Zika virus protein prevents the development of the Brain

Zika virus study reveals possible causes of brain pathology.

The scientific team of the Zika virus study (from left to right): Pietro Scaturro, Prof. Andreas Pichlmair and Dr. Alexey Stukalov
The scientific team of the Zika virus study (from left to right): Pietro Scaturro, Prof. Andreas Pichlmair and Dr. Alexey Stukalov. (Image: A. Eckert / TUM)

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. The virus is associated with an increased risk of neurologic complications because Zika virus proteins bind to cellular proteins that are required for neural development, suggests a new study.

A study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPI-B) shows that Zika virus can lead to intellectual disabilities and other serious neurological disorders. They examined how the Zika virus influences human brain cells. They identified the virus proteins with the potential to affect neuronal development in the developing brain.

Andreas Pichlmair, Chair for Viral Immunopathology at TUM said, “Zika virus is closely related to the Hepatitis C virus and certain tropical diseases such as Dengue and West Nile virus. It is, however, the only virus that causes brain damage in newborns.”

The virus contains several cellular proteins to replicate its own particular genome. These atoms are additionally essential neurological factors during the time spent a foundational microorganism forming a nerve cell. At the point when the group headed by Pichlmair evacuated the factors in the cells, the infection thought that it was substantially harder to recreate. The analysts could exhibit which infection proteins interact with these advancement factors and cause the brain defects.

Pichlmair said, “Previous studies revealed the virus proteins necessary for the packaging or replication of the viral genome but it was enigmatic to understand how these proteins influence neuronal development. It appears that viral proteins are responsible for causing the serious defects in the unborn – unintentionally we presume.”

Scientists, during the study, identified cell proteins that were changed artificially or numerically by the infection or which bound to virus proteins. Along these lines, they were not just ready to outline conceivable purposes behind the caused deformations, yet additionally acquired a reasonable picture of how the virus reinvents the cell to utilize it for its own particular replication.

Pichlmair said, “Our comprehensive dataset will hopefully lead the way for other scientists to develop therapeutic approaches for the elimination of Zika or related viruses.”

The study is originally published in the journal Nature.