Zika Grabs Neural Stem Cell Protein to Cause Damage
June 5, 2017
(The Scientist) – When the Zika virus enters neural stem cells, a protein called Musashi-1 (MSI1) latches on to the virus’s RNA genome, somehow promoting viral replication. Blocking the cells’ ability to produce MSI1 significantly inhibits Zika’s ability to reproduce, according to an in vitro study published today in Science. The interaction between the virus and the human protein appears to make the neural stem cells more vulnerable to cell death. Moreover, by binding to the Zika genome, MSI1 was less likely to bind its natural targets within the neural stem cells to properly direct brain development, as evidenced by differences in the cells’ gene expression.