Scientists have found a new way to block the HPV virus, which is the cause of several types of cancer, including cervical cancer. About this writes Medicalxpress with reference to a study of doctors from the Yale Cancer Center (YCC).
More than 300 thousand women die every year from cervical cancer, which causes the human papillomavirus (HPV). Despite the existence of vaccinations against several types of HPV, scientists continue to search for additional measures to protect the body from these viruses.
Scientists from the Yale Cancer Center, led by Dr. Daniel Di Mayo, have proposed a new biological approach that can be used in the future not only to stop HPV infection, but also to work with other viruses.
“We show that very short peptides – protein fragments – can block the HPV virus from infecting cells. This study confirms our model of how HPV infects cells. It also shows that intracellular transmission of the virus could be the goal of a new antiviral approach”.
The author of the work is Daniel DiMayo
HPV is transferred to the cell through a membrane-bound sac called an endosome. Protein HPV – L2 contains a segment that penetrates through the endosome membrane into the cell. There, the L2 sequence with a peptide penetrating the cell binds to a cellular protein called a retromer. Then the retromer delivers the virus to the cell site, where it begins to copy itself.
At the same time, scientists note that the main mechanism of peptide penetrating into cells is very short. Peptides are composed of amino acids, and a sequence of six amino acids is required for penetration of a peptide into cell membranes, while a sequence of only three amino acids is required for binding to a retromer protein. As a result, scientists synthesized a short peptide in order to penetrate the cell membrane, bind the retromer and block the virus.
In tests on mice, biologists managed to block the HPV infection. In the future, scientists will continue to study the possibility of treating the body, including the human, from various viruses by blocking the inside of the cell membrane.