Adenovirus is a common virus that causes infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, eyes and gastrointestinal tract in humans and animals. Researchers at Umeå University study molecular mechanisms of infection in order to understand how adenovirus causes disease.
The researchers in Umeå, together with research groups from Germany, the UK and Hungary, have now discovered a new type of mechanism used by a rare adenovirus type to attack cells.
Human Adenovirus type 52 (HAdV-52) is one of the few adenoviruses that has two different types of fiber proteins on its surface, which are ‘used’ by the virus for the attachment to target cells. In collaboration with researchers in the Glycosciences Laboratory at Imperial College in London, who are world leading in the research field of glycobiology, the scientists have shown that the shorter fiber binds to an unusual type of carbohydrate-based receptor, polysialic acid (a long chain of repeated sialic acids). Annasara Lenman working with Niklas Arnberg has subsequently corroborated that HAdV-52 binds to polysialic acid on target cells, and that this leads to infection. In collaboration with experts in structural biology at the University of Tübingen, the interaction between the short fiber and polysialic acid has been mapped
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