Researchers Discover Innate Virus-killing Power in Mammals
Findings by UC Riverside’s Shou-Wei Ding could help create vaccines against deadly infections, including SARS, West Nile, dengue, Hepatitis C and influenza.
… Researchers led by Shou-Wei Ding, who heads a lab in UC Riverside’s Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, have discovered that, like plants and invertebrate animals, mammals use the RNA interference (RNAi) process to destroy viruses within their own cells.
Their findings will be published in the Oct. 11 issue of the journal Science.
Until now, scientists were unable to prove that mammals use RNAi for killing viruses, but ironically, it was Ding’s earlier research into plants, nematodes and fruit flies that helped him find the key: viruses have been outwitting that innate protection in our cells by using proteins to suppress our virus-killing mechanism.
Remove the suppressor protein from the virus, Ding’s research discovered, and the subject’s body will quickly eliminate the virus using the RNAi process, which sends out small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to kill the disease.