Ebola Virus

Topics: DNA, Virus, Retrovirus Pages: 10 (2395 words) Published: June 14, 2014


“Ebola Virus: Glycoprotein Modification Study”

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Abstract
Retroviruses are a family of enveloped RNA viruses that are defined by their common characteristics in structure, replication properties and composition. These viruses are important in research in many different areas of science, such as biology, genetics, medicine, cancer, and biotechnology. The process of pseudotyping for retroviruses, in particular, allows researchers to investigate the entry of these viruses into cells. One particular retrovirus, the Ebola virus, was investigated to illustrate how the virus glycoproteins are integrated into retroviruses that are defective and still enter the virus into other cells. Previous investigations into the role of glycoprotein have found that the glycoprotein plays a key role in the infection of the Ebola virus. The effects of covalent modifications in the glycoprotein, GP1 and GP2, were analyzed. It was hypothesized that the elimination of one of the cysteines in the cysteine pairs would cause elimination of the other cysteine, resulting in effects of the glycoprotein processing. The results of the study suggest a model for the cysteine bridge for the Ebola virus glycoprotein, which helps determine the specific domain for each cysteine’s. Overall, the study provided information in the understanding of the structure and function of the glycoprotein in the Ebola virus.

Introduction
Retroviruses are a family of enveloped RNA viruses that are defined by their common characteristics in structure, replication properties and composition. The viruses range from 80-100 nm in diameter and have an outer lipid envelope composed of viral glycoproteins. The structure and location of their inner protein core is a specific characteristic to the members in this family of viruses. In addition, the replication strategy, known as reverse transcription, of the RNA into a linear double stranded DNA is the hallmark of this family of viruses. Furthermore, retroviruses are broken into two types of categories: simple and complex. The type of category depends of their genetic structure. In a retrovirus there are three coding domains that contain the information for the virion proteins, which supports the synthesis of the internal virions that form the nucleoprotein structures. This nucleoprotein structures are responsible for the reverse transcriptase. Retroviruses are also broken down into seven additional groups based on evolutionary relationships. Five of the seven groups are composed of oncogenic viruses (cancer causing viruses) and the other groups are referred to as lentiviruses and spumaviruses. (Hughes and Varmus, 1997) Retroviruses are important in research in many different areas of science, such as biology, genetics, medicine, cancer, and biotechnology. For instance current research is geared towards retroviruses that undergo the process of pseudotyping. The process of pseudotyping allows the retrovirus to obtain other types of enveloped viruses to use them for entry into other cells. One particular retrovirus, the Ebola virus, is currently undergoing research for gene therapy at the David Sanders lab at Purdue University. The researchers at this laboratory have been able to demonstrate pseudotyping in the Ebola virus. For instance, the researchers have illustrated how the Ebola virus glycoproteins are integrated into retroviruses that are defective, but can still facilitate entry of the virus into other cells. In addition, the research allows scientists to study how the Ebola virus is able to enter cells independent of other steps required in the virus type of life cycle. Furthermore, the research has focused on the Ebola virus application in gene transfer and gene-therapy experiments. (2007, Dave Sanders Lab) The current paper discusses research conducted on the modification of the Ebola virus glycoprotein, beginning with a...


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