Home / Science / New ‘universal’ target for antiviral treatment — ScienceDaily

New ‘universal’ target for antiviral treatment — ScienceDaily

New ‘common’ target for antiviral treatment — ScienceDaily

As the coronavirus outbreak reveals, viruses are a continuing menace to humanity. Vaccines are often developed and deployed in opposition to particular viruses, however that course of takes numerous time, would not assist everybody who wants safety, and nonetheless leaves individuals uncovered to new outbreaks and new viruses.

Now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have uncovered a novel potential antiviral drug target that might result in therapies defending in opposition to a number of infectious illnesses — making a pan, or common, treatment. Their work means that the protein Argonaute Four (AGO4) is an “Achilles heel” for viruses.

AGO4 is considered one of a household of AGO proteins. Until now, there was little proof of why they’re necessary. The researchers, led by Kate L. Jeffrey, PhD, and her collaborators discovered that AGO4 performs a key position defending cells in opposition to viral infections.

Specifically, this protein is uniquely antiviral in mammalian immune cells. The group studied the anti-viral results of a number of Argonaute proteins, and located that solely cells that have been poor in AGO4 have been “hyper-susceptible” to viral an infection. In different phrases, low ranges of AGO4 make mammalian cells extra prone to develop into contaminated.

This research was revealed in the present day by Cell Reports.

The MGH researchers counsel that boosting ranges of AGO4 may shore up the immune system to guard in opposition to a number of viruses. “The goal is to understand how our immune system works so we can create treatments that work against a range of viruses, rather than just vaccines against a particular one,” says Jeffrey.

Mammals have 4 Argonaute proteins (1-Four), which act by silencing genes and that are remarkably conserved all through a number of dwelling issues, together with crops. These are RNAi and microRNA effector proteins and RNAi is the foremost antiviral protection technique in crops and invertebrates. Studies of influenza contaminated mice have proven that AGO4-deficient animals have considerably larger ranges of the virus.

The subsequent steps are to “determine how broad spectrum this is to any virus type,” says Jeffrey. “Then we need to discover how to boost AGO4 to ramp up protection against viral infections.”

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Materials supplied by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Content could also be edited for model and size.

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