Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

UC Riverside Researchers Discover Model Organism For Studying Viruses that Affect Humans

August 18, 2005
Simple nematode has similar virus-fighting mechanism as humans and can be used in research

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - www.ucr.edu - Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered that a simple worm, called C. elegans, makes an excellent experimental host for studying some of the most virulent viruses that infect humans.

The researchers published their findings in the Aug. 18 issue of the journal Nature in a paper titled, Animal virus replication and RNAi-mediated antiviral silencing in C. elegans.

UCR Professor of Plant Pathology Shou-Wei Ding co-authored the paper with Morris Maduro, assistant professor of biology; Feng Li, a graduate student in microbiology; Rui Lu and Hongwei Li, postdoctoral researchers in Ding's laboratory; and research specialists Gina Broitman-Maduro and Wan-Xiang Li. Lu and Maduro are co-first authors of this Nature paper. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture supported the research.

The paper reflects a major step forward in the study of how some of the world's most virulent viruses, such as West Nile, SARS, Ebola and Hepatitis C interact with their hosts.

"All these viruses are very dangerous and are traditionally studied in animal models, so large-scale genetic studies of the host-virus interaction is very hard to do," said Ding, who works in the Center for Plant Cell Biology at UCR's Institute for Integrative Genome Biology. "Needless to say, we are all very excited to find that this little worm can be used to understand how hosts genetically control viruses."

For years researchers throughout the world have studied C. elegans because many aspects of its biology, such as genetics, development and the workings of neurons, mirror the biology of humans. However, no viruses were known to infect the millimeter-long roundworm so it was not used as a model for studying viral infections.

The Nature paper now shows that UC Riverside researchers have developed a strain of the worm, C. elegans, in which an animal virus could replicate, allowing them to map the delicate dance of action and reaction between virus and host.

The UCR team has shown that virus replication in the worm triggers an antiviral response known as RNA silencing or RNA interference (RNAi). RNAi specifically breaks down the virus' RNA. Virus RNA creates proteins that allow the virus to function. The virus responds by producing a protein acting as a suppressor of RNAi to shut down the host's antiviral response. Virus infection did not occur when the viral RNAi suppressor was made inactive by genetic mutations in the host system.

C. elegans' RNAi system is considered a "blanket system," meaning that it has parallels in humans, making the worm model discovered by Ding and his colleagues a valuable tool in studying the way viruses interact with hosts. This tool may speed the discovery of treatments for virus-caused diseases that plague humans.

"The RNAi machinery is very similar between humans and C. elegans, and human viruses such as Influenza A virus and HIV are known to produce RNAi suppressors," Ding said. "So now, the question is can we treat human viral diseases using chemical inhibitors of viral RNAi suppressors?"

The methods outlined in the Nature paper are now being used to generate additional C. elegans strains for screening chemical compounds that inactivate RNAi suppressors associated with avian flu, HIV and others.

University of California, Riverside


Related C Elegans Current Events and C Elegans News Articles


Physics meets biology to defeat aging
The scientific team of a new biotech company Gero in collaboration with one of the leading academics in the field of aging Prof. Robert J. Shmookler Reis (current world record holder in life extension for model animals - 10 fold for nematodes) has recently brought new insights into biology of aging and age-related diseases, primarily, around the stability and stress resistance of certain gene regulatory networks.

Simple flip of genetic switch determines aging or longevity in animals
When does aging really begin? Two Northwestern University scientists now have a molecular clue. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that adult cells abruptly begin their downhill slide when an animal reaches reproductive maturity.

Novel treatments emerging for human mitochondrial diseases
Using existing drugs, such as lithium, to restore basic biological processes in human cells and animal models, researchers may have broken a long-standing logjam in devising effective treatments for human mitochondrial diseases.

Researchers discover first sensor of Earth's magnetic field in an animal
A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has identified the first sensor of the Earth's magnetic field in an animal, finding in the brain of a tiny worm a big clue to a long-held mystery about how animals' internal compasses work.

