Monday, February 6, 2017

Viruses Overheard Talking to One Another

Professor Rotem Sorek and his group at the Weizmann Institute's Department of Molecular Genetics released their study on viruses and their communication to coordinate attacks of their host cell. Viruses either reproduce quickly to destroy the host cells or become dormant. The balance between these two phases is now understood due to this new finding. The viruses secrete a molecule which can then be picked up and counted by new generations of the virus. By counting the amount of molecules produced in the previous generations, they can determine which is the best option, to reproduce and kill or turn dormant. By culturing the phages and bacteria they were invading, the receptors were found to bind a particular protein which is a genetic inhibitor for a dormant cycle. That binding sends the virus into dormancy by inactivating the inhibitor.

This remarkable finding about viruses and their ability to communicate throughout generations could help us in the future. Very briefly at the end of the article the researchers discuss, using these molecules to our advantage could be a revolution in the medical world. By determining how the viruses communicate and decide whether to stay dormant or attack could help keep deadly diseases dormant for long periods. I believe the continuation of this study of intercepting these virus messages could be revolutionary for the medical field in allowing humans to live with deadly diseases.

This link is an introduction to what viruses are and how they operate.
Image result for virus infected in a cell

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