High-Speed AFM Reveals Molecular Dynamics of Human Influenza A Hemagglutinin and Its Interaction with Exosomes

Journal: Nano Letters

Published: 2020-08-06

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c01755

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 11

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Research Highlight

Shape-changing protein could be the key to flu infection



By analysing how the structure of an important protein found on the surface of influenza viruses changes with acidity, researchers have gained important clues into how the flu virus enters cells.

Flu is a major global health burden with about a billion cases per year. Hemagglutinin (HA) is a protein on the surface of the influenza virus and it acts as key, enabling the virus to gain entry to host cells. It is thus an attractive target for anti-flu drugs.

Now, a team of researchers, all at Kanazawa University in Japan, has used high-speed atomic force microscopy to observe how the protein changes its shape when it goes from a neutral environment to an acidic one. They found that it went from an oval shape to a Y-shaped one. This shape change could help the virus can entry into a cell.

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  1. Nano Letters 20 6320–6328 (2020). doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c01755
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Kanazawa University (KU), Japan 1