After 40 years, the first complete picture of a key flu virus machine is revealed

24-11-2014

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) has produced the first complete picture of a key flu virus machine using data gathered at the European Synchrotron, the ESRF. The results, published in two papers in Nature (19 November 2014) could prove instrumental in designing new drugs to treat serious flu infections and combat flu pandemics.

  • Share

A team led by the head of EMBL Grenoble used the macromolecular crystallography ID23-1 beamline at the ESRF to conclude the structure of the influenza virus known as polymerase. The results mean that it is finally possible to understand how the virus works as a whole.

Lead author Stephen Cusack said:

“The high-intensity X-ray beamlines at the ESRF, equipped with state-of-the-art Dectris detectors, were crucial for getting high quality crystallographic data from the weakly diffracting and radiation sensitive crystals of the large polymerase complex. We couldn’t have got the data at such a good resolution without them”.

Cusack_for Sonia.jpg

 

 

The complete structure allows researchers to understand how the polymerase uses host cell RNA (red) to kick-start the production of viral messenger RNA. Credit: EMBL/P.Riedinger

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, see the EMBL press release.

More details about the ID23-1 beamline can be found here.

Top image: The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) has produced the first complete picture of a key flu virus machine