Researchers discover structure of key Ebola protein

January 12, 2009

Research led by Iowa State University scientists has them a step closer to finding a way to counter the Ebola virus.

A team led by Gaya Amarasinghe, an assistant professor in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, has recently solved the structure from a key part of the Ebola protein known as VP35.

VP35 interferes with the natural resistance of host cells against viral infections.

"Usually when viruses infect cells, the host immune system can fight to eventually clear the virus. But with Ebola infections, the ability of the host to mount a defense against the invading virus is lost," said Amarasinghe.

This is because the VP35 protein interferes with the host's innate immune pathways that form the first line of defense against pathogens, he said.

In their research directed toward understanding host-viral interactions, Amarasinghe and his research team used a combination of X-ray crystallography and nucleic magnetic resonance spectroscopy to solve the structure using non-infectious protein samples.

A report describing the findings is published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Now that the structure from a key part of VP35 is available, this information can be used as a template for anti-viral drug discovery.

"The next step is to use this structure to identify and design drugs that potentially bind with VP35," he said.

If a drug that inhibits VP35 function can be discovered, then the Ebola virus could potentially be neutralized.

"Without functional VP35, the Ebola virus cannot replicate so it is noninfectious," said Amarasinghe.

The Ebola virus can cause hemorrhagic fever that is usually fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks have caused more than 1,000 deaths, mostly in Central Africa, since it was first recognized in 1976.

Source: Iowa State University

Explore further: Researchers find how Ebola disables the immune system

Related Stories

New mechanism to control human viral infections discovered

December 5, 2016

A team of researchers, co-led by a University of California, Riverside professor, has found a long-sought-after mechanism in human cells that creates immunity to influenza A virus, which causes annual seasonal epidemics and ...

Scientists find new way to improve MERS vaccines

November 23, 2016

Since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was identified in 2012, more than 1,800 people have been infected with the virus that causes MERS, and the fatality rate is a concerning 36 percent. There's still no approved ...

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Giant radio flare of Cygnus X-3 detected by astronomers

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—Russian astronomers have recently observed a giant radio flare from a strong X-ray binary source known as Cygnus X-3 (Cyg X-3 for short). The flare occurred after more than five years of quiescence of this source. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

morpheus2012
not rated yet Jan 12, 2009
oh my god owsome

they could of just did a request for the navy biowarfare protein database who by the way made the virus 4o years ago

this is another example how retarded people are those who post this news, those who make the discovery,

and those who read this and are impressed in any way shape or form:)

soo fak u all stupid faks

cluless brainless monkeys

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.