Researches identify herpesvirus proteins that target key cellular processes

Jul 11, 2008

A study published July 11th in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens suggests that herpesviruses use multiple strategies to manipulate important components of the host cell nuclear environment during infection. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Affinium Pharmaceuticals Inc., provides novel insights into the potential functions of over 120 previously uncharacterized viral proteins.

Most people are infected with the three human herpesviruses that were the subject of this study; namely herpes simplex virus (type 1), Epstein-Barr virus, and cytomegalovirus. Herpesviruses have complex life cycles due to their adept manipulation of the host cell environment. Although often asymptomatic, herpesviruses can cause life-threatening diseases. In order to provide a more complete understanding of how these viruses alter host cells, the researchers developed a system to examine each viral protein individually in human cells.

The researchers investigated over 230 individual proteins from the three herpesviruses. They focused on 93 identified viral proteins that localized to the cell nucleus and altered key cellular components that regulate gene expression, cell growth and death, and antiviral responses.

Cells depend on nuclear structures called PML bodies to control cell proliferation and survival, to ensure damaged DNA is repaired, and to inhibit virus replication. 24 of the nuclear viral proteins, several of which had no previously assigned function, were found to disrupt or reorganize PML bodies, suggesting that herpesviruses employ multiple strategies for manipulating this key regulator of essential cellular processes.

Further studies will be needed to determine how the identified viral proteins function in the context of viral infection, but this research provides a starting point for investigating how these proteins affect important processes of the cell nucleus.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Fracture liaison services prevent fractures and save lives

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

OSKM stoichiometry determines iPS cell reprogramming

Mar 13, 2015

Researchers at Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application discover a simple way to increase the production of induced pluripotent stem cells. A major hurdle in reprogramming science is ...

Vaccines from a reactor

Mar 02, 2015

In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Udo Reichl, Director at the Max ...

Jumping genes have essential biological functions

Feb 19, 2015

"Alu" sequences are small repetitive elements representing about 10% of our genome. Because of their ability to move around the genome, these "jumping genes" are considered as real motors of evolution. However, they were ...

Recommended for you

UK nurse cured of Ebola after receiving new treatment

49 minutes ago

A British army reservist who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone has fully recovered after becoming the first patient in the world to receive an experimental new treatment.

COPD takes big toll on employment, mobility in US

1 hour ago

(HealthDay)—The respiratory illness known as COPD takes a toll on mobility and employment, with a new report finding that nearly one-quarter of Americans with the condition are unable to work.

Genetic test for inherited kidney diseases developed

4 hours ago

Many kidney disorders are difficult to diagnose. To address this problem, scientists and clinicians have developed a diagnostic test that identifies genetic changes linked to inherited kidney disorders. This ...

Diagnosing infectious diseases at the point-of-care

4 hours ago

A major problem with current testing for infectious diseases in Africa is that it focuses on individual diseases and cannot reliably discriminate between them. Since most infectious diseases have the same ...

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.