The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has made a major advance in the fight against the Ebola virus by greatly clarifying how it replicates and spreads a disease that causes horrific illness and, in many cases, death.
Biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire and her collaborators spelled out the chemical chain reaction that allows the virus to form its shell, strengthen and cast off infected cells that lead to a type of hemorrhagic fever.
The team also found that the protein most responsible for this process — VP40 — changes shape and performs more than one role. Researchers have long believed that proteins, which control the behavior of cells, have only one shape and role.
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