Friday, March 17, 2017

Structure of Human Antibody for Zika Determined

Researchers have determined the structure of human antibody bound to Zika virus. Findings show that the antibody may be particularly effective since a lower concentration than expected can inhibit an important mechanism of infection. Teams at Vanderbilt and Washington University had already isolated the antibody, but a team led by Michael Rossmann and Richard Kuhn at Purdue University has determined the structural basis for neutralization. 

The antibody disrupts viral entry into cells. When Zika virus attaches to a cell's surface, a difference in pH causes Zika envelope protein trimers to expose fusion peptides. This leads to transfer of viral RNA into the cell. The human antibody prevents the pH-triggering mechanism by cross-linking the Zika envelope protein trimers and tying them up. These findings will help in development of antiviral drugs for Zika infection. 

-Anne Sommer

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