Predicting the next eye pathogen; analysis of a novel adenovirus

The ongoing dance between a virus and its host distinctly shapes how the virus evolves. While human adenoviruses typically cause mild infections, recent reports have described newly characterized adenoviruses that can cause severe, sometime fatal, human infections.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School, Provincial Laboratory for Public Health, School of , George Mason University, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center report a systems biology approach to show how evolution has affected the disease potential of a recently identified novel human adenovirus. Their approach is based on the belief that understanding viral evolution and pathogenicity is essential to our capacity to foretell the potential impact on human disease for new and emerging viruses. Their study is now published in mBio.

Since the first adenovirus was characterized in 1953, 69 human adenoviruses (HAdVs) have been recognized as unique types. Analysis of whole- for existing and new HAdVs confirmed a critical role for homologous recombination in adenovirus evolution, leading to new and sometime serious . The emergence of new HAdV types, with several associated with severe eye infection, promoted the investigators to apply a systems biology approach to try to predict the ocular tropism of a previously uncharacterized and highly novel HAdV, isolated by nasopharyngeal swab from a 4-month-old boy with several bronchiolitis.

A combined genomic, bioinformatics and biological analysis identified a unique deletion in a key protein of the viral capsid and further suggested the potential of the virus to cause severe ocular infection. The results point toward a possible approach for predicting pathogenicity for newly identified and recently emergent .

Related Stories

Scientists isolate portion of virus that causes pink eye

date Apr 15, 2010

Viral keratoconjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common, uncomfortable and highly contagious condition. There is no known effective treatment for this adenovirus infection that can force some individuals into isolation ...

Scavenger cells accomplices to viruses

date Jul 21, 2011

Mucosal epithelia do not have any receptors on the outer membrane for the absorption of viruses like hepatitis C, herpes, the adenovirus or polio, and are thus well-protected against pathogenic germs. However, certain viruses, ...

Researchers find smallpox drug may also target adenovirus

date May 19, 2008

Scientists at Saint Louis University have made two key discoveries that could lead to the first-ever human testing of a drug to target the adenovirus, which causes a number of severe upper-respiratory infections and is one ...

Recommended for you

The struggle between humans and parasites

date 2 hours ago

The battle between humanity and parasites is a constant struggle. As parasites grow stronger by developing immunities, new treatments must be created in response. On the frontlines of this struggle are parasitologists, scientists ...

Chikungunya kills 25 in Colombia

date 5 hours ago

The virus chikungunya has killed 25 people in Colombia in less than a year, the National Health Institute said Monday.

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

date 16 hours ago

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem ...

An explanation of wild birds' role in avian flu outbreak

date 18 hours ago

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States. The H5N2 virus has cost Midwestern turkey and chicken producers almost 13 million birds since early March, including ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.