An interesting discovery could lead to the development of a promising new drug that can better treat hepatitis C.
The team of Professor Terence Ndonyi Bukong, in collaboration with Professor Patrick Labonté, have discovered a potential therapeutic target for hepatitis C. They have unearthed an important protein involved in the processes essential for the development and progression of this viral pathology. This promising discovery could lead to better treatments for the disease, which kills an estimated 500,000 people every year.
Hepatitis C: master of disguise
Normally, the system immune it needs to recognize a virus to attack it and prevent infection. The system, called antigen-antibody, can only take place if the virus is recognized as something foreign to our body. The hepatitis C virus, however, he is a master of disguise. In fact, it moves, undetected, in the that’s my. These are microvesicles released by cells. Normally, exosomes are used for the communication, transport and disposal of waste products of cellular metabolism. The interactions between this virus, “awarded” this year also by the Nobel Prize, and the vesicles are therefore much studied as a possible therapeutic target. Now a new research, published on PlosOne, goes precisely in this direction.
A specific protein
This new one Research revealed that hepatitis C viruses interact with a key area of the protein RTN3 using it to insert their viral RNA into exosomes. The role of RTN3 was already known, but the i was not known molecular details. Using special techniques of biology molecular e immunology Canadian researchers figured out more details. In this way they were the first researchers to demonstrate the exosomal role that this protein plays in the pathogenesis ofhepatitis C. By identifying the areas of the protein that lead to the formation of an infectious exosome, researchers can now search for molecules that block the interaction with theViral RNA. This would prevent viral RNA from entering the that’s my and hide from the body’s immune system.
Not just Hepatitis C
The discovery of this interaction between the virus and the RTN3 protein opens the door to further research on other viruses that use exosomes to evade detection. For example, studies have shown that viruses HIV, Zika ed Hepatitis B they also hide inside exosomes. This disguise creates a problem for the optimal functioning of vaccines. Why, even if the antibodies developed, they would not be able to block infection or transmission of the virus. If the RTN3 protein plays an important role in these other diseases as well, it could help deliver treatments, and potentially vaccines, more effective.
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