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Ebola Virus explained

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Viruses act like self-packing suitcases

Researchers at the University of Leeds have identified a crucial stage in the lifecycle of simple viruses like polio and the common cold that could open a new front in the war on viral disease.

The team are the first to observe at a single-molecule level how the genetic material (genome) that forms the core of a single-strand RNA virus particle packs itself into its outer shell of proteins. Lead researcher Professor Peter Stockley said their results overturn accepted thinking about the process and could open a chink in the armour of a wide range of viruses.

“If we can target this process, it could lead to a completely new class of anti-virals that would be less likely to create resistant viruses than existing drugs, which tend to target individual proteins,” Professor Stockley said.
A number of important viruses like the common cold and polio have RNA (ribonucleic acid) instead of DNA as their genetic material. The observations reveal that the viruses’ RNA initially has a much greater volume than the virus particles created after they are packed inside their protein shell.

“We realised that the RNA genome must have to be intricately folded to fit into the final container, just like when you pack to go on holiday and need to fold your clothes to fit into the space in your suitcase,” said co-author Dr Roman Tuma from the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences.
 
 

Comments (3)

  1. You should make clear that this work was done with an MS2 bacteriophage, not polio
  2. Interesting tho!
  3. ...and STNV...

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