Scientists have discovered a potential new target for antiviral drugs. The discovery could lead to the creation of universal method of the treatment of many infectious diseases. The study is published in the journal Cell Reports, writes “RIA Novosti”.
As the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, viruses are a constant threat to mankind. Against some of them regularly designed and implemented the vaccine, but this process takes a lot of time, helps not all and does not protect against new viruses.
Researchers from the Massachusetts General hospital (USA) in collaboration with colleagues from the German cancer research center in Heidelberg have discovered the Achilles heel of most viruses is a protein AGO4.
AGO4 is one of the proteins family Argonaute. Still, its role was not well understood. Now, researchers have found that this protein has a unique antiviral effect in somatic cells of mammals.
The authors studied on mice the effects of several antiviral Argonaute proteins and found that only cells with a deficit of AGO4 were hypersensitive to various viral infections, including influenza. In other words, the low level of AGO4 increased the probability of infection of mammalian cells. Hence the researchers concluded that the increase level of this protein can help to strengthen the immune system and protect against many viruses.
“The aim is to understand how our immune system to create treatment methods that work against a number of viruses, not just the vaccine against a specific” — presented in a press release from the hospital, the head of research Kate Jeffrey.
In mammals, like many other animals and plants, four Argonaute protein (1-4), which act by inhibiting genes. Argonaute is involved in the formation and activity regulation of RNA and microRNA, that is, acts as the effector protein, RNA, and interference RNA — the most important strategy for antiviral protection of cells.
The researchers plan to continue the study.
“The next step is to determine how broad the spectrum of action of this protein for any type of virus, says Jeffrey. — And then we need to figure out how to increase the activity of AGO4 to enhance protection from viral infections”.