Expression of calicivirus NS1-2 induces aberrant calcium signaling. Cells expressing human norovirus RFP NS1-2 protein (bottom panel) have aberrant calcium signaling profiles (orange fluorescence) that are similar to those of cells that express Tulane virus RFP NS1-2 protein (top panel). The similarities in activity between human norovirus NS1-2 and Tulane virus NS1-2 proteins suggest that viroporin activity may be a conserved function of the NS1-2 protein. Credit: Hyser lab.
Some gastrointestinal viruses need calcium. They need calcium ions to carry out several essential aspects of viral life, such as entry into host cells, genome replication and building new viruses to invade other cells. The cells invaded by viruses also use calcium. They use it as signals to regulate many of the cells' own processes, but viruses can takeover cellular calcium signaling to satisfy their own needs.
Takeover - Cases - Production - Protein - Viroporin
This viral takeover involves, in many cases, the production of a viral protein called viroporin that acts like an ion channel redirecting cellular calcium signaling to serve viral functions. Medically important gastrointestinal viruses, such as rotavirus, require calcium for replication and use viroporins to gain control over cellular calcium signaling, but it has not been investigated whether other viruses that also cause severe gastrointestinal problems in people and animals, such as norovirus, do the same.
Viroporins taking over?
Graduate - Student - Alicia - Strtak - Graduate
Graduate student Alicia Strtak in the Graduate Program in Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, took on the project to investigate whether Tulane virus, a calicivirus that is biologically similar to human noroviruses, required calcium for its replication. If so, how does it take over cellular calcium signaling?
"Human noroviruses are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis, a potentially life-threatening illness in every age group," said Strtak. "There is great interest in developing effective therapies, but many aspects of how calicivirus, including norovirus, cause disease have not...
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