JUN 23, 2022 3:24 AM PDT

This Protein Can Stop the Flu From Replicating

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

When viral pathogens like influenza infect cells, they can take over the machinery in the host cells that have been infected to make more viral particles. Those particles are then released from the host cell to infect more cells, and the process is repeated over and over. As more cells are infected, flu symptoms in the host get worse. If something can stop the virus from replicating or infecting more cells, the infection can be brought under control and halted.

Nuclear speckles (green) shown inside a host cell nucleus. Protein complexes (red/pink) regulate its assembly and function. / Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

New research has identified a protein that can inhibit the replication of the flu virus. This work could help create more effective flu treatments. The findings have been reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These results uncover new strategies for interfering with influenza virus replication, providing a potential avenue for the development of new antivirals against influenza," said senior study author Beatriz Fontoura, Ph.D., a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern.

Once the flu virus enters a cell, it gets into the nucleus, and takes over organelles called the nuclear speckles. After that, the nucleus is more conducive to allowing the virus to activate its own genes.

The study authors determined that a protein called TAO2 kinase, which can move phosphate groups from one protein to another, is involved in controlling nuclear speckle assembly. The nuclear speckle assembly is normally involved in various aspects of gene expression.

"We found that TAO2 is needed to maintain the physical integrity and function of nuclear speckles. Among the functions of nuclear speckles is regulation of key steps in gene expression, which are usurped by influenza virus at these compartments to support viral replication," Fontoura explained.

When TAO2 kinase itself or its enzymatic activity was disrupted, the flu virus was not able to replicate in the cell, noted Fontoura. This also happened without disrupting the host cell in a major way.

Sources: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

About the Author
BS
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
AUG 02, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
A New, Innovative Process for Clarifying and Sterile Filtering Cells for Protein Purification Workflows
AUG 02, 2022
A New, Innovative Process for Clarifying and Sterile Filtering Cells for Protein Purification Workflows
Introduction Centrifugation and filtration have been widely accepted as techniques required for clarifying complex cell ...
AUG 23, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
New Insights Into Huntington's Disease
AUG 23, 2022
New Insights Into Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the gradual breakdown of neurons in the brain. The disor ...
AUG 24, 2022
Immunology
Immune Cells Can Use 'Waste' as a Powerful Fuel
AUG 24, 2022
Immune Cells Can Use 'Waste' as a Powerful Fuel
T cells are on the front lines of the immune system, monitoring the body for pathogens, and springing into action when t ...
SEP 03, 2022
Health & Medicine
Why Do Coffee & Cigarettes 'Feel' Better Together?
SEP 03, 2022
Why Do Coffee & Cigarettes 'Feel' Better Together?
For some, there is nothing quite like a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. For others, that first cigarette of th ...
SEP 11, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Effects of Ketamine in Mice Depend on Sex of Human Experimenter
SEP 11, 2022
Effects of Ketamine in Mice Depend on Sex of Human Experimenter
Researchers found that mice more consistently experience antidepressant effects from ketamine when administered by men a ...
SEP 28, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Microprotein Mutations May Significantly Increase Alzheimer's Risk
SEP 28, 2022
Microprotein Mutations May Significantly Increase Alzheimer's Risk
The mitochondrion, commonly called the powerhouse of the cell, might be one of the best known organelles. This special o ...
Loading Comments...