Herpesviridae is a family of viruses that includes the infamous herpes simplex 1, herpes simplex 2, mononucleosis, and chickenpox/shingles. Lesser known is cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that infects over 50% of adults over the age of 40 and sometimes causes reinfection via different strains. The oblivion to infection is likely due to CMV’s lack of symptoms, at least in healthy individuals, that is. Infants and those with compromised immune systems can suffer birth defects or transplant failures as a result of CMV.
Recently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) published a paper which details CMV’s replication mechanism. Scientists previously knew that in addition to bringing its own genetic material into the cell, CMV also brought a tegument protein which allows for sustained lytic expression called PP71. However, because PP71 has a lifespan of a couple hours, they’d been confused about how replication is carried out in such a short period of time. This is where a newly discovered protein, IE1, comes in. Positive feedback of IE1 further sustains lytic expression, ‘taking over’ for PP71. To test this, different levels of IE1 operating under designated breakdown times were applied to synthetic CMV: normal degradation causes normal, efficient replication, but, as expected, faster degradation causes poor replication. These findings might relevant to the mechanisms of other more severe herpes viruses that are more exigent of a cure.
Read the full article here: https://www.contagionlive.com/news/investigators-uncover-a-new-approach-to-target-herpesviruses