Protein found that slows hepatitis C growth in liver cells

Apr 27, 2007

Biomedical researchers have identified a cellular protein that interferes with hepatitis C virus replication, a finding that ultimately may help scientists develop new drugs to fight the virus.

The anti-hepatitis C activity of the protein, called “p21-activated kinase 1” (PAK1), was discovered by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), who describe their findings in an article in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. In addition to presenting the researchers’ discovery that PAK1 controls the rate at which hepatitis C virus replicates, the paper describes the biochemical pathways that lead to PAK1 activation and the specific mechanisms by which PAK1 interferes with the ability of hepatitis C to hijack liver cells and make more copies of itself.

“Our findings reveal a novel cellular control pathway that regulates the growth of hepatitis C virus within the cell,” said Dr. Stanley M. Lemon, director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Hepatitis C Research Center at UTMB and of the academic medical center’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity. Lemon, senior author of the Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, added, “Understanding this better is likely to suggest new approaches to therapy for this difficult to treat disease."

Hepatitis C chronically infects approximately 170 million people worldwide. The most effective treatment for the virus, interferon-based therapy, eradicates the virus less than 50 percent of the time and causes debilitating side effects. Those for whom that treatment fails are at high risk for fatal cirrhosis or liver cancer. In the United States, about half of all liver cancer cases occur in people infected by hepatitis C virus.

The UTMB scientists reported their findings in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Their article is entitled “P21-activated Kinase 1 Is Activated through the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin/p70 56 Kinase Pathway and Regulates the Replication of Hepatitis C Virus in Human Hepatoma Cells.”

Source: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Explore further: Organ transplant rejection may not be permanent

Related Stories

New catalyst does more with less platinum

6 minutes ago

Platinum is a highly reactive and in-demand catalyst across the chemical and energy industries, but a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Georgia Institute of Technology scientists could reduce the ...

Fishing catch research pinpoints best assessment method

26 minutes ago

Edith Cowan University researchers are working on tools to improve future fishing management and conservation by developing effective geostatistical methods with which to model the spatial distributions of ...

Research to aid Californian drought response

36 minutes ago

The worsening drought in California has prompted US agencies to turn to Australian researchers to identify the most effective strategies Australian utilities and agencies used to survive the Millennium Drought.

A giant Pac-Man to gobble up space debris

36 minutes ago

The Clean Space One Project has passed a milestone. The space cleanup satellite will deploy a conical net to capture the small SwissCube satellite before destroying it in the atmosphere. It's one of the solutions ...

Recommended for you

Organ transplant rejection may not be permanent

49 minutes ago

Rejection of transplanted organs in hosts that were previously tolerant may not be permanent, report scientists from the University of Chicago. Using a mouse model of cardiac transplantation, they found that immune tolerance ...

Researchers find key mechanism that causes neuropathic pain

3 hours ago

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have identified a key mechanism in neuropathic pain. The discovery could eventually benefit millions of patients with chronic pain from trauma, diabetes, shingles, multiple ...

Deep sea light shines on drug delivery potential

3 hours ago

A naturally occurring bioluminescent protein found in deep sea shrimp—which helps the crustacean spit a glowing cloud at predators—has been touted as a game-changer in terms of monitoring the way drugs ...

Researchers learn to measure aging process in young adults

20 hours ago

Looking around at a 20th high school reunion, you might notice something puzzling about your classmates. Although they were all born within months of each other, these 38-year-olds appear to be aging at different ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.