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Inside-out antivirals

Nature Medicine

2008년11월24일

Targeting specific fat molecules normally found on the inside of the cell membrane could be a therapeutic strategy against viral diseases, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Medicine.

Therapies against multiple classes of viruses might be achieved by targeting molecules that are widely expressed on infected cells, as opposed to targeting individual viruses. Philip Thorpe and colleagues reasoned that events occurring during virus replication ? for example, changes immediately before an infected cell dies ? might lead to the extracellular exposure of fat molecules, known as phospholipids, that are normally on the inner surface of the cell membrane.

The team used a specific antibody, bavituximab, to target these potentially exposed molecules in cells infected with Pichinde virus. This virus is used as a model for Lassa fever virus ? a potential bioterrorism agent. They found that infection led to the exposure of phospholipids, and that bavituximab treatment cured guinea pigs lethally infected with the virus. The authors found a similar therapeutic effect of bavituximab in mice with lethal cytomegalovirus infections. These results represent a new strategy for the generation of antiviral agents.

doi: 10.1038/nm.1885

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