Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects most humans and is a major cause of Cancer and Autoimmune disease. A Genomic analysis reveals novel mechanisms behind long EBV Silencing the Enemy within

An effective vaccine to prevent Epstein-Barr Virus infection is really 
needed, one that we can develop with existing technologies."
Alan Herbert

In a paper published on line today, scientists at InsideOutBio and the Higher School of Economics and Computer Science examine mechanisms underlying chronic persistence of Epstein-Barr Virus(EBV) in humans, sometimes referred to as long EBV. EBV infects most humans and is a major cause of cancer and autoimmune disease.

The paper is entitled “Mono a Mano: ZBP1’s Love–Hate Relationship with the Kissing Virus”.By examining the genomes of different types of Herpesviruses, Dr. Herbert and Poptsova and Mr. Fedorov noticed that genetic elements called flipons were under-represented in the EBV DNA compared to other herpesviruses. Flipons adopt the non-classical Z-DNA structure that has a left-handed helix rather than the right-handed twist found in the well-known B-DNA conformer. The author’s findings are consistent with a long period of coadaptation between virus and host. A trade-off allows the virus to persist while minimizing the risk of disease outcomes such as death, autoimmunity and cancer.

The access to the enormous databases created by collaborative international efforts has helped the InsideOutBio scientists make fundamental discoveries such as those reported by Dr. Herbert, Mr. Fed0rov and Dr. Poptsova in the paper. Previously Dr. Herbert discovered a family of proteins that bind the left-handed Z-DNA conformation and performed pioneering human genetic studies in the Framingham Heart Study. InsideOutBio is privately held.

Aleksandr Fedorov and Maria Poptsova are supported by the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, for which Dr. Herbert is an International Supervisor. This research received no external funding.

Alan Herbert
InsideOutBio, Inc
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