Rutgers University and University of Texas Researchers Determine 3-D Structure Of A Key Site On A Flu Protein That Suppresses Human Defenses To Infection
EurekAlert -- Researchers at Rutgers University and The University of Texas at Austin have reported a discovery that could help scientists develop drugs to fight the much-feared bird flu and other virulent strains of influenza. The researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza A virus protein that binds to one of its human protein targets, thereby suppressing a person's natural defenses to the infection and paving the way for the virus to replicate efficiently. This so-called NS1 virus protein is shared by all influenza A viruses isolated from humans – including avian influenza, or bird flu, and the 1918 pandemic influenza virus. A paper detailing this breakthrough discovery appears in the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Early Edition and will be published in an upcoming issue of the PNAS print edition.