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Reconstructions of how virus particles mature as they move through their host cells. (Source: Purdue University, Department of Biological Sciences)
Biologists at Purdue University have determined why dengue virus particles undergo structural changes as they mature in host cells and how the changes are critical for enabling the virus to infect new host cells. The findings pertain to all viruses in the family of flaviviruses, which includes a number of dangerous insect-borne diseases such as dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, and St. Louis encephalitis.
The researchers detailed critical changes that take place as the virus is assembled and moves from the inner to the outer portions of its host cell before being secreted so that it can infect other cells. Virus particles are exposed to progressively less acidic conditions as they traverse this “secretory pathway,” and this changing acidity plays a vital role in the maturation of the virus.
This article was published in Drug Discovery & Development magazine: Vol. 11, No. 4, April, 2008, pp. 29.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery