Researchers at Uppsala University discovered a host protein that many viruses use as their transport gene when infecting their host and growing throughout the body. Viruses first infect the person, and use the host's own body cells to and mechanisms to jumpstart their takeover of the body's systems. A human gene called ZC3H11A has been known for almost 20 years yet the functional importance of the gene remained unknown. Because of this curiosity of this gene, the researchers decided to use gene-editing to turn off the gene in the human cells, since the gene was considered to be unknown in terms of purpose. The result of this inactivation displayed that the gene played no major role in the growth of human cells in the body, which was slightly disappointing to still not find its purpose. With this knowledge in mind, the researchers then decided to conduct an experiment to infect the human cells lacking ZC3H11A with a virus infection and the results were astounding.
For more information on this article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180402160754.htm
To read the study done by the Uppsala University on the ZC3H11A gene and what it could mean for viruses: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/30/1722333115