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.
Dengue virus envelope
linkurl:David Goodsell, The Scripps Research Institute;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dengue_envelope_1k4r.png
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...
PLoS Pathogens.
Dengue virus infects a cell
The Scientist.Zaitseva, E. et al., "Dengue Virus Ensures Its Fusion in Late Endosomes Using Compartment-Specific Lipids," PLoS Pathogens, 6:e1001131- 2010.

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