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Fighting the influenza A virus (IAV) still remains a great challenge, and there is a real and urgent need for developing new antiviral medicines. Until now, scientists did not know how the virus was able to release its viral genetic material, which is well protected inside a shell, the capsid. A group of scientists discovered that IAV uses the waste disposal system of the host cell for breaking apart the capsid. The presence of a protein, ubiquitin, on the surface of the capsid makes the host cell perceive the IAV as an aggregate of proteins to waste. Then, a histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6)-dependent pathway, along with cellular transport factors such as dynein and myosin 10, come into play for disposing the virus. The final result is the opening of the capsid followed by the host cell infection. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying IAV infection could lead to advances in medicine. HDAC6, as well as other proteins, were suggested as potential targets for the development of new antiviral therapeutics.
24 Oct 2014
Science in the Classroom (AAAS) - Mimicking a bundle of waste: Influenza A virus strategic attack