A key step in how dengue virus invades mammalian cells has been uncovered, solving an ongoing conundrum and presenting a potential new drug target for a disease that infects up to 100 million people each year.
For years, researchers have struggled to fuse dengue virus with cell surfaces or even artificial membranes in the lab, preventing them from modeling how the virus -- for which there are currently no vaccines or effective medications -- infects cells. "Although the fusion step is required for dengue virus infection, this process is not completely understood," said linkurl:Rosa Maria del Angel;http://www.infectomica.cinvestav.mx/ in an email, a dengue researcher at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico who was not involved in the research. Now, linkurl:Leonid Chernomordik;http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/staff/bio.cfm?nih_id=0010161111 and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health have pinpointed the source of the problem: Dengue requires an extra step to...
linkurl:David Goodsell, The Scripps Research Institute;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dengue_envelope_1k4r.png
The Scientist.Zaitseva, E. et al., "Dengue Virus Ensures Its Fusion in Late Endosomes Using Compartment-Specific Lipids," PLoS Pathogens, 6:e1001131- 2010.
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!