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Herpes virus: virus genome has been comprehensively decoded

Herpes virus: virus genome has been comprehensively decoded


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Herpes virus decoded in its genetic structure

Herpes viruses of type HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus 1) can not only cause cold sores, but also significantly more serious diseases. Once the virus has entered the body, it stays in the cells in a kind of sleep state and can theoretically break out again and again. An international research team has now succeeded in deciphering the virus genome comprehensively and gaining important new knowledge.

The HSV-1 genome was decrypted using new methods, and hundreds of previously unknown gene products were discovered, according to the Julius Maximilians University (JMU) in Würzburg regarding the study results. Researchers from JMU, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, the University of Cambridge (England) and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) have jointly developed the new findings on the virus. Their results were published in the specialist journal "Nature Communications".

Herpes virus infections can be life-threatening

The HSV-1 herpes virus usually occurs as a cause of uncomfortably itchy lip sores, but infection with this type of virus can also have far more serious consequences, reports the JMU. For example, the virus could trigger life-threatening pneumonia in patients in intensive care units and also lead to brain inflammation in healthy people, which often results in permanent brain damage.

Virus stays in the body

After the first infection with HSV-1, the viruses nest permanently in body cells and often remain inconspicuous there for a long time until they become active again under special circumstances, such as a weakening of the immune system, explains the research team. "Anyone who has been infected with the virus will keep it for the rest of their lives," the researchers continued.

New knowledge about HSV-1

So far, it was assumed that there are around 80 so-called open reading frames in the HSV-1 genome, the places where the information from the DNA is read and translated into proteins. In the current study, however, it became clear that a total of 284 such reading frames exist at HSV-1, reports the JMU. These reading frames are translated and formed by hundreds of viral transcripts that could also be identified, the university said.

"The new findings make it possible to examine the individual genes of the virus much more precisely than before," said Professor Lars Dölken, head of the JMU Chair for Virology and together with JMU Junior Professor for Systems Virology Florian Erhard in charge of the project. A broad spectrum of the latest systems biology methods was used for the study.

Use to improve cancer therapy

The researchers hope that the knowledge gained will not only provide a better understanding of the virus itself, but also concrete effects, for example on the development of HSV-1-based oncolytic viruses. These viruses are used, for example, in immunological therapies for certain tumor diseases, such as melanoma (skin cancer). Knowledge of the exact genetic structure of the viruses could be used here for further improvements in these therapeutic approaches. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters

Swell:

  • Adam W. Whisnant, Christopher S. Jürges, Lars Dölken, et al .: Integrative functional genomics decodes herpes simplex virus 1; in: Nature Communications (published April 27, 2020), nature.com
  • Julius Maximillians University of Würzburg (JMU): Herpes virus decrypted (published April 27, 2020), uni-wuerzburg.de



Video: Herpes Virus NBDE u0026 USMLE - HSV1 - HSV2 - VZV - EBV - CMV - HHV8 (June 2022).


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