MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Scientists discover potential new target for seasonal flu remedies

Reducing glucose metabolism may subsequently decrease influenza viral infection, which could result in a new approach against seasonal flu, according to research presented on Sunday at the American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that by reducing the glucose supply of viruses, they were able to reduce the microbes' ability to infect host cells. In the study, researchers Amy Adamson and Hinissan Pascaline Kohio attempted targeting essential viral needs, such as the dependence on cellular glucose. The researchers found that influenza A infection could be controlled in laboratory cultures of mammalian cells by changing glucose metabolism.

Adamson and Kohio treated viral cells with a chemical that inhibited glucose metabolism and found that viral replication was significantly decreased. They determined that the assembly of a mammalian cell's vacuolar-type H+ ATPase proton pump was closely tied to viral infection. By dismantling the V-ATPase through lowering glucose levels, the researchers were able to inhibit viral infection.

The findings of the study, which was published in Virology, suggests that the alteration of glucose levels and therefore V-ATPase activity could reduce viral infection.

"Taken together, we propose that altering glucose metabolism may be a potential new approach to inhibit influenza viral infection," Adamson and Kohio said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, influenza afflicts five to 20 percent of the U.S. population annually.