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July 26, 2010

Penn Dental Medicine/Tufts Collaborate to Solve Herpes Virus Protein Structure

Collaboration Solves Structure of Herpes Virus Protein, Provides New Drug Directions

July 26, 2010

The new map details an essential piece of the herpes virus “cell-entry machinery,” providing scientists with a new target for antiviral drugs.

The research was published online in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Researchers at Tufts and Penn used X-ray crystallography along with cell microscopy techniques to study the structure and function of the cell-entry protein fusion events carried out by HSV-2. The research has resulted in a map of an important protein complex required to trigger herpes virus infection, setting the stage for new therapeutics that may prevent the virus’s access to cells.

Most viruses need cell-entry proteins called fusogens in order to invade cells. Scientists have known that the herpes virus fusogen does not act alone, requiring a complex of two other viral cell-entry proteins. In this study, researchers determined the structure of this key protein complex and realized it did not resemble the structure of other known fusogens.

Read full article here.

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