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

Protein 'Tubules' Free Avian Flu Virus from Immune Recognition

Published: Friday, November 07, 2008
Last Updated: Friday, November 07, 2008
Bookmark and Share
Two domains or portions of the protein NS1 combine to form tiny tubules where double-stranded RNA is hidden from the immune system, researchers say.

A protein found in the virulent avian influenza virus strain called H5N1 forms tiny tubules in which it "hides" the pieces of double-stranded RNA formed during viral infection, which otherwise would prompt an antiviral immune response from infected cells, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in an online report in the journal Nature.

Two domains or portions of the protein NS1 combine to form tiny tubules where double-stranded RNA is hidden from the immune system, said Dr. B. V. Venkataram Prasad, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, molecular virology and microbiology at BCM and his student, Dr. Zachary A. Bornholdt.

"Once we confirm the importance of this structural information, we should be able to design drugs to block this action," said Prasad. "There are other things the protein could do to interfere with different immune mechanisms. We don't know if this is the only mechanism or if there are others that also come into play during influenza virus infection."

The two researchers had already recognized the importance of the protein NS1 in the virulence of influenza viruses and particularly, H5N1, a form of avian flu associated with more than half the deaths in a 2004 "bird flu" outbreak that resulted in 50 human cases and 36 deaths in Vietnam, China and Thailand.

In all but one case, experts ruled out human-to-human spread of the virus. In a previous report, Prasad and Bornholdt described the structure of an area of the protein called the effector domain. In this report, a series of elegant experiments designed and carried out over eight months by Bornholdt allowed the two scientists to "crystallize" the entire protein.

By doing this, they were able to determine its structure using a technique called X-ray crystallography. This technique enables scientists to determine the three-dimensional structure of proteins and other bio-molecules by scattering X-rays through a crystal of the molecule. They substantiated their structure with cryo-electron microscopy, which makes images of tiny frozen structures using an extremely powerful electron microscope.

That structure revealed a previously unsuspected idiosyncrasy of NS1 in H5N1 that could explain the virus' virulence. In most cases, when an infected cell is exposed to a virus, double-stranded RNA molecules are formed triggering a potent anti-viral response that involves production of interferon.

However, the two domains of NS1 in this H5N1 interact to form tiny tubules. The double-stranded RNA is hidden or sequestered in these structures. The cell never sees a significant length of the RNA and does not marshal its immune forces to the fight the virus. Prasad and Bornholdt believe also that cellular factor binding sites found on the surface of the tubules also play a role in fooling the immune system.

"This is only one structure," said Prasad. "We need to see if this holds up with other NS1 structures from other influenza viruses."

Bornholdt's technique for crystallizing the protein will prove valuable in pursuing this work, said Prasad.

"Is this a common mechanism for eluding the immune system?" he said. He said hopes to build a library to NS1 structures to facilitate future studies designed to fight influenza worldwide.

While H5N1 is not usually transmitted from human-to-human at this point, a small change in its genetic structure – perhaps an exchange of genes with a more easily transmitted flu virus – could change that, he said. Developing drugs to fight the virus could prove life-saving in a pandemic.

Further Information

Join For Free

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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,100+ 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

Antibodies Block Norovirus’ Entrance into Cells
Scientists have uncovered a mechanism in the human body that targets and successfully blocks noroviruses.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Growing Noroviruses in the Lab
Human noroviruses – the leading viral cause of acute diarrhea around the world – have been difficult to study because scientists had not found a way to grow them in the lab.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Neurodvelopmental Disorder Cause Linked to SON Gene
A genetic link has been discovered for a previously unxplained neurodevelopmental disorder.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Play Role in Tumor Growth
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have reported a new mechanism that helps cancer cells engage myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Largest Genomic Study on Kidney Cancer
Understanding the complexity of cancer is a major goal of the scientific community, and for kidney cancer researchers this goal just got closer.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Largest Genomic Study on Kidney Cancer Brings Hope for More Effective Treatments
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have found that a pathway called immune checkpoint was most active in a subtype of clear cell kidney cancer that is typically very aggressive.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Baylor, DNAnexus Collaborate
Partnership sets out to develop HgV, a new iteration of HGSC's Mercury, a BCM-developed data processing and variant calling pipeline for analyzing and annotating next-generation sequencing data in research and clinical contexts.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Baylor, TGen Collaborate on Personalized Cancer Treatment Options
The companies will collaborate on precision medicine for cancer patients by offering liquid biopsies, performing gene sequencing, conducting clinical trials, and creating personalized vaccines.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Role of Cancer Stem Cells in Chemo-Resistance
'Wound response' of cancer stem cells may explain chemo-resistance in bladder cancer.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Massimo Pietropaolo Named McNair Scholar at Baylor
World renowned physician-scientist in type 1 diabetes research, Dr. Massimo Pietropaolo, has been named McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Clinical Integration of NGS
Experts provide much-needed policy analysis for clinical integration of next generation sequencing.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Collaboration Unravels Novel Mechanism for Neurological Disorder
The novel gene (CLP1) associated with a neurological disorder affecting both the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
$3M NIH Grant Enables Baylor International HIV/AIDS Program
Researchers to study genetic differences of disease in sub-Saharan African children.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Baylor College of Medicine, Berry Genomics Co. Seek to Improve on Prenatal Genetic Tests
Teams aim to improve prenatal genetic testing by combining BCM’s expertise in using microarrays for DNA analysis and Berry’s non-invasive technology evaluating fetal DNA in maternal plasma.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Microarray Analysis Improves Prenatal Diagnosis
A "chip" or array that can quickly detect disorders such as Down syndrome, or other diseases associated with chromosomal abnormalities, has proved an effective tool in prenatal diagnosis in 300 cases, as reported by Baylor College of Medicine.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Scientific News
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Structure of Primary Cannabinoid Receptor is Revealed
The findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol —a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects.
Overlooked Molecules Could Revolutionise our Understanding of the Immune System
Researchers have discovered that around one third of all the epitopes displayed for scanning by the immune system are a type known as ‘spliced’ epitopes.
Illumina Contributes to ClinVar Database
The contribution includes variants of all classifications, from pathogenic to benign, identified during interpretation of whole genome sequences generated in the CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory.
Agilent Presents Early Career Professor Award to Dr. Roeland Verhaak
JAX professor recognized for the development and implementation of workflows for the analysis of big-data from transcriptomics to next generation sequencing approaches.
NIH Study Determines Key Differences between Allergic and Non-Allergic Dust Mite Proteins
Researchers at NIH have uncovered factors that lead to the development of dust mite allergy and assist in the design of better allergy therapies.
NIH Contributes to Global Effort to Prevent and Manage Lung Diseases
The large scale trial will measure health benefits of clean cookstoves.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,100+ scientific videos