Cleveland Clinic Unravels Unique Enzymatic Activity Of An Animal Virus

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Animal Virus

Cleveland Clinic researchers have discovered a new biochemical pathway that is essential for the reproduction of the animal virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a virus belonging to the family that causes rabies, measles, Marburg Disease, and Ebola, and many others.

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Amiya K. Banerjee, Ph.D., Section Head of Virology in Cleveland Clinic's Department of Molecular Genetics, and Research Associate Tomoaki Ogino, Ph.D., have found that messenger RNA (mRNA) "capping", a vital reaction that guards against degradation and facilitates efficient translation of cellular messenger mRNA into proteins, is distinctly different for VSV mRNAs. This unconventional capping activity of VSV may serve as a basis for developing therapies to shut down VSV replication specifically without disrupting the capping reaction of cellular mRNAs.

"Finding small molecules that can disrupt VSV mRNA capping activity could lead to discovery of antivirals not only against VSV but other viruses belonging to this class of viruses that are highly pathogenic," Dr. Banerjee said.

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