Counter defense strategy of virus

November 30, 2006

RNA silencing evolved as a means of defense against viral pathogens. In turn, viruses have evolved a counter-defense mechanism to inhibit RNA silencing. In the December 1st issue of G&D, a team of NYC scientists, led by Dr. Nam-Hai Chua at the Rockefeller University, lend new insight into how the Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) executes its counter-defense. The researchers found that CMV synthesizes a protein, called 2b, that binds to AGO1 (a core component of the RNA silencing pathway) to inhibit its cleavage activity, and thereby attenuate RNA silencing. Dr. Chua "expects that other viruses may use similar mechanisms. Therefore, understanding how the 2b suppressor protein functions will allow us to design novel strategies that enable crop plants to survive a variety of threatening viruses."
-end-


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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