Fri, Jul 21, 2017 | updated 12:28 PM IST

How Zika virus replicates unraveled

Updated: Jul 27, 2016 13:25 IST      
How Zika virus replicates unraveled

Washington D.C, Jul 27 (ANI): A team of researchers has cracked open the mystery of Zika virus replication.

According to researchers from Tianjin University and Nankai University, all viruses seem to need a helicase for replication. The Zika virus helicase is a motor enzyme that converts energy from nucleoside triphosphate to unwind and separate double-stranded nucleic acids, so the single-stranded genetic material can then be copied. This is an essential step for viral replication.

Using X-ray crystallography, a method that generates 3-D pictures of proteins at the atomic level, the scientists watched what happens when the Zika virus helicase begins to perform its function and encounters its substrates.

By doing so, they have successfully captured the snapshot of the intermediate state where the viral helicase exactly binds to the nucleoside triphosphate ATP and a metal ion, two essential molecules required for the helicase to do its job.

This is the first structure of any helicase bound to ATP from flaviviruses, a group including other well-known pathogens such as dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses.

Scientists are most curious about what makes Zika virus different from other flaviviruses. So they have solved the structure of the Zika virus helicase bound to a strand of its genomic RNA as well, which identifies a tunnel running through the whole enzyme to hold the viral RNA.

The scientists were most surprised by the fact that the Zika virus helicase undergoes significant conformational change when encountering its genomic RNA. However, this alteration is distinct from the dengue virus helicase, which has demonstrated a very different way to bind its genomic RNA.

The scientists suggest that flavivirus helicases could have evolved a conserved motor to convert chemical energy from nucleoside triphosphate to mechanical energy to unwind their genetic material, but the motors of the flaviviruses move in distinct ways to access their genomic RNA.

Understanding this critical step of Zika virus replication will help researchers develop antiretroviral drugs against this spreading disease afflicting the entire globe.

The study is published in Springer's journal Protein and Cell. (ANI)

Our lifestyle choices turning Earth into 'plastic planet'

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 11:21 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 21 (ANI): The 'Age of Plastic' is coming and if the pollution levels continue to rise, Earth will soon turn into a plastic planet.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 21 (ANI): When it comes to decision-making, you may want to choose the wisdom of an ant over the folly of a grasshopper, according to a recent study.

Full Story >>

When Mars got photobombed by its moon Phobos

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 09:50 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 21 (ANI): NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured Phobos, one of Mars' two moons, during its orbital trek around the Red Planet.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): A team of Indian and French scientists have developed a touch sensitive material that enhances response rate by thousand times from existing materials.

Full Story >>

NASA's HERA XIII crew returns home to slumber

Updated: Jul 20, 2017 13:32 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 20 (ANI): After 45 days in NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA), the four-man crew can hardly hold their eyes open.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 20 (ANI): Until recently, invisibility cloaks and the like were firmly in the realms of science fiction, but now, you may soon be able to live out your wildest Harry Potter dreams.

Full Story >>

A secret to Elastigirl's powers: Magnets

Updated: Jul 20, 2017 10:39 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 20 (ANI): If Plastic Man, Elastigirl and Mr Fantastic were to take up arms against Magneto, they'd be at a serious disadvantage, according to the latest research from Christian Binek.

Full Story >>

This is your brain on meditation

Updated: Jul 14, 2017 19:19 IST     

Oslo [Norway], Jul 14 (ANI): A team of researchers has shed some light on how meditation actually affects your brain.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 14 (ANI): Climate change is one of the biggest crises facing humanity

Full Story >>

Trouble reading smaller font? Turn to visual illusion

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 10:28 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A recent study has found that exposure to a common visual illusion may enhance your ability to read fine print.

Full Story >>

Soon, watch 3-D movies at home sans glasses

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 10:27 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A team of researchers is trying to bring glasses-free 3-D technology to your living room.

Full Story >>

A 'larger-than-Earth' sunspot is turning toward us

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 09:52 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has detected a massive sunspot, called Active Region 2665, that's bigger than Earth.

Full Story >>

When NASA's Juno stared right into Jupiter's angry red eye

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 09:26 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): The first ever close-up images of Jupiter's gargantuan hurricane, the Great Red Spot, have been revealed from NASA's Juno spacecraft after it completed its historic fly-by a few days ago.

Full Story >>

Antarctica just lost a 'Delaware-sized' iceberg!

Updated: Jul 13, 2017 07:49 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 13 (ANI): A massive iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12.

Full Story >>

London [UK], July 10 (ANI): Google Doodle, today, celebrates Swedish scientist Eva Ekeblad 293rd birthday.

Full Story >>

A urine test can predict recurrence of cancer

Updated: Jul 09, 2017 14:55 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], July 9 (ANI): A team of researchers have developed a simple urine test to more accurately predict the recurrence of bladder cancer.

Full Story >>

A 'concrete' solution for air pollution?

Updated: Jul 09, 2017 05:48 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 9 (ANI): Air pollution is the world's single biggest environmental health risk and now, a recent study could be a roadmap to tackle the problem.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], July 8 (ANI): Researchers have developed a new method that modifies the surface of nanorods, making them more efficient in transporting cancer-killing genes into cells.

Full Story >>

NASA's Hubble spots 'Hidden Galaxy'

Updated: Jul 08, 2017 04:43 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 8 (ANI): NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a hidden galaxy IC 342, which is a challenging cosmic target.

Full Story >>

60 new 'hot Jupiter' candidates spotted

Updated: Jul 07, 2017 05:59 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Jul 7 (ANI): A team of researchers has identified a cosmic barbecue, where 60 potential new "hot Jupiters" are glowing like coals on a grill while orbiting only 1% of Sun-like stars.

Full Story >>