New Notre Dame-IUSM review examines essential Ebola protein

Robert Stahelin Robert Stahelin

A new study by Robert Stahelin, an adjunct associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and an associate professor at the Indiana University College of Medicine-South Bend, as properly as a member of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Well being, investigates how the most abundant protein that composes the Ebola virus, VP40, mediates replication of a new viral particle.

“In short, the Ebola virus has just seven proteins that encode in its genome,” Stahelin said. “VP40 is vital to the formation of a new viral particle and it does this by interacting with lipids within human cells.”

Stahelin and co-investigator Smita Soni, a postdoctoral researcher at the Indiana University College of Medication, found that VP40 is ready to assemble in vitro (i.e., in a test tube), without any human cells current, and mediate formation of virus-like particles when the human lipid phosphatidylserine is located in answer with VP40, but not other control lipids.

“This means, in conjunction with our earlier research papers, that Ebola virus VP40 can assemble and interact with human phosphatidylserine to make the lipid coat of the virus,” Stahelin said. “For completeness’ sake, Ebola virus is a lipid-enveloped virus and gets its lipid bilayer coat from the human cell it infects. In essence, Ebola VP40 is assembling on phosphatidylserine-enriched regions of human cells to type the extended filamentous virus particle we are so familiar with seeing.”

The lengthy-phrase objective of Stahelin’s research is to apply ideas learned from biochemical and biophysical scientific studies to produce novel therapeutics to fight Ebola.

“This review has greatly aided us recognize how the Ebola virus replicates and must at least let us to check some new drug leads and hypotheses,” he mentioned.

In assessing the status of the recent Ebola outbreak, Stahelin sees each trigger for hope and cause for concern.

“It seems that the Ebola crisis is getting managed far better than months earlier, and in some regions, particularly people in Liberia, it hasn’t been spreading at the rates seen earlier,” he stated. “However, it will nonetheless be nine months, if not more, before full manage can be obtained. The recent spread to Mali is of concern.”

Stahelin and Soni’s research seems in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Speak to: Robert Stahelin, 574-631-5054,

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