The seasonal flu's newfound and widespread drug resistance was made possible by an odd series of mutations -- at least two "permissive" mutations that evolved before the mutation for resistance even occurred, according to a study published this week in Science.
The results point to a possible method for predicting which strains of flu are more likely to evolve such resistance in the future. "This is a neat story," said structural biologist linkurl:Kalyan Das;http://www.cabm.rutgers.edu/%7Ekalyan/ of...
with the resistance mutation (H274Y) shown in pink.
The two compensatory mutations (V234M and R222Q)
at the sites shown in orange may help the protein
folding in a way that rescues viral fitness in the
presence of the H274Y mutation.
(The figure was generated using the atomic coordinates
from a crystal structure (PDB ID. 3CL0) on Pymol.)
Image: Kalyan Das (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CABM & Rutgers University, NJ
J.D. Bloom, et al., "Permissive secondary mutations enable the evolution of influenza oseltamivir resistance," Science, 328:1272-5, 2010.
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