WHAT:To study the cells' response to infection by a novel human coronavirus (called nCoV), NIH-supported scientists used lab-grown human lung cells.
And they compiled the information about which genes are significantly disrupted in xearly and late stages of infection. The information about host response to nCoV allowed the researchers to predict drugs that might be used to inhibit either the virus itself or the deleterious responses that host cells make in reaction to infection. Since nCoV was recognized in 2012, 17 confirmed cases and 11 deaths have been reporteda high fatality rate that is spurring urgent research efforts to better understand the virus and its effects.
The investigators, led by Michael G. Katze, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, compared cellular gene expression responses to two viruses: the novel coronavirus and a coronavirus that caused a global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. Although the viruses are in the same family, their effects on human cells are vastly different. In general, nCoV disrupted a greater number of human genes more profoundly and at more time points after infection than the SARS coronavirus. The team identified one set of 207 human genes whose expression differed from normal soon after infection with nCoV and remained disrupted throughout the course of infection. Notably, nCoV down-regulated the activity of a group of genes involved in signaling the presence of an invading virus to the immune system. Such down-regulation may cause a delay in the infection-fighting response.
ARTICLE:L Josset et al. Cell host response to infection with novel human coronavirus EMC predicts potential antivirals and important differences with SARS coronavirus. mBio DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00165-13 (2013) http://mbio.asm.org/content/4/3/e00165-13.
WHO:Valentina Di Francesco, program officer, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is available to discuss this research.