Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cool Gene

Protection from Ebola hemorrhagic fever and anthrax may depend on levels of a certain gene called CD45. When levels of CD45 are reduced in mice, an overall survival rate of 90-100% is achieved in addition to a diminished viral load in the major organs. Scientists at USAMRIID found that mice that expressed reduced levels of CD45 (11-77%) were protected against the Ebola virus. Mice with normal CD45 levels exhibited very limited or zero resistance, and succumbed to infection within eight days. Meanwhile, low-CD45 mice completely cleared the infection within ten days.

Authors of the study concluded that “host susceptibility to Ebola virus is dependent of the delicate balance of the body’s natural immune system, which can be determined by a single regulator gene.” (MedIndia) CD45 was previously shown to play a role in protection from anthrax (caused by Bacillus anthracis) in a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Understanding the biological mechanisms that affect pathogenesis may lead to the improvement of pharmaceutical therapies for bacterial and viral infection.

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