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Current Affairs

Immunoprotein impairs coronavirus-cell interaction

Date: 31 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new study has found that an endogenous protein called LY6e prevents coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, from fusing with host cells. 

 

Background

The protein is produced by the human immune system. Researchers from Germany, Switzerland have published their findings in the journal Nature Microbiology.

 

Details

  • LY6e was discovered in 2017, during research, in order to identify genes that prevent coronavirus infections.

  • Since then, further investigations have shown that the protein exerted this inhibitory effect on all analyzed coronaviruses.

  • This was validated in an animal model. Mice lacking Ly6e in immune cells were found highly susceptible to a normally non-lethal mouse coronavirus and succumb to infection.

  • The experiments conducted there led to the discovery that the mouse variant of the protein called Ly6e is crucial for the protection of immune cells against infections.

  • In the absence of Ly6e, immune cells such as dendritic cells and B-cells become more susceptible to infection and their numbers decrease dramatically.

  • The researchers point out that the mouse coronavirus used in the experiment differs significantly from the pathogen causing the current Covid-19 outbreak - for example, it causes hepatitis rather than respiratory disease.