the virus shell, it would probably be possible to fight many different types of viral infection with the same drug. In addition, the medication would work even if the virus mutated, because mutations do not affect the internal pressure of a virus.

"The results of the present study are the first step towards the goal of developing a drug of this type, and we already have positive preliminary data that shows that the herpes infection can be stopped. It feels great to know that this research will help to fight infections that are as yet incurable", said Alex Evilevitch.

Source: LUND UNIVERSITY
   Palavras-chave:   Herpes    Stop herpes infections    Varicella zostervirus    Alex Evilevitch    Lund University      
  • Share this pageShare this page
  • Share this pageCorrect
  • ShareShare
  • AlertAlert
Reduced link: 
  • You are recommending this story: Key mechanism behind herpes revealed by researhcers at Lund University
  • Fill in the following form to send your recommendation to your friend:

  • You are suggesting a correction for this story: Key mechanism behind herpes revealed by researhcers at Lund University


Receba notícias do iSaúde no seu e-mail de acordo com os assuntos de seu interesse.
Seu nome:
Seu email:
Desejo receber um alerta com estes assuntos:
herpes    stop herpes infections    Varicella zostervirus    Alex Evilevitch    Lund University       
Comments:
Comment
Leave your comment
Close
(Required fields are marked with an *)

(Your email address will never be published or shared.)

Enter the letters and numbers below and click in the button "send"

  • Twitter iSaúde
advertising
Informe Saúde printed version

Recommend the portal
Close [X]
  • You are recommending this story: http://www.isaude.net
  • Fill in the following form to send your recommendation to your friend:

RSS news from the portal  iSaúde.net
Get the newsletter of the portal  iSaúde.net
Recommend the portal iSaúde.net
News from  iSaúde.net in your blog or website.
Get news on the subject of your interest.
© 2000-2011 www.isaude.net Todos os direitos reservados.