Monday, May 11, 2015

Rift Valley Fever Virus Helps Understand Viral Replication

A group in Montreal, Canada is attempting to understand hemorrgaic fever viruses through the lens of basic research. By understanding the mechinism by which the viruses replicate adn mutate, they hope to create possible drug targets for future therapeutics which may be a more economically viable solution to such diease than a vaccine (vaccines have been difficult to finance becasue many of these viruses occur in poor countries where there is not a large enough financial incentive for large scale produciton).

Using Rift Valley Fever Virus, researches attempted to characterize the method of replication of the virus. Using nuclear magnetic imaging (NMR), the researches attempting to characterize what each of the viral proteins were responsible for  replication. They discovered that a non-structural protein (NSs) of the virus binds to Transcription Factor II in the cell and creates nuclear filaments. The viral protein that does this looks similar to the human DNA repair proteins (sharing similar structural motifs) and may be a potential candidate for drug-targeting, since inhibiting the protein's action reduces virulence.


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