DCEXS-UPF: Ion channel used by viruses to infect cells identified

DCEXS-UPF: Ion channel used by viruses to infect cells identified

News from DCEXS-UPF

Viruses such as Zika, Dengue or Hepatitis C use an ion channel to enter into host cells and infected them. This mechanism, consisting of the interaction between an RNA helicase and the TPRV4 ion channel, has now been characterized by researchers from DCEXS-UPF.

This study, published in Nature Communications, showed the host ion channel TRPV4 is hijacked by the virus at the early stage of the infection. This discovery opens a new way to treat this kind of diseases. The RNA of these viruses is capable of rapid mutation, hindering the identification of viral targets for pharmacological treatment. However, viruses are totally dependent upon host cell proteins for replication, and TRPV4 is one of them. Therefore, it may be a potential target for drug therapy. This approach has the advantage of targeting cellular proteins that are not subject to the rapid mutation rates seen for virus genomes.

Miguel Valverde, a researcher at DCEXS-UPF and leader of this study, explains: “our finding that pharmacological inhibition of the TRPV4 channel reduced infection by Dengue, Zika and Hepatitis C viruses, opens new lines of research for therapeutic possibilities to tackle these virus infections”. - Carlos Sierra / PRBB

Reference article:
P. Doñate-Macian, J. Jungfleisch, G. Pérez-Vilaró, F. Rubio-Moscardo, A. Perálvarez-Marín, J. Diez and M.A. Valverde. The TRPV4 channel links calcium influx to DDX3X activity and viral infectivity. Nature Communications. Juny, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04776-7

More information:
DCEXS-UPF website