Sugar-coated viral proteins hijack and hitch a ride out of cells — ScienceDaily

Researchers from the Universities of Melbourne, York, Warwick and Oxford have shed light on how encapsulated viruses like hepatitis B, dengue and SARS-CoV-2 hijack the protein manufacturing and distribution pathways in the cell — they have also identified a potential broad spectrum anti-viral drug target to stop them in their tracks.

The findings have been published in PNAS today and are important to efforts to develop broad-spectrum antiviral agents.

Professor Spencer Williams from the School of Chemistry at Bio21 said the research will help define a new ‘host-directed’ approach for treating infections by encapsulated viruses.

“One approach to treating viral infections is to make a new drug for each virus that comes along. But it is slow. An alternative and attractive approach is to make a drug against a human target that viruses need to replicate. The same drug can then be used and reused against many different viruses, even

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Plant viruses hijack the defense system of plants, but there might be a way to strike back — ScienceDaily

Many diseases caused by common plant viruses reduce the crops of important food plants. In the worst case, potato viruses, among others, can destroy as much as 80% of crops on infected fields.

Plants are not entirely defenceless against viruses, although they lack an immune system like the one found in humans. For plant cells, the primary defence mechanism against viral infections is gene silencing. By utilising the mechanism, plant cells identify the foreign genetic material originating in the virus and cut it up into small pieces.

“In turn, these bits of the genome guide plant cell proteins to identify and destroy viral genomes. As a result, the production of viral proteins ends, which is interpreted as ‘silencing’ of the viral genes. A successful defensive response prevents the virus from spreading in the plant,” says Docent Kristiina Mäkinen from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.

Viruses can

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