Viral Infection May Induce Neurodegeneration Diseases

Nov, 2021 - By SMI

Viral Infection May Induce Neurodegeneration Diseases

A study found that some specific viral molecules may boost accumulation of toxic proteins related to various neurodegenration disorders.

The link of microbial infections and neurodegenerative disorders is a well-known research topic. Another study has added into this growing body of evidences of this link. A new research published in the journal Nature Communication on October 19, 2021 demonstrated how specific molecules on viruses’ surface can induce aggregation of toxic proteins linked to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

There are many researches that focus on the association between viral infection and neurological diseases, the evidences of this association are increasing. However, the mechanisms of viral infection that influences brain disease progression are still theoretical. This new research found a different mechanism that links viruses with brain diseases. The team of scientists studied the effect of molecules on the surface of some viruses that enhances the accumulation and the spread of proteins that could cause neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The study included two viral surface proteins known as viral ligands, a glycoprotein that is responsible for vesicular stomatitis and a spike protein that is found on SARS-CoV-2.  According to the scientists, the viral proteins get incorporated into the cellular membrane as well as into the extracellular vesicles and their presence boosted spreading of aggregated protein between cells.  

The findings of this new study are not the first one to suggest a mechanism of viruses accelerating the spread of toxic protein aggregates. However, the scientists claim that these exciting findings could help researchers find new ways to prevent prognosis of neural diseases. The study also indicates the need of better understanding of which of the extracellular vesicle surface proteins affect cell-to-cell transmission of their pathogenic loads to find new treatments to slow down the progress of these diseases.

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