Dengue protein controls human enzyme for replication fuel
Dengue, a tropical disease, is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. The illness is currently in endemic proportion in more than 10 countries around the world. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that 390 million people contract dengue fever infections each year.
Researchers at the Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas Filho (IBCCF), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Laboratory of Computation Biology (FAETEC), the Technology Education Faculty of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the National Institute for Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) found that NS1 has a specific role in the virus.
NS1, which is just one out of seven nonstructural proteins that make up the virus, is used in the replication machinery.
The researchers were able to determine that NS1 binds to the specific viral protein, Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), which is involved in the cell cycle that breaks down glucose to generate energy and carbon molecules.
NS1 then increasing GAPDH glycolytic activity in early phases of the dengue fever to modulate the host's metabolism and speed up the progress of the disease.
Based on this, the researchers said new drugs to treat dengue should target the NS1 protein.
"As obligatory parasites, viruses rely on the host metabolism to obtain what they need to generate their progeny,” Dr. Ronaldo Mohana Borges, who led the study, said. “In this study, we show that in human cells, NS1 binds to GAPDH as a way to increase energy production to be used for viral replication.”
A full report on the researchers' findings can be found in the Journal of Virology.