Researchers make new observations of retrovirus capsid

First observation of retrovirus native capside
First observation of retrovirus native capside | Courtesy of

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Montevideo collaborated with the Uruguayan medical school to make an important discovery about the capsid of a retrovirus.

The scientists learned that the native retroviral capsid is flexible and that particular regions of the protein are determinant, which impacts the plasticity of the retrovirus.

This new perspective opens new methods for creating antiviral treatments, which may be used to cure diseases like bovine leukemia virus (BVL), which is caused by retroviruses.

BVL, an infectious disease, causes immunodeficiency in cattle. In some cases, the virus creates solid tumors called lymphomas that decrease productivity and cause premature death in animals, mainly on dairy farms. Curing this disease would be instrumental to increasing dairy farm productivity and economy.

“These discoveries not only contribute with a deeper understanding of the biology of retroviruses,” study co-author Alejandro Buschiazzo said. “They also represent a milestone for the science carried out at Institut Pasteur in Montevideo, within the Uruguyan scientific community as a whole."

In addition, this publication "proves how important it is to train our students in cutting edge molecular techniques, focused on relevant problems for our societies,” Buschiazzo said. “We take this achievement as the beginning of stronger collaborations with colleagues worldwide: science is a global endeavor, to understand more about biology, and to tackle with increasing success the health problems that affect us.”

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Institut Pasteur de Montevideo

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