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Virus, the first atomic map of their enzyme


To understand and fight flu, measles heparotitis (ANSA)

Obtained the map of the atomic structure of an enzyme present in the influenza virus and in many other viruses, such as those of measles and mumps: published in the journal of the American National Academy of Sciences (Pnas), it promises to become the target of future antiviral drugs and it could also be useful in researching the new SarsCoV2 coronavirus. The structure was obtained by the team of the American Northwestern University led by Robert Lamb and Yuan He.

The enzyme is a polymerase, a fundamental molecule for the replication and assembly of many viruses of the so-called Paramyxovirus family, whose genetic information is formed by Rna, the DNA cousin. It was reconstructed in 3D by putting together with specific computer programs the images obtained with an innovative microscopy technique at very low temperatures, electronic cryomicroscopy, whose creators, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson, were awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry 2017.

The resulting image shows a rounded structure with a small tail: the enzyme is made up of five different proteins, for a total of more than 2,000 amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins. "Part of this structure was an absolute surprise to us," explained Lamb. "Two of the five proteins that make up the enzyme - he concluded - are, in fact, new: they have never been seen before".

Source: ansa

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