Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New Findings Reveal Protein Structure in Rubella Virus

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers have determined the structure of the rubella virus capsid protein, which is central to the virus's ability to assemble into an infectious particle.

Although a successful vaccine is available to protect against rubella virus infection, the discovery could aid efforts to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs to treat related infections.

The protein is located on the virus's inner portion of its shell, or capsid, and is an essential structural component as well as a key factor in virus-host interactions. The new findings reveal a protein structure not previously seen in other viruses that is an essential component of infectious rubella virus, said Michael Rossmann, Purdue University's Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences.

He led a team of researchers at Purdue that discovered the structure, working with researchers at the University of Alberta who created mutated forms of the virus to validate the structural interpretation.

"What we predicted based on the structure is that if we mutated the virus to change the amino acids in a specific region it would destroy the virus and it wouldn't assemble," said Purdue doctoral student Vidya Mangala-Prasad, who graduates this semester.

The findings were published in November in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper was authored by Mangala-Prasad; University of Alberta graduate student Steven D. Willows; Purdue research scientist Andrei Fokine; Purdue postdoctoral researchers Anthony J. Battisti, Siyang Sun and Pavel Plevka; Tom Hobman, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Alberta; and Rossmann.

"These studies may facilitate future vaccine design as well as aid in development of drugs for other RNA viruses for which there are no therapeutic treatments," Hobman said.

RNA viruses include those that cause SARS, influenza or hepatitis C.

The researchers used techniques called cryoelectron tomography, X-ray crystallography and multiple wavelength anomalous dispersion (MAD). Mangala-Prasad crystallized the protein and then used MAD to determine the structure.

"One challenge we had is that the structure we found is not similar to any of the known structures," she said. "So we didn't have any model to go by to solve this particular structure."

Rubella infection leads to severe damage in fetuses when contracted during pregnancy. It is in a class of viruses called togaviruses and causes "German measles," a relatively mild disease characterized by rashes and low-grade fever.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Purdue Research Suggests Approach to Treat Virus Causing Respiratory Illness
Enterovirus D68 has stricken children with serious respiratory infections.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Proton Pathway in Photosynthesis Identified by X-ray Crystallography
A Purdue University-led team has revealed the proton transfer pathway responsible for a majority of energy storage in photosynthesis.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Findings to Help in Design of Drugs against Virus Causing Childhood Illnesses
New research findings may help scientists design drugs to treat a virus infection that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Purdue researchers obtain a snapshot clarifying how materials enter cells
A group of Purdue University researchers has captured a key step in the metabolic process that allows materials, such as nutrients and drug treatments, to move in and out of cells.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Researcher Hits Bulls-Eye for Antibiotic Target
Purdue researcher determines the structure of a protein that controls the starvation response of E. coli.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Scientific News
Scientists Decode Structure at Root of Muscular Disease
Researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease.
A Natural Light Switch
MIT scientists identify and map the protein behind a light-sensing mechanism.
First Complete Structural Study Of A Pegylated Protein
Significant data obtained at NUI Galway reports first crystal structure of a protein modified with a single PEG chain.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Structural Discoveries Could Aid in Better Drug Design
Scientists have uncovered the structural details of how some proteins interact to turn two different signals into a single integrated output.
New Mathematics Advances the Frontier of Macromolecular Imaging
Berkeley Lab’s M-TIP solves the reconstruction problem for fluctuation X-ray scattering.
Diamond Helps Develop New Way of Studying the Tiniest Microcrystals
Researchers have developed a new type of sample holder for ‘serial protein crystallography’.
Crystal Clear Images Uncover Secrets of Hormone Receptors
NIH researchers gain better understanding of how neuropeptide hormones trigger chemical reactions in cells.
TOPLESS Plants Provide Clues to Human Molecular Interactions
Scientists at Van Andel Research Institute have revealed an important molecular mechanism in plants that has significant similarities to certain signaling mechanisms in humans, which are closely linked to early embryonic development and to diseases such as cancer.
Advancing Cancer Drug Design with Image of Key Protein
Scientists have pioneered the use of a high-powered imaging technique to picture in exquisite detail one of the central proteins of life – a cellular recycling unit with a role in many diseases.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos