Biotech Updates

Scientists Discover New Flu Gene That Affects Infection

July 6, 2012

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and colleagues discovered a new flu gene that affects how the influenza virus' host responds to the virus. The new gene labeled as PA-X, also paved the way towards further understanding of the influenza genome.

Cambridge scientist Bret Jagger and team found the gene in the virus' third RNA strand, which has been known to contain only the PA gene, that helps the virus to copy its genome. The researchers said that without the PA-X gene, the infected cells activate immune gene more intensely and much earlier in the course of action. This occurrence generates another reaction from nearby uninfected cells, leading to an extreme counter attack and more severe illness. Thus, PA-X acts like a viral ambassador by manipulating the host's genes to control its reaction to the virus.

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