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Burglary-ring-like mechanism found in lethal Nipah virus

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A team of scientists from Washington State University has discovered how one of the planet’s most deadly known viruses employs burglary-ring-like teamwork to infiltrate the human cell.

Nipah virus is so menacing that the nation’s top infectious disease experts served as consultants in the filmmaking of the 2011 medical thriller, “Contagion,” which is based on a global Nipah outbreak.

The WSU researchers, led by virologist Hector Aguilar-Carreno, have found that two proteins on the surface of the virus communicate in a way similar to two skilled burglars – with one casing the human cell while the other waits for a signal to launch the break-in. Their findings were recently published in the medical journal PLOS Pathogens.

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