A group of US scientists has been able to identify the 7 most harmful proteins of the Zika virus, a finding that may help better understand how that disease attacks the cells of the human body, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is the first to identify these proteins and is also the first to fully describe the zika's gene pool. "The mechanism of this virus has been a real mystery," acknowledged the study's lead investigator, Richard Zhao, a professor of pathology at the University of Maryland. "These results give us a crucial insight into how zika affects cells. We now have some really valuable clues for future research," he added.
To carry out their study, first, Dr. Zhao and his team separated the 14 proteins contained in the Zika virus, as well as their peptides, that is, the molecules formed by the covalent attachment of two or more amino acids. The scientists then compared the 14 proteins to the cells of a yeast species, known in English as fission yeast, and which in recent years has become a common method of unraveling how pathogens (microorganisms that cause disease) Affect the cells.
Thanks to this innovative method, scientists were able to see that seven of these 14 Zika virus proteins were especially dangerous because they had damaged the yeast cells in some way, either by killing them directly, damaging them in some way or inhibiting their growth. The group of researchers intends to continue working on the Zika virus in order to better understand how these seven harmful proteins interact with the cells of the human body.
Transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, the same that carries dengue and chikunguña, the Zika virus causes mild symptoms among the most infected, such as fever not very high, muscle and joint pain, as well as rashes and conjunctivitis.