PNAS: Researchers determine how herpes virus penetrates nervous system

May 13, 2024  11:22

Herpes viruses penetrate the transport system of cells to invade the nervous system. This is evidenced by a research published in the journal PNAS.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.7 billion people in the world are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HPV-1), which is the main cause of oral herpes ("cold sores"). It is impossible to cure this virus because it penetrates the nervous system.

In the new study, scientists used a sophisticated microscopic method to see how this virus behaves in nerve cells. They discovered that it uses microtubules, the intracellular "rails," to transport various molecules. This enables the herpes virus to reach the nucleus of the nerve cell, where its DNA is stored.

Scientists have identified the molecules that are responsible for the capture of microtubules. The effect on them prevented the penetration of the virus into the nervous system during laboratory experiments.

After further research, this discovery could lead to a new therapy against herpes.

They are developing vaccines against these viruses specifically to prevent herpes from entering the nervous system, the researchers noted. They added that they knew what mutations had to be introduced into the virus so that it would not enter the nervous system. But before, they did not fully understand why these mutations are so effective, the scientists noted.

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