New treatment hope for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
A previously unknown link between the immune system and the death of motor neurons in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, has been discovered by scientists at the CHUM Research Centre and the University of Montreal.

Deciphering the neural code that links food to aging
Diet exerts a major impact on health and ageing. The nervous system plays an important role in this process but, thus far, how food signals are interpreted by the nervous system has been a mystery.

Protein aggregates save cells during aging
Aging is a complex biological process which is accompanied by an increasing number of toxic protein aggregates in the cells. Scientists consider them the cause of various neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease.

Beyond genes: Are centrioles carriers of biological information?
Centrioles are barrel-shaped structures inside cells, made up of multiple proteins.

Restoring cellular energy signals may treat mitochondrial diseases in humans
Rooted in malfunctions in the tiny power plants that energize our cells, mitochondrial disorders are notoriously complex and variable, with few effective treatments. Now, novel findings in microscopic worms may hold great promise for children and adults with mitochondrial disorders.

Researchers track protein 'hitchhiker' in fluorescent worms
Dividing cells--whether they're in an embryo or an adult--rely on the right processes happening at the right time to turn out healthy.
More C Elegans Current Events and C Elegans News Articles

The Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (Cold Spring Harbor Monograph)

The Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (Cold Spring Harbor Monograph)
by William B. Wood (Editor)


In 1965 Sydney Brenner chose the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a promising model system for a concerted genetic, ultrastructural, and behavioral attack on the development and function of a simple nervous system. Since then, with the help of a growing number of investigators, knowledge about the biology of "the worm" has accumulated at a steadily accelerating pace to the extent that C. elegans is now probably the most completely understood metazoan in terms of anatomy, genetics, development, and behavior. The past few years have seen the completion of two major long-term projects that provide new insights into C. elegans development and lay important groundwork for future investigation: completion of the cell lineages of both sexes, from zygote to adult, and description of...

C. Elegans II

C. Elegans II
by Donald Riddle (Author)


Studies of the cells and genes of the nematode C. elegans have become a cornerstone of current biology. A classic 1988 Cold Spring Harbor monograph, The Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, described the basic genetics, anatomy and development of the organism. Now, in that authoritative tradition, comes C. elegans II -- not a second edition but a book that breaks new ground and defines the current status of the field, providing a detailed molecular explanation of how development is regulated and the nervous system specifies varied aspects of behavior. This volume is a must for any investigator doing worm studies but it has been written and rigorously edited to illuminate for a wider community of investigators in cell and molecular biology who should know how new knowledge of C. elegans...

C. elegans: A Practical Approach

C. elegans: A Practical Approach
by Ian A. Hope (Editor)


Caenorhabditis Elegans has been a popular model organism for biological research for over thirty years and has been used to investigate many aspects of animal development, for example apoptosis, the Hox genes, signal transduction pathways, and the development of the nervous system. It has recently taken on new importance with the publication of the entire genome sequence in 1998. The first chapter gives all the basic information on C. elegans required to use it: it's natural history, anatomy, life cycle, development, and evolution. Information on how to obtain, grow, and maintain C. elegans for use as a model system is given in Chapter 4. Chapters 2 and 3 describe the genome project and show how to use genome sequence information by searching the database for homologues using different...

C. elegans: Methods and Applications (Methods in Molecular Biology)

C. elegans: Methods and Applications (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by Kevin Strange (Editor)


Molecular biology has driven a powerful reductionist, or “molecule-c- tric,” approach to biological research in the last half of the 20th century. Red- tionism is the attempt to explain complex phenomena by defining the functional properties of the individual components of the system. Bloom (1) has referred to the post-genome sequencing era as the end of “naïve reductionism. ” Red- tionist methods will continue to be an essential element of all biological research efforts, but “naïve reductionism,” the belief that reductionism alone can lead to a complete understanding of living organisms, is not tenable. Organisms are clearly much more than the sum of their parts, and the behavior of complex physiological processes cannot be understood simply by knowing how the parts work...

