Artificial Ebola virus slowed by large fullerene system
An infection with Ebola starts when the virus gains access to the cellular DC-SIGN receptor and begins to infect the immune system’s dendritic cells. Thanks to the new, larger molecule comprised of fullerenes that are coated with carbohydrates, scientists can block the receptor and interrupt the infection. This has been tested on an artificial virus model.
Researchers attained a remarkable feat of linking 12 different fullerenes. Each of the fullerenes has 10 sugar moieties that link with other central fullerene. This serves to mimic the carbohydrates that are part of Ebola.
"Fullerenes are hollow cages exclusively formed by carbon atoms,” Nazario Martín, professor of organic chemistry in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the study's main author, said.
The scientists united from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid/IMDEA-Nanociencia; the Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas del CSIC-Universidad de Sevilla; the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Hospital 12 de Octubre of Madrid; CNRS/Université de Strasbourg, France; and Université de Namur, Belgium.
"We have employed a cell model previously described in our lab which consists in a cell line of human lymphocytes expressing DC-SIGN receptor, which facilitates the entry of the virus in Dendritic Cells,” study co-author Rafael Delgado, a researcher at the Hospital 12 de Octubre, said.