News

Norovirus structures could help develop treatments for food poisoning

Noroviruses are a leading cause of food-borne illness outbreaks, accounting for 58% of all outbreaks and cause 685 million cases worldwide each year. There is no effective therapeutic against them. Having knowledge of the intricate structure of the outer layer of noroviruses, the capsid, which allows the virus to attach to its human host, could help in vaccine development.

advertisement

In vaccines, specific antibodies recognize the capsids and bind to them so they can no longer interact with human cells. "We need to understand what the norovirus capsid shapes actually look like, and the shape differences between different strains," said James Jung, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL).

Jung and Joshua-Tor led a team to solve the high-resolution structures of four different strains of noroviruses using a cryo-electron microscope. This allowed them to see the intricate architecture of virus shells in high-definition. Their findings are published in the journal PNAS.

Jung gleaned new insights that could help in guiding the development of therapeutics to fight norovirus infection. "Previously, it was thought that the norovirus shells exist in single-sized assemblies consisting of 180 building blocks and 90 surface spikes. What we found was an unexpected mixture of different shell sizes and shapes. We found a smaller form, which consists of just 60 building blocks with 30 surface spikes placed further apart. We also found larger shells made out of 240 building blocks with 120 surface spikes that are lifted significantly above the base of the shell and form a two-layered architecture that could interact differently with the human cells," he said.

The spikes on the shell interact with the host. Jung found that the distance and orientation of the spikes varied across the different strains of noroviruses. "That means each strain will interact differently with human cells," Jung explained. "The way the antibodies bind is also going to be different. Vaccines should be formulated to take into account the variations across strains and structural forms."

advertisement

Materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Norovirus structures could help develop treatments for food poisoning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2019. .

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Norovirus structures could help develop treatments for food poisoning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190612162907.htm (accessed June 12, 2019).
Read more on sciencedaily.com
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Technology
Despite years of research, the brain still contains broad areas of uncharted territory. A team of scientists, led by neuroscientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and University of Sydney, recently...
Science
Cancer is relentless and resilient. When a drug blocks a cancer cell s main survival pathway, the cell avoids the obstacle by taking different pathways or detours to save itself....
Technology
The human ORC complex when fully assembled is ring shaped, as shown in these images at atomic resolution, secured via x ray crystallography and cryo electron microscopy. Bottom image DNA grey fits through...
Science
This is an illustration of membrane bound vesicles containing clusters of viruses, including rotavirus and norovirus, within the gut. Rotaviruses are shown in the large vesicles, while noroviruses are shown in...
Technology
Viruses are extremely efficient at targeting and delivering cargo to cells. In the journal ACS Nano, researchers report they have harnessed this well honed ability minus the part that makes...