PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

SARS-CoV-2: Achilles' heel of viral RNA

Researchers at Goethe University find small molecules as binding partners for genomic RNA of the coronavirus

2021-07-20
(Press-News.org) FRANKFURT, GERMANY. When SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell, it introduces its RNA into it and re-programmes it in such a way that the cell first produces viral proteins and then whole viral particles. In the search for active substances against SARS-CoV-2, researchers have so far mostly concentrated on the viral proteins and on blocking them, since this promises to prevent, or at least slow down, replication. But attacking the viral genome, a long RNA molecule, might also stop or slow down viral replication.

The scientists in the COVID-19-NMR consortium, which is coordinated by Professor Harald Schwalbe from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Goethe University, have now completed an important first step in the development of such a new class of SARS-CoV-2 drugs. They have identified 15 short segments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that are very similar in various coronaviruses and are known to perform essential regulatory functions. In the course of 2020 too, these segments were very rarely affected by mutations.

The researchers let a substance library of 768 small, chemically simple molecules interact with the 15 RNA segments and analysed the result by means of NMR spectroscopy. In NMR spectroscopy, molecules are first labelled with special types of atoms (stable isotopes) and then exposed to a strong magnetic field. The atomic nuclei are excited by means of a short radio frequency pulse and emit a frequency spectrum, with the help of which it is possible to determine the RNA and protein structure and how and where small molecules bind.

This enabled the research team led by Professor Schwalbe to identify 69 small molecules that bound to 13 of the 15 RNA segments. Professor Harald Schwalbe: "Three of the molecules even bind specifically to just one RNA segment. Through this, we were able to show that the SARS-CoV-2 RNA is highly suitable as a potential target structure for drugs. In view of the large number of SARS-CoV-2 mutations, such conservative RNA segments, like the ones we've identified, are particularly interesting for developing potential inhibitors. And since the viral RNA accounts for up to two thirds of all RNA in an infected cell, we should be able to disrupt viral replication on a considerable scale by using suitable molecules." Against this background, Schwalbe continues, the researchers have now already started follow-up trials with readily available substances that are chemically similar to the binding partners from the substance library.

INFORMATION:



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

The environmental toll of disposable masks

2021-07-20
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, face masks and other personal protective equipment have become essential for health care workers. Disposable N95 masks have been in especially high demand to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. All of those masks carry both financial and environmental costs. The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to generate up to 7,200 tons of medical waste every day, much of which is disposable masks. And even as the pandemic slows down in some parts of the world, health care workers are expected to continue wearing masks most of the time. That toll could be dramatically cut by adopting reusable masks, according to a new study from MIT that has calculated the financial ...

Machine learning models to help photovoltaic systems find their place in the sun

Machine learning models to help photovoltaic systems find their place in the sun
2021-07-20
With the looming threat of climate change, it is high time we embrace renewable energy sources on a larger scale. Photovoltaic systems, which generate electricity from the nearly limitless supply of sunlight energy, are one of the most promising ways of generating clean energy. However, integrating photovoltaic systems into existing power grids is not a straightforward process. Because the power output of photovoltaic systems depends heavily on environmental conditions, power plant and grid managers need estimations of how much power will be injected by photovoltaic systems so as to plan optimal generation and maintenance schedules, among other important operational aspects. In line with modern trends, if something needs predicting, you can safely ...

Enzyme-based plastics recycling is more energy efficient, better for environment

2021-07-20
Researchers in the BOTTLE Consortium, including from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Portsmouth, have identified using enzymes as a more sustainable approach for recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a common plastic in single-use beverage bottles, clothing, and food packaging that are becoming increasingly relevant in addressing the environmental challenge of plastic pollution. An analysis shows enzyme-recycled PET has potential improvement over conventional, fossil-based methods of PET production across a broad spectrum of energy, carbon, and socioeconomic impacts. The concept, if further developed and implemented at scale, could lead to ...

