Science

Researchers identify some immune responses that help Covid-19 to infect more cells

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 26, 2020 Published on October 26, 2020

In the study, scientists intended to identify a new variant or isoform of ACE2 called MIRb-ACE2 that the SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot bind to   -  K_V_S_GIRI

Interferon-based treatments for the novel virus could inadvertently help the virus by causing an increase in coronavirus cell receptors in the body, believe researchers

According to a study, some immune responses prompt a non-functional variant of the human protein while fighting the novel coronavirus. This, in turn, is used by the virus to easily penetrate host cells and infect. The study was carried out to find the body’s natural defenses against Covid-19.

The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics. It analysed the genetic information of the ACE2 receptor, to which the SARS-CoV-2 virus must bind in order to enter and infect human cells.

In the study, scientists intended to identify a new variant or isoform of ACE2 called MIRb-ACE2 that the SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot bind to.

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Kevin Ng, co-author of the study at the Francis Crick Institute, said in a statement: “This variant of genetic information is the result of retroelements in our DNA that can jump around the genome and affect gene expression.”

“If you look at what other species have this variant, it seems to be widespread in mammals, so it must have entered the human genome a long time ago,” he added.

The researchers tested the effects of the exposure of cells to interferons, proteins released by virus infected cells that signal immune system.

They found that interferons specifically increase the response and production of MIRb-ACE2, while ACE2 is not affected.

The researchers believe that interferon-based treatments for the novel virus could inadvertently help the virus by causing an increase in coronavirus cell receptors in the body.

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They said that the coronavirus cannot bind to MIRb-ACE2, which is also very unstable.

Another co-author George Kassiotis, wrote in the study: “The non-functional MIRb-ACE2 isoform was likely responsible for results from previous studies that indicated that interferons could upregulate ACE2 because there was no difference between these two isoforms.”

“This shows how scientific knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 is constantly being revised and updated as new research is carried out. We still have a lot to learn, but we’re making rapid progress, ”said Kassiotis.

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Published on October 26, 2020
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