Virus reproduction and spread are studied

April 6, 2006 at 2:39 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., April 6 (UPI) -- Wake Forest University scientists have made a surprising discovery about a powerful virus -- a discovery that may lead to better vaccines and medications.

The biochemists have identified a protein that plays an important role in the ability of the vesicular stomatitis virus to invade healthy cells and reproduce.

Although VSV infects animals, it is not a human pathogen. Nevertheless, scientists study it because of its similarity to the Ebola, rabies and Marburg hemorrhagic fever viruses.

"VSV is a good model of a variety of other viruses," said John Connor, an assistant professor of biochemistry. "Our research has given us a better understanding of how viruses like these are able to do the nasty things they do."

Normally, VSV is extremely powerful, with the ability to shut down a cell's system for making proteins. VSV then controls the cell's protein-making machinery, making its own proteins so it can replicate and spread. The scientists were able to weaken that power by altering the matrix protein, so VSV cannot make as much protein and does not reproduce.

The study is reported in the April issue of the Journal of Virology.

Related UPI Stories
Topics: John Connor
Latest Headlines
Trending News
Study: Runner's high similar to effects of marijuana
Study details Greenland's ice sheet plumbing system
8 things you didn't know about baby gorillas
Blood test rules out heart attack faster than standard tests
Researchers simulate part of a rat brain