A research team at Academica Sinica has identified a new anti--influenza drug target, the country’s top research institute announced yesterday.
Led by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) and Institute of Biological Chemistry Director Tsai Ming-daw (蔡明道), the team identified a protein bonding structure, known as the “E339...R416” salt bridge, as the critical influenza virus protein structure fold formation, and found that when the protein is disrupted, it inhibits the virus’ ability to replicate.
The salt bridge is found in many different strains of influenza virus. The research team expects a drug targeted at the specific structure to be broadly effective and render the virus less likely to become drug resistant.
The salt bridge found on a particular protein fold, known as the nucleoprotein trimer, plays an important role in virus replication mechanisms.
Through two common drug discovery screening techniques, four molecule compounds were isolated out of 1.7 million compounds, it said, adding that the selected compounds were 90 percent effective in inhibiting viral replication of the common H1N1 influenza strain.
Influenza virus are particularly difficult to cure because the virus continues to develop into new and drug resistant strains.