Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine found a virus which is thriving in acid environments.
Its DNA analysis provides the next step for degrading the protection mechanism of many stubborn viruses affecting the human body.
The virus in the limelight is called SIRV2 and thrives in acid environments such as hot springs. It was discovered that the DNA of SIRV2 is highly resistant to a wide array of threats that would under normal conditions lead to its degradation.
Now, it is known that this particular virus is resistant to heat, the temperature in the hot springs reaching even 175o Fahrenheit.
It is also interestingly resistant to UV radiation, as well as to extreme dryness. This led the scientific team at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics to believe and research what exactly is creating this protective armor for the virus.
They found that the proteins as well as the DNA in combination result in a fully stable compound that can survive the most difficult environments.
Their findings provide the future of battling human diseases with new insight on how to efficiently pack DNA to attack virus genomes.
Our bodies are naturally combating viruses by means of degrading and removing their DNA. When we are dealing with more stubborn viruses and doctors are looking to attack them ‘artificially’ by using genes, our bodies often make use of the same protection mechanism, which renders it difficult to have effective results.
SIRV2 is providing a new window of hope in terms of cladding DNA in a strongly defensive armor, resistant to threats. At the same time, the resemblance between SIRV2 and infectious spores such as those of anthrax offers added hopes. Both the virus and the spores seem to be functioning in a similar fashion.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), spores formed by the Clostridium Difficile bacteria are responsible for 30,000 yearly deaths across the United States. The spores are released by the bacteria as they can resist significantly more stressful environments than the C. Difficile.
SIRV2’s astonishing A-form DNA was revealed thank to the Titan Krios electron microscope. The UVA Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is one of the owners of such an amazing tool.
Across the world, there are only a few of them. In the United States, the Titan Krios electron microscope was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Thanks to its commendable capabilities, the researchers were able to prove that A-form DNA exists outside of lab conditions and it entails an efficient means of DNA protection.
The findings of the research team are published in the Science journal.
Image Source: esciencenews.com
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