Menu

Novel Hantavirus Infection Method

Researchers find that the potentially deadly virus uses cholesterol to gain access to cells.

Jul 3, 2015
Bob Grant

HantavirusIMAGE, NIAIDHantavirus, the dangerous pathogen that can cause hemorrhagic fever and even death in some patients, has a unique mode of entering and infecting cells: it uses cholesterol in the membranes of host cells, according to a study published in mBio on Tuesday (June 30).

“Our work demonstrates that hantaviruses are extremely sensitive to the amount of cholesterol in the membranes of the cells they are trying to infect,” Albert Einstein College of Medicine immunologist Kartik Chandran, said in a statement. “Cholesterol seems to control the ability of hantaviruses to fuse with cell membranes and get inside, into the cytoplasm, which is where all the goodies are to make more virus.”

Chandran and his colleagues found that hantaviruses use multiple human genes involved in cholesterol sensing, production, and regulation to gain entry to the cells they infect. The researchers also found that disrupting a pathway called S1P significantly reduced the ability of the pathogen to enter cells.

Hantavirus infection usually occurs in rodents, but the animals can pass the pathogen on to humans, sometimes with ruinous effect. No treatment or vaccines treat hantavirus infection, but understanding more about how the virus works may change this. “It is conceivable that cholesterol-lowering drugs could lead to treatments for hantavirus infection,” coauthor John Dye, Jr., of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland said in a statement. “However, such drugs would need to reduce cholesterol levels in key hantavirus target tissues in a human, whereas typical cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins target primarily the liver. It remains to be seen if this can be done safely.”

July/August 2019

On Target

Researchers strive to make individualized medicine a reality

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 Software
DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 Software
DNASTAR® announced the release of Lasergene 16 today, which includes a broad range of improvements in for analysis of DNA, RNA and protein sequence data, as well as new advancements for predicting and analyzing protein structures. 
Arbor Biosciences Partners with Curio Genomics for Analysis of IWGSC Wheat Exome
Arbor Biosciences Partners with Curio Genomics for Analysis of IWGSC Wheat Exome
Arbor Biosciences, a division of Chiral Technologies, Inc and worldwide leader in next generation sequencing (NGS) target enrichment, announces a partnership with Curio Genomics for bioinformatics analysis of the wheat genome.
IDT and Washington University join forces to increase access to the latest NGS technologies
IDT and Washington University join forces to increase access to the latest NGS technologies
As part of its commitment to advocate for the genomics age, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) aims to lower the barriers to access the latest NGS technologies.
Bio-Rad Launches Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex Multiplex Assay, a targeted tool for researching signaling networks in Immunotherapy Research
Bio-Rad Launches Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex Multiplex Assay, a targeted tool for researching signaling networks in Immunotherapy Research
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) July 15, 2019 announced the launch of its Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex, a multiplex immunoassay that offers a targeted approach for Immunotherapy Research.