To enter cells, viruses can rely on the complicity of proteins on the surface of our cells. The technique of one of these accomplices has just been unmasked by UCLouvain researchers, offering new prospects for blocking the entry of reoviruses, as well as similar viruses such as the coronavirus, into our bodies.
Viruses need to enter the cells of their hosts in order to multiply and infect other cells. To do this, they can rely on the collaboration of certain proteins on the surface of our cells. David Alsteens’s team at UCLouvain’s LIBST/Faculty of Bioengineering has discovered how a partner protein, integrin-beta1, helps reoviruses, which are responsible for respiratory and intestinal infections, enter cells. This was achieved using state-of-the-art equipment and extensive expertise in atomic force microscopy. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, creates new prospects for the development of effective antiviral therapies and cancer treatments based on the use of viruses as gene vectors.
Check out the animated explanations in this English-language video!
Additional articles on research by David Alsteens’s team:
- Lock the door on coronavirus
- Reoviruses: weapons against cancer?
- Examining molecular mechanisms to target treatments more effectively
- Corps à corps moléculaire