Saturday, 8 August 2015

A step forwards to a drug to getting rid of JC Virus

Dang X, Chalkias S, Koralnik IJ. JC virus-iLOV fluorescent strains enable the detection of early and late viral protein expression. J Virol Methods. 2015 Jul 20. pii: S0166-0934(15)00239-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2015.07.006. [Epub ahead of print]

JC virus (JCV) is highly prevalent in humans, and may cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), JCV granule cell neuronopathy (JCV GCN), JCV encephalopathy (JCVE) and JCV meningitis (JCVM) in immunocompromised individuals. There is no treatment for JCV, and a growing number of multiple sclerosis patients treated with immunomodulatory medications have developed PML. Antiviral agents against JCV are therefore highly desirable but remain elusive, due to the difficulty of determining their effect in vitro. A JCV strain carrying a fluorescent protein gene would greatly simplify and accelerate the drug screening process. To achieve this goal, we selected the 366bp improved Light, Oxygen or Voltage-sensing domain (iLOV) of plant phototropin gene and created two full-length JCV-iLOV constructs on the prototype JCV Mad1 backbone. The iLOV gene was inserted either before the early regulatory T gene (iLOV-T), or after the late Agno gene (iLOV-Agno). Both JCV iLOV strains were replication-competent in vitro and emitted a fluorescent signal detectable by confocal microscope, but JCV iLOV-T exhibited higher cellular and supernatant viral loads compared to JCV iLOV-Agno. JCV iLOV-T could also produce infectious pseudovirions. These data suggest that JCV iLOV constructs may become valuable tools for anti-JCV drug screening

High throughput screens to test the defects of a drug library with thousands/millions of chemicals depend on a simple screening assay. In this study they made JC virus glow in the dark...when a ultraviolet light is shone on them.

In addition to encoding the structural and regulatory proteins, many viruses encode auxiliary proteins, some of which have been shown to play important roles in lytic and latent states of the viruses. The human neurotropic JC virus (JCV) genome encodes an auxiliary protein called Agno. The Agno protein of JCV, which is produced late during the late phase of the lytic cycle, can physically and functionally interact with the viral early protein, T antigen, and downregulate viral gene expression and DNA replication. The T-antigen mediates transcription of the viral late gene promoter and induces replication of viral DNA.

Now you can screen for a drug to kill them.

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