Researchers have visualised the structure of the influenza A virus nucleoprotein, a compound that plays an essential role binding viral nucleic acid and protein during virus infection.
Influenza A viruses, which include the avian H5N1 subtype, pose a threat to public health around the globe. The structure of the viral nucleoprotein has proved a tough nut to crack, but in the 07 December 2006 issue of Nature (Vol. 444, No. 7120), Yizhi Jane Tao and colleagues do just that.
The molecule contains connected head and body regions with a groove in between where the viral RNA sits. Now that scientists can 'see' the contacts made by this protein with other parts of the virus particle, they may be more effectively able to develop antiviral therapeutics for influenza.
Yizhi Jane Tao (Rice University, Houston, TX, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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