Zika: Identify a protein that would be responsible for neonates microcephaly


Protein of the virus zika who was responsible for the deformities in the neonatal brain, was recently discovered by a team of researchers led by scientists from the United States and part of an Argentine doctor. Andrea Gamarnik, from. t Instituto Leloir Foundation (FIL).

"Our findings are a possible explanation for the congenital deformations caused by this virus in infants," said Gamarnik, head Laboratory for Molecular Virology FIL and researcher Coniceta.

In a study published in mid-December in a magazine Cells, researchers explained A detailed map of the interactions between proteins of the Zika virus, human cells and mosquitoes.

They have verified that the virus is a virus, called "NS4A" and the role of which is to participate in the replication of the viral genome in cells that it infects, "is intimately involved with the protein in the ankle that is present in humans and mosquitoes and plays a very important role in the development of the brain." "We started this with dengue in 2010, when we did not yet know that Zika exists, we wanted to understand how the virus uses the reproductive cells," recalled Gamarnik.

It should be prevented primarily by repellents.
It should be prevented primarily by repellents.

The expert remarked that what was in this case was done in broad ways Some of the results of these surveys were "extrapolated" to study Ziko. "Obviously, the Zika virus protects the ankle function2, and this mechanism can be linked with the development of microcephaly. This is a very important result because there have been previous studies that link an ankle gene mutation with hereditary microcephaly and faults in the development of human brain, "he said.

Flies against humans

In order to confirm this information, the authors of the study carried out additional experiments with the fly model in order to demonstrate a change in the protein that causes microcephaly in flies. "The information derived from the studies conducted on these insects is very important for understanding what is happening in human pathologies: 75% of the genes associated with genetic diseases or cancer are in the fly genome, whose analogy with humans is very useful, "explained Gamarnik, who was awarded the L & # 39; Oréal-Unesco" International Prize in 2016 science. "

He continued: "This is a possible cause for the microcephaly of Zika, although we do not know if it is only one or it is multifunction table"

"Anyway, our work provides a lot of information that we can use to develop." antivirus against Ziki, and also to understand the molecular basis of the pathologies it causes, the scientist stressed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in 2016 the epidemic caused by the Zika virus for "emergencies in the field of public health of international importance", in particular because it caused the epidemic. congenital syndrome which includes microcephaly (improper brain development) and other neurological changes during pregnancy and in newborns.


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