C. elegans: Methods and Applications (Methods in Molecular Biology)

C. elegans: Methods and Applications (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by David Biron (Editor), Gal Haspel (Editor)


The aim of this volume is to provide a step-by-step guide for implementing a selection of novel techniques in the lab. Each protocol in this volume is presented as a standalone chapter, specifically geared towards addressing practical needs without presuming prior knowledge of the technique at hand. Written in the highly successful Methods in Molecular Biology series format, chapters include introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, readily reproducible laboratory protocols, and key tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls.Authoritative and practical, C. elegans: Methods and Applications, Second Edition aims to ensure successful results in the further study of this dynamic field.

The Neurobiology of C. elegans, Volume 69 (International Review of Neurobiology)

The Neurobiology of C. elegans, Volume 69 (International Review of Neurobiology)
by Eric James Aamodt (Editor)


The Neurobiology of C. elegans assembles together a series of chapters describing the progress researchers have made toward solving some of the major problems in neurobiology with the use of this powerful model organism. The first chapter is an introduction to the anatomy of the C. elegans nervous system. This chapter provides a useful introduction to this system and will help the reader who is less familiar with this system understand the chapters that follow. The next two chapters on learning, conditioning and memory and neuronal specification and differentiation, summarize the current state of the C. elegans field in these two major areas of neurobiology. The remaining chapters describe studies in C. elegans that have provided particularly exciting insights into neurobiology.

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
by Nick Bostrom (Author)


A New York Times bestseller

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

But we have...

C. elegans Atlas

C. elegans Atlas
by David H. Hall (Author), Zeynep F. Altun (Author)


Derived from the acclaimed online "WormAtlas," C. elegans Atlas is a large-format, full-color atlas of the hermaphroditic form of the model organism C. elegans, known affectionately as "the worm" by workers in the field. Prepared by the editors of the WormAtlas Consortium, David H. Hall and Zeynep F. Altun, this book combines explanatory text with copious, labeled, color illustrations and electron micrographs of the major body systems of C. elegans. Also included are electron microscopy cross sections of the worm. This laboratory reference is essential for the working worm biologist, at the bench and at the microscope, and provides a superb companion to the C. elegans II monograph. It is also a valuable tool for investigators in the fields of developmental biology, neurobiology,...

elegans

elegans


“You’re unusual, Kiri,” said Delamere-Frost, “but you’re not special.” How right the old warhorse was, and how wrong.

From blighted childhood as inmate of the Warhurst Institution for At Risk Girls, through stoplight urchin to Haulpac driver at the Salar de Uyuni, Kiri Warhurst only ever dreamt of one thing. Flying. Wagering every last penny of her hard earned cash on a one-off shot at flight school, she narrowly survives an act of treachery to win with those long-coveted wings.

As a freshly-minted graduate and Flaming New Guy, she is packed off to Pisces FNQ, a makeshift base hacked out of coastal rainforest in Far North Queensland, Australia. There, she quickly settles into the exciting and mildly dangerous life of a trash-hauling Tiltrotor pilot....

Germ Cell Development in C. elegans (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology)

Germ Cell Development in C. elegans (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology)
by Tim Schedl (Editor)


Germ cells in sexually reproducing metazoa, through the germline lineage, are the route by which genetic material and cytoplasmic constituents are passed from one generation to the next in the continuum of life.  Chapters in this book review germ cell development in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, discussing the biology, the genetics and the molecular mechanisms for various processes, as well as drawing comparisons with other organisms.  Processes discussed include specification of germ cell fate, meiosis, gametogenesis, environmental/ physiological controls, epigenetics and translational control, fertilization and the oocyte-to-embryo transition.  This book thus provides a comprehensive picture of the germline lineage and the continuum of life for the worm.

© 2015 BrightSurf.com