HCMV Vaccine Development Targets Immunomodulatory Proteins

Guest Post by Anamaris Colberg-Poley*

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can cause severe disease in immunocompromised individuals and in congenitally infected infants, thus the development of an HCMV vaccine has been a national priority over the last few decades.  Despite attempts similar to those which have proven successful for other herpesviruses, such as varicella zoster virus, attenuated HCMV vaccine strains (such as Towne) have not been analogously successful as effective HCMV vaccines. Continue reading

New and Notable This Week

A selection of recently published papers of note from MDPI journals. Continue reading

Towards Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Peptides: Conferring Cell Selectivity by Introducing Specificity Determinants

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Guest Post by Guangshun Wang*

We are living in an era of antibiotic resistance; fortunately, there is widespread recognition of the consequences of this dilemma. While scientists have long been fascinated by the impressive diversity of antimicrobial peptides (also called host defense peptides) that exist in bacteria, protozoa, fungi, plants, and animals, there is a current urgency to explore novel strategies to make use of these compounds as therapeutic antimicrobials. However, while these peptides can exhibit a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, their potential toxicity in systemic administration has represented a significant challenge for medicinal use.  Continue reading

Non-coding RNAs: Regulatory Guardians of the Genome

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Guest Post by Franck Vazquez*

During the last two decades the Central Dogma of Biology, which states that genetic information flows from DNA into messenger RNAs (mRNAs) via transcription, and from mRNAs into functional proteins via translation, has been shown to be far more complicated than what had long been accepted. Indeed, cells transcribe thousands of RNAs, which neither encode proteins nor have a structural function (like tRNAs or rRNAs), but which nonetheless play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression. These RNAs, which are collectively referred to as non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), vary greatly in their size (twenty to several thousand nucleotides), in their biosynthetic pathway and in their modus operandi. Found in virtually all organisms, ncRNAs, which coordinate the expression, stability and/or inheritance of genes either at the transcriptional or at the posttranscriptional level, continue to be an intense and exciting area of research. Continue reading

Monoclonal Antibody to HCMV Glycoprotein B Blocks Viral Entry and Growth in Trophoblast Progenitor Cells

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Guest Post by Anamaris Colberg-Poley*

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major cause of congenital birth infections in developed countries.  HCMV can cause severe birth defects including microcephaly, mental retardation, sensorineural hearing loss, and intrauterine growth restriction. However, because of the potential for teratogenicity and toxic effects, no therapeutic treatment is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for congenital HCMV infection. The studies by Lenore Pereira and her colleagues (Zydek et al., 2014.  Viruses  Special Issue on Recent CMV Research) have significant implications for developing therapies for treatment of congenital HCMV infections, which are seriously lacking at this time. Continue reading

Controlling Sugar Intake: A Platform to Predict Glycosylation for Therapeutic Antibodies

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Glycoproteins are formed through protein glycosylation, the post-translational addition and processing of covalently bound oligosaccharide chains. Variations in the glycoform of proteins result from multiple factors in this process, such as enzyme and substrate availability, and these differences can influence the stability and biological function of the protein1. Continue reading

Flotillins: Signals from a Raft

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Flotillins are highly homologous proteins (known as flotillin-1 and flotillin-2, or reggie-2 and reggie-1, respectively) that localize to membrane rafts (specific cholesterol-rich microdomains in cellular membranes), and are associated with various signaling pathways, cell adhesion, membrane trafficking and axonal growth. Continue reading