Herpes virus exploits immune response to cause infection

Washington, June 7 (ANI): The herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1), which affects an estimated 50 to 80 percent of all American adults, exploits an immune system receptor to boost its infectivity and ability to cause disease, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues.

HSV-1 is a persistent and problematic pathogen. Typically, it infects victims through oral secretions (kissing, sharing a contaminated toothbrush) or through openings in the skin.

In healthy people, the result may be cold sores or fever blisters. In people with compromised immune systems, HSV-1 can pose more serious and chronic health problems.

It can spread, for example, to organs like the brain, lungs and liver, where the infection may become life-threatening. Some patients, such as those with atopic dermatitis - a common form of eczema that accounts for roughly 20 percent of all dermatologic referrals, are especially vulnerable to serious complications stemming from an HSV-1 infection.

Led by principal investigator Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of UC San Diego's Division of Dermatology, the scientists found that HSV-1 launches an infection by binding to receptors on the surface of skin cells. Ordinarily, if a cell recognizes the virus as an invader, an immune response is immediately triggered, which includes a group of proteins called scavenger receptors that help identify and remove harmful viruses.

But sometimes the process goes awry. While studying HSV-1 and scavenger receptors in cultured human skin cells, Gallo and colleagues in the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discovered that the virus strongly interacts with a particular receptor called a macrophage receptor with collagenous structure or MARCO, which it uses to gain entry into cells.

In tests comparing mice expressing normal levels of MARCO with mice genetically engineered to lack the receptor, the scientists found that MARCO enhanced the virus' ability to infect cells. Mice lacking the receptor suffered dramatically smaller skin lesions than normal mice with normal levels of MARCO.

In a different experiment, the application of chemicals that prevented the virus from binding to MARCO resulted in much-smaller lesions on normal mice.

The research suggests that development of new therapies preventing HSV-1-MARCO interaction may measurably reduce the degree and risk of serious HSV-1-related complications in atopic dermatitis patients and others. The scientists plan to follow up with testing in atopic dermatitis patients, and investigate whether other skin viruses also use the same infection pathway.

The findings are published in the June 6, 2013 issue of Nature Communications. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »