Menu

Viral Trek to the Brain

Rabies hitches a ride with a receptor for nerve growth factor.

Sep 3, 2014
Molly Sharlach

Dorsal root ganglia explant grown ex vivo; Insert: Rabies virus (green) binds the p75 neurotrophine receptor (red) at the tip of a sensory axon.ERAN PERLSON ET AL.The saliva transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal allows the rabies virus to enter a victim’s muscle tissue. But to cause its trademark symptoms, including violent behavior, rabies must first reach the brain.

The virus begins its journey in the peripheral nervous system by traveling along axons. In a study published last week (August 28) in PLOS Pathogens, a team led by investigators at Tel Aviv University in Israel showed that p75 nerve growth factor receptor, or p75NTR, plays a critical role in viral transport.

Tel Aviv’s Shani Gluska, Eran Perlson, and their colleagues tracked fluorescently labeled viral particles moving along mouse axons grown in specialized microfluidic chambers. Although p75NTR is not required for the virus to travel along an axon, the researchers found that viral particles transported along with p75NTR moved at significantly higher speeds than those not associated with this receptor; this difference, they showed, was due to less frequent, shorter pauses during movement.  In fact, p75NTR transported the virus more quickly than it shuttled nerve growth factor, its endogenous ligand.

The researchers also found that rabies viral particles co-localized and moved together with an acidic marker, suggesting that the viral particles may be transported within membrane compartments. Low pH is known to change the conformation of the viral glycoprotein, which may regulate transport.

The results point to a potential therapeutic target, virologist Monique Lafon of the Pasteur Institute in Paris who was not involved in the work told Science News.

July 2019

On Target

Researchers strive to make individualized medicine a reality

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Overcoming the Efficiency Challenge in Clinical NGS
Overcoming the Efficiency Challenge in Clinical NGS
Download this white paper to see how an ECS lab serving a network of more than 10,000 healthcare providers integrated QIAGEN Clinical Insight (QCI) Interpret to significantly reduce manual variant curation efforts and increase workflow efficiency by 80%!
Veravas Launches Product Portfolio to Mitigate Biotin Interference and Improve Diagnostic Assay Accuracy
Veravas Launches Product Portfolio to Mitigate Biotin Interference and Improve Diagnostic Assay Accuracy
Veravas, Inc., an emerging diagnostic company, launched a portfolio of products that can improve the accuracy of current diagnostic test results by helping laboratory professionals detect and manage biotin interference in patient samples with VeraTest Biotin and VeraPrep Biotin.
New Data on Circulating Tumor DNA as a Biomarker for Detecting Cancer Progression Presented at 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting
New Data on Circulating Tumor DNA as a Biomarker for Detecting Cancer Progression Presented at 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting
Scientists presented more than 30 abstracts featuring Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) technology at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, May 31–June 4.
BellBrook Labs Receives NIH Grant for the Discovery of cGAS Inhibitors to Treat Autoimmune Diseases
BellBrook Labs Receives NIH Grant for the Discovery of cGAS Inhibitors to Treat Autoimmune Diseases
The National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Disease recently awarded BellBrook Labs a $300,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to develop novel inhibitors for the target cyclic GAMP Synthase (cGAS). The grant will be used to accelerate the discovery of new treatments for autoimmune diseases by targeting the cGAS-STING pathway.