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Sci. Signal., 19 January 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 105, p. ra5
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000510]


Editor's Summary

Tipping the Balance
Strains of rabies virus, which infects neurons, may be virulent, in which case the cells survive long enough for the virus to replicate and spread, or they may be attenuated, in which case the infected cells die by apoptosis. Préhaud et al. compared one attenuated and one virulent viral strain and found that a single amino acid change in a region of a viral envelope protein that binds to host cell proteins was sufficient to account for the death or survival of infected cells. The binding properties of the attenuated virus protein were expanded, thereby affecting the balance in the activities of host kinases and phosphatases sufficiently to trigger cell death. These findings may inform strategies to engineer attenuated viruses, which are often used in live vaccines.

Citation: C. Préhaud, N. Wolff, E. Terrien, M. Lafage, F. Mégret, N. Babault, F. Cordier, G. S. Tan, E. Maitrepierre, P. Ménager, D. Chopy, S. Hoos, P. England, M. Delepierre, M. J. Schnell, H. Buc, M. Lafon, Attenuation of Rabies Virulence: Takeover by the Cytoplasmic Domain of Its Envelope Protein. Sci. Signal. 3, ra5 (2010).

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