Sun, Feb 26, 2017 | updated 10:15 PM IST

How Zika virus replicates unraveled

Updated: Jul 27, 2016 13:25 IST

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)

New clues found for nuclear waste cleanup

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 24 (ANI): According to a study, the research being done on the chemistry of technetium-99 has boosted the understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and can lead to better cleanup methods.

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Washington D.C. [US], Feb. 24 (ANI): US researchers have suggested that specially trained dogs can be used to find wide-ranging species that are often threatened, sepecially cheetah in a region of Western Zambia.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23(ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

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Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb 21 (ANI): The world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier has been been developed by scientists.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 21 (ANI): According to a new study, Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

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Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): In a major development, a team of scientists have officially named a minor planet as 'Bernardbowen' that sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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New York [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered prehistoric wolf-sized otter fossils with a large head and a powerful jaw, weighing around 100 pounds, in China's Yunnan province.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

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Chennai [India], Jan.14 (ANI-Businesswire India): While "Jallikattu" seems to be the trending topic of discussion in Tamil Nadu at the moment, a silent revolution envisioned by youth icon and late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has quietly gained momentum. Ignite-India is a nation-wide innovation platform for student innovators and young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Founded by International swimmer Agnishwar Jayaprakash in 2014, the organization has designed & hosted 96 Regional Innovation Conferences and 3 National Innovation Conferences across 36 cities in India where students competed to showcased their innovative creations. These innovations were judged based on the practicality, creativity & sustainability by technical experts from diverse fields.

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New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

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New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): Scientists have discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

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Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

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How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

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