Brain 'noise' keeps nerve connections young

Brain noise keeps nerve connections young
2021-07-20
Neurons communicate through rapid electrical signals that regulate the release of neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers. Once transmitted across a neuron, electrical signals cause the juncture with another neuron, known as a synapse, to release droplets filled with neurotransmitters that pass the information on to the next neuron. This type of neuron-to-neuron communication is known as evoked neurotransmission. However, some neurotransmitter-packed droplets are released at the synapse even in the absence of electrical impulses. These miniature release events -- or ...

"Springing forward" affects early birds less than night owls, study finds

2021-07-20
Every spring, the Daylight Saving Time shift robs people of an hour of sleep - and a new study shows that DNA plays a role in how much the "spring forward" time change affects individuals. People whose genetic profile makes them more likely to be "early birds" the rest of the year can adjust to the time change in a few days, the study shows. But those who tend to be "night owls" could take more than a week to get back on track with sleep schedule, according to new data published in Scientific Reports by a team from the University of Michigan. The study uses data from continuous sleep tracking ...

DNA assay aids in identifying and protecting North American wolves, coyotes

2021-07-20
Forensics specialists can use a commercial assay targeting mitochondrial DNA to accurately discriminate between wolf, coyote and dog species, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. The genetic information can be obtained from smaller or more degraded samples, and could aid authorities in prosecuting hunting jurisdiction violations and preserving protected species. In the U.S., certain wolf subspecies or species are endangered and restricted in terms of hunting status. It is also illegal to deliberately breed wolves or coyotes with domesticated dogs. "If ...

Child with rare genetic syndrome successfully treated in less than two years

2021-07-20
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Diagnosing a rare medical condition is difficult. Identifying a treatment for it can take years of trial and error. In a serendipitous intersection of research expertise, an ill patient in this case a child and innovative technology, Bachmann-Bupp Syndrome has gone from a list of symptoms to a successful treatment in just 16 months. The paper chronicling this lightning-fast scientific response to the Bachmann-Bupp Syndrome was published in the open-access journal, eLife. For more than 25 years, André Bachmann, professor of pediatrics in Michigan State University College ...

Study: Long-term prognosis for some patients with severe brain injury better than expected

2021-07-20
New research adds to a body of evidence indicating decisions about withdrawing life-sustaining treatment for patients with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) should not be made in the early days following injury. In a July 6, 2021, study published in JAMA Neurology, researchers led by UC San Francisco, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital followed 484 patients with moderate-to-severe TBI. They found that among the patients in a vegetative state, 1 in 4 "regained orientation" - meaning they knew who they were, their ...

Study refutes suspicion that dengue increases risk of microcephaly associated with zika

2021-07-20
By Luciana Constantino | Agência FAPESP – A pregnant woman infected by zika virus does not face a greater risk of giving birth to a baby with microcephaly if she has previously been exposed to dengue virus, according to a Brazilian study that compared data for pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro and Manaus. A zika epidemic broke out in Brazil in 2015-16 in areas where dengue is endemic. Both viruses are transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Some of the states affected by the zika epidemic reported a rise in cases of microcephaly, a rare neurological disorder in which the baby’s brain fails to develop completely. Others saw no such rise. According to this new study by Brazilian researchers, two factors explain the rise in microcephaly in only some areas: the ...

Improving access to mental health services in low-income communities

Improving access to mental health services in low-income communities
2021-07-20
When it comes to improving access to mental health services for children and families in low-income communities, a University of Houston researcher found having a warm handoff, which is a transfer of care between a primary care physician and mental health provider, will help build trust with the patient and lead to successful outcomes. "Underserved populations face certain obstacles such as shortage of providers, family beliefs that cause stigma around mental health care, language barriers, lack of transportation and lack of insurance. A warm handoff, someone who serves as a go-between for experts and patients, can ensure connections are made," said Quenette L. Walton, assistant professor at the ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] SARS-CoV-2: Achilles' heel of viral RNA
Researchers at Goethe University find small molecules as binding partners for genomic RNA of the coronavirus