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How dengue virus suppresses human immune system revealed

Last Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 13:02

Washington: A new study has revealed a new pathway the dengue virus takes to suppress the human immune system.

According to the study by Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS), when a virus enters the body and infects cells, it induces the production and release of interferons (IFNs), which are proteins that raise the bodies' anti-viral defense mechanisms.

The dengue virus enters the cell and produces large quantities of a non-coding, highly-structured viral RNA termed sfRNA, which is part of the genetic material of the dengue virus.

The scientists found that sfRNA attaches itself to G3BP1, G3BP2 and CAPRIN1, proteins in the cell that typically help in producing antiviral proteins in response to IFNs, because of which, the cell is unable to mount its antiviral defenses and protect itself against virus replication.

These findings highlight new steps that regulate our immune response, and in the case of dengue, how the virus has learnt how to avoid these defenses. It also highlights the differences between the four dengue strains and how more research is needed to understand this highly complex virus.

Mariano Garcia-Blanco from EID said that they not only found a new way in which the pathogen ( dengue virus) interferes with the host response (human immune system ), they also uncovered the first mechanistic insight into how this non-coding RNA works and the discovery opens the door to explore therapeutics through this channel.

The study was published in journal PLOS Pathogens. 

First Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 13:02

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