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Study indicates target for future drugs for Ebola, measles, RSV

researchers ran biochemical analysis and computer simulations of a to discover a likely and exotic mechanism to explain the replication of related viruses such as , and rabies. The mechanism may be a possible for new treatments within a decade.

[Polymerase Sliding Mechanism for NNS RNA Virus Replication]
This illustration depicts an exotic mechanism by which a family of viruses named NNS viruses may replicate to make copies of themselves, according to a University of Utah study. The family includes a livestock virus named VSV as well as viruses responsible for Ebola, measles, rabies and a common respiratory virus, RSV. The mechanism may serve as a target for new drugs against Ebola in five to 10 years. The yellowish strand is a viral genetic blueprint made of and covered by bead-like proteins. The orange, ball-shaped objects are enzymes called polymerases, which normally read and copy the to make new virus particles. That process can begin only when some polymerases attach to the correct end of the and start reading it, which the two polymerases on the left are doing. The other polymerases (the four on the right side) are attached to the protein-covered but slide along it until they collide with the polymerases that already are reading the . Those collisions kick sliding polymerases loose (top center) so they can float to the proper end of the and start reading it. Researchers hope future drugs can be developed to target this sliding mechanism as a new treatment for Ebola.
Credit: Dave Meikle, University of Utah.


University of Utah