Feeds

‘Pitstops’ can inhibit viruses

Boffins propose new idea for blocking HIV, cancer

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A compound dubbed the “pitstop” has been proposed as offering a new way to defend the body against invaders such as viruses and cancers.

The joint Australian-German project is looking at cell signalling behaviours as offering the chance to block diseases that work by invading human cells.

Cell membranes have to keep nasties out, but have to be able to let nutrients in – and it is the nutrient pathway that provides the gap in defences exploited by attackers. The opening for nutrients is provided by signalling molecules, and it’s the behaviour of those signaling molecules that has attracted the attention of Professor Phil Robinson of the Children’s Medical Research Institute in Sydney, German scientists Volker Haucke of Berlin’s Freie Universität, Adam McCluskey of the University of Newcastle, and their collaborators.

A process called clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) regulates operations such as nutrient absorption in cells. To invade cells, viruses and other pathogens hijack the clathrin that cells use to take in nutrients, invade the cell, and then use the cells' mechanisms to replicate their own genetic material throughout the body.

The researchers say they have developed “pitstop” compounds that interfere with the absorption of pathogens such as HIV, and say that if treatments can be developed based on these “pitsops”, they could block a wide range of invaders.

“What we’ve found is a way to tackle infectious diseases and viral infections; not all of them but probably a large chunk of them,” Professor Robinson told AAP.

Defending clathrin against hijacking, Robinson says, offers a way to prevent pathogens invading the cells, rather than fighting infection after it takes place. He says the compounds that the researchers have used are simple, offering “breathtaking” scope for improvement.

The next step for the researchers will be to find out whether or not their “pitstop” compounds are safe for humans.

The abstract of their research, published in the journal Cell, is here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.