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Matrix Protein Key To Fighting Viruses

Researchers from Durham University’s Centre for Bioactive Chemistry are developing methods that show how proteins interact with cell membranes when a virus strikes. Using their approach, the team hopes to find new ways to disrupt and disarm ‘enveloped viruses’ before they spread in our bodies.

Team members, Dr John Sanderson and Dr Paul Yeo from Durham University have helped produce the first ever, high-resolution, full-length structure of a protein from an enveloped virus called the ‘matrix protein’.

Viruses work in many different ways but in this case, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) virions form by a ‘budding’ process at the plasma membrane of a cell. The matrix protein appears to drive the final assembly process and the formation of viral filaments. It is also clear that the matrix protein is an important determinant of where the virus buds.
 
 

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