Protein Structures Provide Evidence for Mechanism of Myxoma Virus Infection
The work shows how this viral protein mimics the structure of a host cell protein to defeat the defense mechanisms of the organism being infected by the virus. A research team led by Dr. Michael Kennedy of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with colleagues there and at the University of Toronto and the National Institutes of Health, has determined the structure of a myxoma virus protein involved in modulating immune response to the virus. Myxoma virus causes a lethal infection in European rabbits and knowledge of its mode of infection could help in understanding the action of a range of related viruses. The researchers used several of the high performance nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometers in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a national scientific user facility located at PNNL. The structure is featured on the cover of a recent issue of the Journal of Molecular Biology, the most prominent journal in the field. The major instrumentation capabilities of the EMSL are made available to investigators from universities, national laboratories, and other institutions on a competitive proposal basis.